Menlo Micro sites MEMS fab in New York state

Menlo Microsystems Inc. (Irvine, Calif.) has said it will spend US$50 million over several years to create a wafer fab for MEMS RF and power switches in Ithaca, New York.

Menlo Micro is a spin-off from General Electric and describes its miniature switches as ideal as they provide superior isolation to solid-state switches and operate from milliwatts to kilowatts.

Menlo Micro was known to be looking to onshore manufacturing of its components (see MEMS switch startup looks to build own wafer fab). The move will help secure its intellectual property and reshore operations away from Chinese-owned manufacturing.

Menlo has out-sourced manufacturing to Silex Microsystems Jarfalla, Sweden, wholly-owned by Sai Microelectronics Inc. which is listed on the Shenzhen stock exchange.

Subsidy could unlock $150 million more

Menlo has announced that it has finalized the purchase of a building in Ithaca New York, that will house the company’s first wafer fab. It added that it would spend US$50 million in the Ideal Fab over the next three years to create more than 100 jobs within five years.

The possibility of receiving additional government funds could allow for further expansion of Menlo’s US manufacturing base allowing an additional investment upwards of $150 million and the phasing in of an additional 100-plus jobs, the company said.

Retrofitting of the the building to make it suitable for cleanroom operation has already started and manufacture of MEMS switches is expected to begin in 2024.

“We believe this fab modernization project is in 100 percent alignment with the Presidential directive on bringing semiconductor manufacturing back to the United States,” said Russ Garcia, CEO of Menlo Micro, in a statement.

Menlo Micro has its roots in New York. The company was a spin-off from General Electric’s Global Research Center in Niskayuna, NY, after a decade of internal R&D. Although company is headquartered in California Menlo Micro’s R&D is now located at the Albany NanoTech Complex in Albany, NY.