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Walking Inside ST’s New SiC Manufacturing Facility in Italy

The main sector for SiC volume production today is Automotive, for use in electric vehicles (EV).


After Singapore, ST recently announced to build of an integrated Silicon Carbide substrate manufacturing facility in Catania, Italy. To establish more about their recent strategic expansion in the SiC domain, Niloy from BISinfotech gets alongside for a quick chat with Filippo Digiovanni, Strategic Marketing Manager, Innovation and Key Programs Manager within the Power Transistor Sub Group, STMicroelectronics. During this interaction, Filippo shares an overview of the vigorous approach of ST in SiC technology, and ST’s core competencies and shares insight on what’s next big they’re planning to dominate the power semiconductor segment. Edited Excerpts are below.

Why ST has chosen Italy to build an integrated Silicon Carbide substrate manufacturing facility, what are the resources, utility and strategic benefits of this announcement?

ST’s site in Catania, Italy, is an excellence centre for power semiconductors and hosts the Company’s main manufacturing facility in this technology. We also have a second one in Singapore. ST’s SiC technology has
been developed in Catania through collaboration over 25 years with research and academic institutes such as CNR (Italy’s National Council of Research) and the University of Catania.

As ST’s core competencies are based there, building the substrate fab alongside our existing R&D and manufacturing facility was a perfect fit. SiC, much more than silicon, requires a fully integrated production plant because all process steps are closely intertwined and co-location in Catania also offered ST the benefit of reaching economies of scale for enhanced competitiveness.

In terms of SiC substrate technology, what portfolio and sectors majorly the new facility will be catering and will ST’s ongoing operational model of being an Integrated Device Manufacturer be replicated through this new expansion?

The main sector for SiC volume production today is Automotive, for use in electric vehicles (EV). The technology also addresses Industrial applications, where efficiency is the dominant factor in the choice of the proper power semiconductor family. The presence of a substrate fab with our production site enhances our integration effort, a key to our success and ability to serve customers efficiently.

With this new investment how ST believes to overcome the challenges of SiC defining small wafer diameters available (3 inches), higher raw material cost and poor epitaxial layer quality, with many defects lowering the breakdown voltage.

Today’s SiC production is based on 150mm wafers (6”). The equipment we’re using also can handle 200mm (8”) wafers. We’ve already successfully manufactured and tested 200mm wafers as prototypes in ST’s advanced pilot line in ST SiC AB, Sweden.

ST has ambitious plans towards reaching 40% internal substrate sourcing by 2024. Is this move a part of it?

Absolutely. Our new production line in Catania, Italy is instrumental in reaching our goals of 40% internal SiC substrate sourcing as well as our revenue targets and it also helps ST accelerate the transition to a more diversified and resilient supply chain. This is, ultimately, beneficial to customers, too.


Niloy Banerjee

A generic movie-buff, passionate and professional with print journalism, serving editorial verticals on Technical and B2B segments, crude rover and writer on business happenings, spare time playing physical and digital forms of games; a love with philosophy is perennial as trying to archive pebbles from the ocean of literature. Lastly, a connoisseur in making and eating palatable cuisines.

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