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Global Foundries

Malta, NY

Global Foundries

Global Foundries’ $4.6 billion factory may be the largest and most technologically advanced semiconductor manufacturing plant in the world. According to Chairman Hector Ruiz, the chip plant is “by far the most significant high-tech investment made in this country in decades.” The operation produces the most advanced semiconductors in the world.

The Malta, New York-based firm pushed precast concrete to the limit to meet the rigorous demands for constructing a complex, high-tech facility that has become standard-setting in semiconductor manufacturing.

A cast-in-place waffle deck would have added time and expense… and place a severe burden on the available workforce. The decision to utilize precast concrete was evident.

Alan Asadoorian, V.P. & Director of Construction Manager, M+W Group

Precast concrete was chosen to ensure building stability and vibration-free manufacturing in the nanometer range (that’s one billionth of a meter). Unistress supplied more than 2,250 precast concrete pieces for the new 1.3 million square foot facility, including special waffle slabs, beams, columns, and insulated wall panels. The custom-made pieces form the floor and walls of the manufacturing plant and related support buildings. Waffle slabs are also used in the vibration-resistant production floor.

Each 924 waffle precast concrete flooring panel contains a 350-piece rebar cage. These particular flooring panels are quite literally full of holes. In this case, hole-laden floors are an asset, allowing for pipe and wire chases. Eric Lillie, Lead Project Engineer for Unistress, noted that the design of the waffle panel forms had to be “…extremely efficient – yet flexible enough to easily remove the product from the form at the plant.”

The $800 million building project showcases the incredible flexibility of precast concrete and its ability to meet the high standards and complex requirements necessary to manufacture precision-electronic components.


Quality control is paramount in a precision-built product of this nature, where any vibration during the microchip manufacturing process would destroy the product. This was the first use of pre-cast in the United States for obstructing a semiconductor manufacturing plant.


Unistress delivered 1,843 concrete columns, panels, and beams from its centrally-located, northeastern U.S. headquarters in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The controlled plant environment allowed production to run uninterrupted in an area where the climate is, at best unpredictable. Off-site production also ensured that schedules and finances stayed on track, which is a critical factor for a project of this magnitude.

Role of Design Assist

To work out connection details and rebar clearances before construction began, Unistress created three-dimensional models of the highly reinforced waffle slabs. Details were fine-tuned in a coordinated effort with the design team.