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Sam Penrod Reporting IM Flash has begun production of computer chips at the Micron plant in Lehi.
I can tell you there has been a dramatic change since the last time I was allowed inside. People are already on the job, and you can see the company is still hiring. Today I talked to the CEO of the company about what it is doing here and what it is they like about Utah for its first plant like this in the world.
This is where thousands of memory chip wafers will be produced every day, for shipment around the world. The memory is used in iPods, digital cameras, and other digital memory storage.
David Baglee, IM Flash Technologies: "It's basically a 3-D jigsaw puzzle that comes together to form these memory chips that we are making here."
IM Flash is a joint venture between computer giants Intel and Micron. Together the two companies are getting into the market of flash memory, which has suddenly become the product that is in most demand in the electronics industry.
David Baglee, IM Flash Technologies: "Each of these will be cut up into individual chips. It's put in a package and then the electrical connections are made, a final test, and then we ship it to all of our major customers."
What makes the production facilities here at IM Flash so sophisticated are these clean rooms and employees have to wear this special protective clothing.
David Baglee, IM Flash Technologies: "The humidity is very controlled in here, the temperature is highly controlled, the number of particles you'd find in here is less than one per cubic meter."
It takes weeks to make a finished chip, and requires hundreds of different processes. The plant already has 12-hundred employees and plans to hire another 800 more. The company says Utah has a great labor force and is why they are investing here.
David Baglee, IM Flash Technologies: "It takes two to three billion dollars, and we're investing very quickly in this place. A typical tool will cost one to 30 million dollars per tool."
The plant started limited production on January 15th, and when the plant is in full production a few weeks from now, it will produce up to two thousand memory chips every day, which will be the critical component for thousands and thousands of new electronics.