GlobalFoundries Dresden: Interview with Dr. Manfred Horstmann, Sr. Vice President & General Manager

How does GlobalFoundries Dresden view the location? What role does the Saxon microelectronics network play for the company? Where does joint location work end and competition begin? What conditions are absolutely necessary for future growth? Find out all this and much more in the interview with Dr. Manfred Horstmann.

But before that, let's take a quick look at GlobalFoundries Fab 1 in Dresden.

  • Date of opening: 20.10.1999 (Grand Opening)
  • Number of production sites worldwide: 5
  • Initial investment cost: 1.9 billion USD
  • Size of the plant (area): 35 hectares
  • Size of clean room(s): 52,000 sqm
  • Produced structure size: 22-55 nm
  • Number of wafers produced per year: max. capacity 850,000
  • Size of wafers: 300 nm
  • User industries (top 3): Mobile Communication, Automotive, IoT
  • Number of employees: 3,400
  • Number of nationalities: approx. 50
  • Share of women: 16 %
  • Sought-after specialists (top 5): Maintenance Engineer, Maintenance Engineer, Process Engineer, Manufacturing Engineer, Equipment Engineer
  • Skills sought (top 5): Ability to work in a team, willingness to learn, enjoyment of technical challenges, openness to a diverse work environment (global mindset), basic knowledge of English

 © GlobalFoundries Dresden

Dr. Horstmann, what is the importance of the Dresden site for the Group?

GF's Dresden site is the growth engine for our Corporation and at the same time the lead site for the power-saving 22FDX technology. In addition to volume production, our focus is on production-related technology development (TD). Fab 1 has extensive cooperation with universities and research institutions and has its own state-of-the-art mask house (JV).

In which specific areas have investments been made since the opening and what was the total amount of these investments?

Since 1996, we have invested a low double-digit billion euro amount in technology development and production.

For which applications does the site produce? What exactly can the chips produced do and in which sectors/industries are they used?

Our special focus is on differentiated solutions for data-centric, connected, intelligent and secure applications. These include smart mobile devices, automotive, communications infrastructure and data center, home & industrial IoT. These customer products can be found in all areas of our everyday life, from smartphones to cars to bank cards.

There are now five fabs, numerous supplier companies and research institutes as well as microelectronics-related software companies in Saxony. In which areas is the network particularly important for your company?

Networks are of enormous importance in the semiconductor industry. This includes (research) cooperations, such as we have with various players in Silicon Saxony, the close exchange with universities and research institutions, through which we also recruit our young talent, as well as the joint representation of semiconductor interests in Berlin & Brussels. And last but not least, microelectronics clusters with the "critical mass" like Silicon Saxony are attractive for equipment suppliers and vendors - a win-win situation for all involved.

Are there any concrete cooperation projects with other players at the site, and if so, which ones?

In addition to our long-standing and successful partnership with Fraunhofer CNT, I can mention another current cooperation - the ARAMID project, in which we are developing a test chip for innovative radar solutions based on our 22FDX technology together with Bosch Sensortech Dresden and other local partners (Semitec, Fraunhofer IKTS, and Fraunhofer IIS/EAS).

We are not the only ones concerned about the issue of skilled workers. The ICT sector in Saxony is currently growing by around 5,000 skilled workers per year, which, if growth remains constant, will be equivalent to more than 100,000 skilled workers in 2030. What role does direct proximity to other fabs play in the context of your skilled workers strategy? Does it make the location more attractive or the competition greater?

A strong cluster definitely makes the location more attractive for skilled workers. Attractive employers can draw skilled workers to Saxony from all over the world. However, this requires greater internationalization of the location and a convincing welcoming culture - our competitors for the brightest minds are in Asia and the USA.

Intel is planning a so-called mega-fab in Magdeburg. What impact will this have on you in terms of supply chains, service providers, raw materials and also skilled workers?  

Time will tell!

What is your vision for the location? How would you like to develop it further?

We will continue and expand our current strategy of strong platforms with many differentiated solutions for demanding European markets and customers. Against the background of supply chain security, this is our great strength and offers our customers security of supply.

What are concrete support measures that are necessary on the way to this vision?

In Germany and Europe, we need greater ambition, higher budgets, a much faster pace and, above all, a focus on implementation. Only if these four aspects are addressed with equal speed and sustainability can we remain successful here.

Thank you very much for the interview, Dr. Horstmann.


This interview was first published as part of our NEXT magazine "In the spotlight: Microelectronics".

To the complete edition of the magazine


More interviews in this series:

Infineon Dresden: Interview with Raik Brettschneider, Vice President & Managing Director

SAW COMPONENTS: Interview with Frieder Birkholz, Authorized Signatory

X-FAB: Interview with Rico Tillner, Managing Director

Robert Bosch Semiconductor Manufacturing: Interview with Dr. Christian Koitzsch, Plant Manager


Related links:

Saxony‘s chip industry strengthens its supply chains

Germany‘s microelectronics landscape - Europe‘s semiconductor heart beats here

European Chips Act: Good, but good enough?