U.S. investment: The U.S. Congress passed the CHIPS and Science Act of 2022 in August 2022. The bill includes $52.7 billion for the research, development, and domestic manufacturing of semiconductors and $39 billion to incentivize manufacturers. $2 billion will be used to create existing/legacy chips for automotive and defense.
Why: The investment will help make the U.S. more competitive in the international manufacturing of computer chips. The U.S. makes about 12% of the world’s computer chips. In June, the U.S. imported $4.5 billion of computer chips – a 16.65% increase from 2021. It is also expected to help ease supply chain issues and eventually, reduce inflation.
International demand: Taiwan makes about 66 percent of the world’s computer chips. China makes about 7.5 percent of the world’s chips – and in March announced it was spending $150 billion to boost production. Korea ranks second in the world in semiconductor production, and accounts for nearly 20 percent of the nation’s exports.
What are semiconductors: The tiny components conduct electricity with the value of the charge falling between that of a conductor, such as a metallic copper, and an insulator, such as glass. Silicon is the most frequently used semiconductor, along with germanium and gallium arsenide.
Silicon: The substance is found in minerals that make up 90 percent of the Earth’s crust. It feeds a $500 billion chip industry that powers a global tech economy worth an estimated $3 trillion.
Broad use: Semiconductors are found in thousands of products such as computers, smartphones, appliances, gaming hardware and medical equipment. They are also used in automobiles. A shortage of chips has impacted the production of auto manufacturers worldwide.
Manufacturing semiconductors: Cables and energy supply systems are critical in the manufacturing process. In addition, parts must meet cleanroom-specific designs. Only suppliers who can provide absolute freedom from particles make it into the complex world of chip production.
Cables: igus can supply cable types and energy supply systems for the construction of new factories or for expanded facilities. The products include cleanroom certifications.
Cleanroom laboratory: The Fraunhofer IPA designed and built a tailor-made cleanroom lab with an ISO Class 1 cleanroom system in Cologne. In the new lab, customer tests and the development of new products by igus can be performed in advance under realistic conditions in a short period of time.
Cable types: The company’s e-skin flat cable is made for compact machines and flexible. It can replace PTFE flat ribbon cables and can be expanded at each prototype stage with interconnectable pods or cable chambers where CFCLEAN cables are inserted.
Clean and efficient: A CFCLEAN has no outer jacket, and weights 21 percent less than conventional jacketed cables. This reduces energy consumption for movement and the plant’s operating costs.
Market leaders: Intel is the largest manufacturer of semiconductors in the United States. Nvidia, Texas Instruments, Micron, and Analog Devices are also among the industry leaders.
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