Orla McCoy

UPM Community Engagement Manager

Based in Oxford, UK

Sustainability; Intel; Merck; EMD Electronics; Tokyo Electron; Kurita Water Industries;

News-in-brief: April 2023

Latest microelectronics industry news relating to UPM

Company News

Merck and Intel sustainability funds: In March 2023, Merck and Intel announced that they are collaborating on a new research program to leverage artificial intelligence for more environmentally sustainable semiconductor manufacturing processes and technologies. The companies have signed a memorandum of understanding to make a joint investment over three years. As part of the program, the joint venture will invite Europe-based research groups to apply for funding in Q2 2023, with priority for funding given to contributors offering promising solutions in more environmentally friendly materials; methods of using resources more efficiently; possibilities for waste and emissions reductions; and strategies for modeling chemical processes. The exact investment figure in the venture has not been announced.

Hansung Cleantech ultrapure water plant construction: Hansung Cleantech has announced that it has completed the design, construction, and commissioning of a 1200 ton/day ultrapure water demonstration plant in the first stage, as part of South Korea’s localization projects for ultrapure water production. The plant water has started supplying the Gumi SK Silitron semiconductor factory.  

Fluorochemical product demand: AGC have announced that they will expand production capacity for fluorochemical products to address strong demand within the semiconductor industry. The expansion will take place at AGC’S plant in Chiba Prefecture, Japan. The investment will be 35 billion yen (~USD$261 million) and is expected to be completed by Q2 2025.


Water treatment design automation possibilities: Kurita Water Industries , in collaboration with Fracta Leap, launched an expansion of a beta version application automating design solutions for water treatment plants. Named the Meta-Aqua Project, the joint venture aims to meet the needs of semiconductor industry to minimize plant start-up time through applications for equipment configuration and construction planning configuration. The next phase of released applications will aim to cover all the main processes involved in basic water treatment design.

UPW monitoring technologies on the market: Swan Analytical Instruments has announced a new, more compact version of its AMI LineTOC monitor for ultrapure water applications. The instrument measures total organic carbon in a measurement range of 0 to 1000 parts-per-billion.

Policy and regulations

UPW-related regulations: The South Korean Government’s Customs Services has announced that, from March 2023, the regulations regarding the import of ultrapure water supply devices will be relaxed to encourage facility investment in the semiconductor industry. According to current regulations, follow-up management of ultrapure water supply devices is mandatory to ensure that the devices are applied in their intended purposes three years after import. 

US State funding: In April 2023, Oregon passed a bill which will invest $210 million for semiconductor industry – the bulk of which will go towards grants and loans for semiconductor manufacturing companies for acquiring land for new facilities or carrying out research. 


High-purity gas plant: EMD Electronics is investing $300 million in expanding its manufacturing site in Pennsylvania, USA, to produce high purity tungsten hexafluoride and nitrogen trifluoride gases for metal coatings in semiconductor manufacturing. The announcement comes after news that EMD Electronics has received grants of over $1.1 million from state authorities.

Projects in Japan: In March 2023, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation announced that it will invest 260-billion-yen (~$1.9 billion USD) from 2023 through to 2026 to increase silicon carbide (SiC) semiconductor production. A major portion of the investment – 100 billion yen – will be directed towards constructing a 200mm SiC wafer plant in the Kumamoto Prefecture, Japan. The rest of the investment will go towards enhancing 150mm wafer production facilities to meet growing demand in this sector, and consolidating existing operations in Japan-based factories (including equipment enhancements and environmental configurations). 

Tokyo Electron (TEL) announced that it will invest $167 million in constructing a new equipment production factory in Japan, manufacturing thermal processing and single-wafer deposition systems. Construction of the facility is planned to start in early 2024, with completion planned for the end of 2025. 


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