TSMC pushes back opening of Arizona plant for a second time

Taiwanese chip maker TSMC says a shortage of specialist workers has forced it to delay the opening of its second factory in Arizona from 2025 to 2027 or 2028.

The disclosure was made by TSMC chairman Mark Liu during an earnings call on Thursday. It’s another setback for TSMC, and also for the US government; the factory is a key component of its efforts to on-shore semiconductor manufacturing.

Liu said construction on the shell for TSMC’s second Arizona factory had begun, but that it needed more help from the government to complete it. Previous reports have cited issues with staffing for the setbacks. 

TSMC announced its plans in 2022 for this second fab, which will bring its overall investment in the state to USD 40 billion. There is now speculation that the problems with construction might force TSMC to reconsider whether it can make 3-nanometer chips on the site. Instead, it might have to focus on less advanced products. The first Arizona facility is still on track for production of 4-nanometer technology, which will start in the first half of 2025.

The delays will be concerning for TSMC, which is busy trying to diversify its production away from its Taiwanese homeland. Last year, it announced a factory in Dresden, Germany, its first in Europe. Meanwhile its first facility in Kumamoto Japan will officially open next month, with mass production scheduled for Q4 2024. And TSMC is now considering whether to open a second facility in Japan to manufacture 12nm chips by the end of 2026.

Resumen en Español: Contratiempos para TSMC: Escasez de Trabajadores Retrasa la Apertura en Arizona

La empresa taiwanesa fabricante de chips TSMC anunció que la escasez de trabajadores especializados ha obligado a retrasar la apertura de su segunda fábrica en Arizona de 2025 a 2027 o 2028. Este contratiempo afecta tanto a TSMC como al gobierno de Estados Unidos, ya que la fábrica es un componente clave de los esfuerzos del país para relocalizar la fabricación de semiconductores. A pesar de que la construcción de la estructura de la segunda fábrica en Arizona ya ha comenzado, Mark Liu, presidente de TSMC, mencionó que se necesita más ayuda del gobierno para completarla, y existen especulaciones sobre si los problemas de construcción podrían obligar a TSMC a reconsiderar su capacidad para fabricar chips de 3 nanómetros en el sitio. En lugar de eso, podrían enfocarse en productos menos avanzados. Aunque la primera instalación en Arizona sigue en camino para la producción de tecnología de 4 nanómetros, que comenzará en la primera mitad de 2025, estos retrasos plantean preocupaciones para TSMC en sus esfuerzos por diversificar su producción fuera de Taiwán.