New TI Factory Shows How the Chip World Has Changed

It was a big deal when Texas Instruments (TXN) announced plans in 2003 for a massive chip factory in a suburb of Dallas, its home town. Six years later, the company is finally preparing for production there–under a strategy that has changed dramatically.

The company said Tuesday it expects to begin moving manufacturing equipment in October into the facility in Richardson known as RFAB, which has stood empty since the building’s shell was completed in 2006. Those machines will process silicon wafers that are 300 millimeters in diameter, which allows companies to churn out chips at the lowest per-unit cost.

That part fits the original plan. But instead of making advanced digital chips, RFAB will manufacture products based on analog technology–becoming the first 300-millimeter production line turning out such chips. (Others use 200-millimeter wafers).

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