Semiconductor supply chain will remain vulnerable without advanced packaging investment
A new U.S. study has found that the advanced semiconductor packaging supply chain needs strengthening to meet the increasing demand for chips.
According to the report, without robust federal investment, the semiconductor supply chain in the U.S. faces an uphill battle to meet demand.
The study also highlights the crucial role of advanced packaging in driving innovation in semiconductor designs. At present, most of the chips in the U.S. are sent abroad for packaging and assembly into finished products. By moving packaging to North America, the entire electronics ecosystem can be improved.
The big players in the U.S. include Applied Materials, Amkor Technology, Ayar Labs, Lam Research, Microsemi Semiconductor and KLA-Tencor Corporation. These companies have seen unprecedented demand for semiconductor packaging, with growth predicted to rise as the world becomes smarter and more connected.
Other report findings
The study also found that while the U.S. can design cutting-edge electronics, it lacks the capabilities to make them. This is creating an overreliance on foreign companies, including companies in China, creating considerable risk.
Looking at the most recent data, the study highlights that North America’s share of global advanced semiconductor packaging production is just 3 per cent. In other words, at present, the U.S. is incapable of assembling its own chips.
The study concludes that the U.S. also needs to invest in developing and producing advanced integrated circuit substrates. Advanced integrated circuit substrates are crucial components for packaging circuit chips. Currently, the U.S. has nascent capabilities, putting it behind Europe, China and most other countries.
What can we deduce from the report? That the U.S. is behind in most aspects of semiconductor packaging. Decades of low investment and overseas partnerships have led to a manufacturing ecosystem devoid of domestic talent.
“The findings of this report make clear that, as a result of decades of offshoring, the United States’ semiconductor supply chains remain vulnerable, even with the new federal funding that’s expected,” says Jan Vardaman, president and founder of TechSearch International and co-author of the report.
As the U.S. comes to terms with its poor manufacturing ecosystem, China is ramping up assembly plants. In the face of increasing competition, the U.S. must focus on domestic investment in the near and medium-term. Without robust investment, they could fall further behind and lose out to their biggest competitors.