Header image of books


Semiconductor manufacturers have two possible approaches to making their products. They can either build and run their own manufacturing plants, or restrict themselves to designing chips that are then made by others. The former was once the more usual method, involving the construction and operation of extremely expensive factories (called silicon foundries in the jargon) which are capable of the high standards of precision and cleanliness required to make these complex circuits. Many of these plants were sited in places, often in foreign countries where wage rates and other costs were low or grants were available and were usually restricted to manufacture of components with no research or design facilities. These became known in the business as fabs, short for “fabrication plants”. More recently, some companies — especially the smaller ones — have begun to select the other route to manufacture, because they have discovered they can innovate more effectively and bring products to market more quickly if they contract out the production stages to a foundry. Such firms are said to be fabless. This group now has its own trade association, the Fabless Semiconductor Association.

Search World Wide Words

Support this website!

Donate via PayPal. Select your currency from the list and click Donate.

Copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
Page created 24 May 1997

Advice on copyright

The English language is forever changing. New words appear; old ones fall out of use or alter their meanings. World Wide Words tries to record at least a part of this shifting wordscape by featuring new words, word histories, words in the news, and the curiosities of native English speech.

World Wide Words is copyright © Michael Quinion, 1996–. All rights reserved.
This page URL: http://www.worldwidewords.org/turnsofphrase/tp-fab1.htm
Last modified: 24 May 1997.