Intel Fab18 Factory Tour in Kiryat Gat, Israel


Intel has several facilities in Israel, including two chip factories. We had the chance to visit Fab18, located in Kiryat Gat, which manufactures Pentium 4 chips in 90 nm process and also chipsets and flash memories. In this coverage you will have a better notion of where Intel factories are located, what is the relationship between them and, of course, how Fab18 looks like inside and how a chip manufacturing facility works.

In Figure 1, you can see where Intel fabs and development centers are distributed in the world.

Intel FabsFigure 1: Location of Intel fabs and development centers in the world.

In the so-called fabs is where the wafers are processed, i.e., the wafer enters “virgin” and exit full of chips on it. Then the wafers are sent to other facilities, called “assembly and testing”, where they are cut and the devices (processors, chipsets, etc) are packed (terminals and a body are added).

As you can see in Figure 1, Intel has fabs only in three countries: United States, Ireland and Israel. Assembly and testing facilities are found near consumer markets.

So, the final product from Fab18 is wafer, to be sent to assembly and testing facilities. That’s why you never see “Israel” on the body of any CPU but “Costa Rica”, “Malaysia” or “Philippines”, for example.

Besides the two fabs (the other one, Fab8, is located in Jerusalem and is older, established in 1985 and the first fab outside the USA), Intel has several research and development centers in Israel, as you can see in Figure 2. As we already mentioned on our IDF Tel Aviv coverage, the Haifa team is responsible for creating Pentium M CPU and all other CPUs based on its architecture, like Yonah (dual-core Pentium M) and the forthcoming Merom, Conroe and Woodcrest.

The Petach Tikva team is in charge of the development of all cell CPUs from Intel and also Wi-Max technology, after Intel bought a company called Envara in 2004. This year Intel bought a company called Oplus, located in Yokneam, which develops HDTV decoder chips. The Yakum team is a branch of the Haifa team and also develops CPUs and chipsets for mobile platform.

Intel Fabs in IsraelFigure 2: Intel fabs and development centers in Israel.

Intel history in Israel is very old. The Haifa development facility was established in 1974 (just five years after Intel was established) with five engineers headed by Dov Frohman, the man that created the EPROM chip.

Now that you have an overall look about Intel’s activities in Israel, let’s go to Fab18.

Author: Gabriel Torres

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.

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