The facility is expected to be as big as "Infosys' campus"

Preethi J.

Bangalore, Dec. 6

Skill City, a consortium of some of the promoters of SemIndia (of Fab City project), will set up a training centre for semiconductor industry in Mysore.

The Mysore facility will also house an R&D hub, which will keep the trainees up to date on the latest technologies in the chip industry, said Mr Sudhakar, Founder Director, Skill City, who hopes to have it ready in six months' time.

Skill City is in early stages of negotiations with the Karnataka Government to set up a training centre in Mysore for those who cannot afford their own centres. The facility is expected to be "as big as Infosys' campus," according to Mr Bob Kondamoori, Vice-Chairman, SemIndia and Managing Partner, Sandalwood Partners, one of the major investors in the SemIndia project.

SemIndia is in the process of securing an annual contract with Skill City, to train engineers on various aspects of chip fabrication.

The training centre will train 500 of SemIndia's engineers in production, testing, fabrication, process technology, manufacturing and other aspects of chip manufacture over the next 2 years, he said.

SemIndia will provide equipment for the training facility, and has already invested $40 million in equipment for the first phase. Skill City will provide the trainers, and the contract is expected to cost SemIndia $2-3 million a year.

SemIndia plans to hire 2,000 people for the Fab City project in the next 30 months, 80 per cent of whom will be diploma holders, who will work on the assembly line and test equipment. They will be hired locally (in Hyderabad only). The remaining 20 per cent will be technical engineers, and since talented engineers in this industry are difficult to get, SemIndia will scour the country to hire them. They will be sent to Mysore to be trained in production technology - basically back-end work, said Mr Kondamoori.

The Bangalore R&D centre, set up in association with the Belgium-based IMEC and Bangalore's Indian Institute of Science (IISc), is expected to be ready by mid-2007. Here, R&D engineers will work on the latest process technologies (65nm and 45nm), patented technologies, licensed products and chip design.

Awaiting clearances

SemIndia founders are waiting for the Andhra Pradesh Government to clear the Fab City for pollution control. The organisation hopes to receive all clearances in 3-4 weeks' time. It will then start construction, which it expects to be completed in six months. Meanwhile, the line of fabless semiconductor companies waiting for India's first and only chip manufacturing facility to start is growing.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 7, 2006)
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