Orla McCoy

UPM Community Engagement Manager

Based in Oxford, UK

Projects; Technology; Company News; Policy and Regulation; Entegris; CMC Materials; Samsung; Texas Instruments; IONICON Analytik; EMD Electronics; Soitec; Ecolab; Purolite;

News in brief

A roundup of essential microelectronics industry news from November 19- December 20.

Advanced materials and equipment supplier Entegris announced a $500 million investment in a new manufacturing facility in Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Science Park. The project will focus on micro-contamination control solutions, such as filters, gas delivery systems and advanced chemicals. The company also announced it intends to leverage advanced automation, digitalization and analytical tools in the facility. Expected to be fully operational in 2025, Entegris hopes the facility will support the development of technology nodes below 5nm. This comes alongside news this month that Entegris will acquire CMC Materials, a leading supplier of advanced materials for semiconductor manufacturing, including chemical-mechanical planarization products and electronic materials. The $6.5 billion deal is expected to close in the second half of 2022. 
Two companies revealed new fab construction projects in Texas. Samsung Electronics announced a new $17 billion fab in Taylor to manufacture advanced logic semiconductor solutions for applications in mobile, 5G, high-performance computing and artificial intelligence. Construction will span H1 2022 to H2 2024. Meanwhile, Texas Instruments announced four additional plants in Sherman, potentially requiring $30 billion in investment. Construction of the first and second fabs will begin in 2022, with some production capacity brought online as early as 2025. 
SONGWON Industrial, a South Korean supplier of high-purity specialty chemicals used to produce photo-resist resins, said in November it would invest in growing its chemical production capacity specifically for the semiconductor market, though project details have yet to be made public. SONGWON is currently building a technically advanced chemicals production line, which it hopes to start up in January 2022.

IONICON Analytik released a new product representing the next generation of proton-transfer-reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometry, or PTR-TOFMS. The instrument combines the ultra-clean FUSION reaction chamber with the TRION triple ion source for detection of trace volatile organic compounds in high-purity gases. The detection is extremely sensitive due to almost instant reagent ion switching capabilities.  

Company news 
EMD Electronics  – known as Merck outside the US – is entering a joint venture with data-management firm Palantir Technologies. EMD Electronics is a leading supplier of high-purity chemicals and advanced materials for the semiconductor market. The joint venture, named Athinia, will act independently of EMD and work to resolve semiconductor industry supply chain issues by using artificial intelligence and data collaboration. EMD has also announced $1 billion in investment through to 2025 in the US to support its business supplying chemicals and materials to the semiconductor market, including increasing R&D and manufacturing capacity at its Arizona, California, Texas and Pennsylvania sites. 

French company Soitec – an international supplier of silicon-on-insulator wafers for leading integrated device manufacturers – announced both the acquisition of wafer polishing firm NOVASiC and a strategic partnership with electronics and advanced materials expert Mersen. The acquisition, which is expected to close by end-2021, will strengthen Soitec’s silicon carbide offering, while the Mersen collaboration targets the development of new polycrystalline silicon carbide substrates for the electric vehicles market. 
Ecolab closed on its $3.7 billion purchase of Purolite, a global chemicals manufacturer and resins supplier for ion exchange catalysts, adsorbents and polymers. Ecolab hopes the acquisition will strengthen its capabilities in ultrapure water production as well as advanced microelectronics polishing. 

Policy and regulation 
The US Commerce Department announced the introduction of an Industrial Advisory Committee to advise the government – through the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) – on microelectronics research, development, manufacturing and policy. NIST is actively inviting nominations of experts for appointment to this committee, which will comprise at least 12 members including academics, laboratory representatives and industrial professionals. 
The Canadian government unveiled a strategy to encourage domestic microelectronics industry growth. The report, entitled Roadmap to 2050: Canada’s Action Plan, outlines the country’s path to becoming a developer, manufacturer and global supplier of semiconductor products. The guiding strategies include developing onshore manufacturing, strengthening and diversifying the supply chain, establishing unique specialization for Canada and fostering market innovation. The country aims to specialize in R&D and chip production for electric vehicles, batteries and sensors.