These investments are contemplated in Micron's long-term model to invest capital expenditure in the low thirties as a percent of revenue. The expansion will position the Manassas site - located about 40 miles west of Washington, D.C. - to support Micron position in the growing market for high quality, high reliability memory products.
The initial clean room expansion is expected to be completed in the fall of 2019 with production ramp in the first half of 2020. This expansion will add less than 5% to Micron's global clean room space footprint and will primarily support enablement of DRAM and NAND technology transitions as well as modest capacity increase at the site.
As part of this expansion, Micron will also establish a global research development center in Manassas for the development of memory and storage solutions focused mainly on the automotive, industrial and networking markets. The research and development center will include laboratories, test equipment and a staff of approximately 100 engineers.
The expansion announcement comes amid a prolonged boom in semiconductor memory that has persisted for two years. While the market for NAND flash chips is cooling off amid increased production capacity and higher yields of 3D NAND chips, analysts forecast that the DRAM market will grow by more than 30% this year after growing by 76% in 2017.