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What does ‘the materials crunch’ mean for electronics manufacturing?

Jun 21, 2022

Materials are the Achilles heel to the rapidly expanding chip industry, according to Lita Shon-Roy, president and CEO of electronics market analyst firm, Techcet. The causes are widespread, stretching from one end of the supply chain to the other.

“The materials at highest risk of interruption are gases and chemicals, and without significant investment, U.S. fabs increasingly will rely on imports, primarily from Asia, to meet surging demand,” said Shon-Roy.

A recent article in Semi Engineering summarises some of the key issues:

  • In the near-term, there are supply issues for key industry gases, such as helium and neon; and in the longer term, the supply/demand balance for gases such as nitrogen trifluoride (NF3), tungsten hexafluoride (WF6), and others could tighten as industry demand grows.
  • The shortage of neon gas, used as the main carrier gas in KrF and ArF (248nm and 193nm, respectively) lithography, is directly tied to the Russian war on Ukraine. Neon is a byproduct of steel production and is largely produced in Ukraine, Russia, and China. About 50% of the global supply of semiconductor-grade neon (>99.9995%) was globally supplied by two Ukrainian firms, Ingas and Cryoin, which were forced to shut down production in Mariupol and Odessa in Ukraine in recent months.
  • Global demand for cleaning chemistries, according to Techcet, will grow by 37% to 49% through 2025 for semiconductor-grade HCl, ammonium hydroxide, IPA, sulfuric acid, and hydrogen peroxide. Shon-Roy stated that in the U.S., most suppliers are in a sold-out position
  • Tool component shortages became evident recently as Lam Research, Applied Materials, and other tool vendors reported deferred revenue caused by incomplete delivery of tools to fabs.

We encourage you to read the full article here.

To avoid electronics supply-chain disruptions, you may also wish to consult an expert in electronics component supply. With more than three decades of supply-chain expertise, Astute Electronics is ideally placed to work with you on your daily component requirements.

For more help with looking at supply chain options, contact Astute Electronics