Nexperia to invest $200 million in Hamburg

Nexperia wafer

Semiconductor manufacturer Nexperia announced plans to invest $200 million (approximately €184 million) to develop the next generation of wide bandgap semiconductors (WBG), such as silicon carbide (SiC) and gallium nitride (GaN), and to establish production infrastructure at its Hamburg site.

Wafer fab capacity for silicon (Si) diodes and transistors will also be increased. The investments were announced jointly with Hamburg’s Minister for Economic Affairs, Dr. Melanie Leonhard, on the occasion of the 100-year anniversary of the production site.

To meet the growing long-term demand for efficient power semiconductors, all three technologies (SiC, GaN, and Si) will be developed and produced in Germany starting in June 2024. Nexperia is supporting key technologies in electrification and digitalisation. SiC and GaN semiconductors enable power-hungry applications, such as data centres, to operate with exceptional efficiency and are core building blocks for renewable energy applications and electromobility. These WBG technologies are increasingly important for achieving decarbonisation goals.

“This investment strengthens our position as a leading supplier of energy-efficient semiconductors and enables us to utilise available electrical energy more responsibly,” comments Achim Kempe, COO and Managing Director at Nexperia Germany. “In the future, our Hamburg fab will cover the complete range of WBG semiconductors while still being the largest factory for small signal diodes and transistors. We remain committed to our strategy of producing high-quality, cost-efficient semiconductors for standard applications and power-intensive applications, while addressing one of the greatest challenges of our generation: meeting the growing demand for energy and while reducing the environmental footprint.”

First production lines for high-voltage GaN D-Mode transistors and SiC diodes started in June 2024. The next milestone will be modern and cost-efficient 200 mm production lines for SiC MOSFETs and low-voltage GaN HEMTs, to be established at the Hamburg factory over the next two years. This investment will further automate the existing infrastructure at the Hamburg site and expand silicon production capacity by converting to 200 mm wafers. Following the expansion of clean room areas, new R&D laboratories are being built to ensure a seamless transition from research to production.

In addition to advancing technology, Nexperia expects the initiative to stimulate local economic development. The investments will secure and create jobs and enhance the European Union’s semiconductor self-sufficiency. Nexperia collaborates with universities and research institutes to promote highly qualified employee training. Development partnerships, such as the Industrial Affiliation Program (IIAP) of the nanoelectronics research centre imec, play a crucial role in ensuring continuous innovation and technological excellence in Nexperia’s products.

“The planned investment enables us to bring WBG chip design and production to Hamburg. However, SiC and GaN are by no means new territory for Nexperia. GaN FETs have been part of our portfolio since 2019, and in 2023 we expanded our range of products to include SiC diodes and SiC MOSFETs, the latter in collaboration with Mitsubishi Electric. Nexperia is one of the few suppliers to offer a comprehensive range of semiconductor technologies, including Si, SiC, and GaN in both e-mode and d-mode. This means, we offer our customers a one-stop shop for all their semiconductor needs”, explains Stefan Tilger, CFO and Managing Director at Nexperia Germany.

This investment marks another milestone in the 100-year history of Nexperia’s production site in Hamburg-Lokstedt. Since the foundation of Valvo Radioröhrenfabrik in 1924, the site has developed to supply around a quarter of the global demand for small signal diodes and transistors. Since its spin-off from NXP in 2017, Nexperia has invested substantial sums in the Hamburg site, increased the workforce from 950 to around 1,600, and upgraded the technological infrastructure. This continued expenditure underscores the company’s commitment to remaining at the forefront of the industry and providing innovative solutions to its customers worldwide.