Semiconductors – the central processing brain units
Have you ever wondered what washing machines, healthcare equipment, smartphones, computers, and cars have in common? They all rely on the use of semiconductors. Semiconductors are the powerful brains behind a variety of modern technology applications.
Silicon is the most commonly used semiconductor material for producing integrated circuits (ICs), also known as microchips. These microchips are made up of multiple transistors that function as switches, controlling the flow of electricity and enabling complex electronic functions.
Let´s explore four important aspects essential to the semiconductor industry:
- ultra-pure water’s crucial role,
- semiconductor market’s strategic investments,
- and the trends in the semiconductor market in Singapore & Europe.
Our first stop is to explore the world of microchips.
The prefix “micro” generally indicates something small, but it’s fascinating to learn that the semiconductor industry has advanced considerably over the past four decades.
Today, specialized chip factories produce transistors that are just 1/50,000th the size of a human hair. Smaller transistors means more powerful chips, which means, in turn, smaller, more powerful devices, like smartphones and other tools.
Water Purification & Semiconductors
Ultrapure Water plays an essential role in the production of microchips. In the preparation and cleaning it is crucial for ensuring the precise structures. Kurita Group is one of the leading companies in water treatment equipment for the production of UPW. Decades of experience and worldwide references distinguish the company. Currently, 80% of the semiconductor foundries are concentrated in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and South Asia.
Investments in Semiconductor Market
Due to the current shortage of chips and the projected increase in demand for electric vehicles, AI, military, and IoT in the next seven years, the governments of the USA and EU have unveiled ambitious plans to attract semiconductor companies to their territories. The construction of new semiconductor factories and expanding existing plants are leading to a significant increase in demand for UPW.
The Kurita Group has been keeping up with the semiconductor industry in Asia for the past few years and continues to focus on the semiconductor market in the EMEA region by announcing the acquisition of Arcade Engineering Group. Arcade is an engineering company specializing in constructing turnkey UPW processing plants for microelectronics companies in Europe and Singapore.
With establishing a specialized platform, Kurita can now offer comprehensive solutions to Europe’s microelectronics and semiconductor industry. This is also a positive development for the company’s position in Asia’s market segment for these products.
Trends in Singapore Semiconductor Market
Singapore’s industrial water demand will continue to account for the majority of our water demand. Public Utilities Board (PUB) aims to reduce industrial water demand to develop and implement solutions that increase the water efficiencies of industrial processes intrinsically and at the system level.
By encouraging the adoption of these solutions, PUB achieves win-win outcomes where industries benefit from recurring savings on their water bills, and PUB is able to ensure a sustainable water supply. Key focus areas include the development of water-less processes, and increasing the volume of water reclaimed from treated wastewater for process reuse or cooling.
In addition, synergies can also result from new hybrid processes, such as the recovery of valuable resources from the reuse of industrial wastewater and minimisation of wastewater to be sent for third-party disposal.
The Industrial Water Solutions Demonstration Fund (IWSDF) is available to support high-impact and innovative projects to treat and reclaim fresh water from industrial-used water for process reuse.
Trends in European Semiconductor Market
The European Chips Act is a forward-looking package of measures from the European Commission that will allow semiconductor manufacturers based in Europe to significantly increase their production capacity and thus relieve the current supply difficulties in the medium term. The ambitious goal is to increase production capacity to over 20% by providing over 43 billion euros.
In this context, the Chips Act focuses on two main areas: strengthening Europe’s competitiveness in this sector and driving the digital and green transformation forward.
In addition to the ambitious schedules, raw material shortages, supply bottlenecks, and a shortage of skilled workers pose a major challenge for all the companies involved.
It is important to ensure that the overall solutions are cost-effective and maximally sustainable in the long run.
After all, the water and energy shortages that are becoming increasingly apparent in Europe represent a further task, which requires innovative solutions to be addressed. In addition to the planning of the fabs and their facilities, the focus must be on sustainable operation at an early stage. To ensure sustainable operation, the design of ultrapure and corresponding wastewater facilities should prioritize long-term reduction and reuse strategies.
The goal must be to achieve a significant reduction within the next few years from the current 72% of total industrial water consumption.
The “National Water Strategy” published at the beginning of 2023 describes the sustainable use of our water resources. The access to high-quality drinking water is to be maintained, the responsible use of ground and surface waters is to be ensured, and the natural water balance and ecological development of our waters are to be supported. The measures described are to be implemented by 2030.
The union of the Kurita Group with Arcade brings customers precisely this overall concept.
At Kurita Group, we’re always looking to grow and improve our business worldwide. We aim to create more possibilities for success and build stronger connections with our customers by creating creative solutions that solve social and industrial issues.