Where they are made and what is happening to semiconductors

Since the pandemic, semiconductors have become part of the common imagination, because the production crisis has shown the alarming effects of its lack. However, there is still a great lack of knowledge about what they are, how they serve and the uses that they can be given.

First of all, it is important to point out that, for the moment, all chips are semiconductors, they differ among other things in the size they have, defined according to their need for energy and the space they can occupy within the hardware they make up. The most popular, from a few years ago until now, are microchips, with a size of 10 -6; and nano chips, from 10 -9, which, to get an idea, would be the equivalent of a particle of ground pepper (0.3mm2). This makes them particularly efficient and attractive components when it comes to integrating any hardware and that is why their use is increasingly common in any technology.

Regarding your developing: different design tools and simulation licenses are used, where both digital, analog or mixed designs are run and, once produced, they always need energy to function, which can come from different active or passive sources.

His functionalityHowever, it is much more extensive than is commonly thought and it seems to have been limited exclusively to the automotive and high-tech sectors. Today, chips are necessary in absolutely all areas of our life, from electricity, to computers, mobile phones, household appliances or video games, and even for technological elements related to the health field that can include both monitoring equipment basic, such as the most sophisticated robots currently used to perform neurological surgeries, which require extreme precision and dexterity.

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Its absence would suppose an abysmal delay in all the sectors that affect the day-to-day life of the entire population and would make it impossible for human beings to be able to live as they are used to doing. That is to say, there would be a setback and a global collapse.

Producing countries

However, the manufacture of this type of chips is still very limited to just a few countries capable of developing them and the bulk of the production is shared between four, with Taiwan in the lead, followed by Korea, the United States and Israel, in addition to China, which also boasts a large industry, but mainly for domestic consumption. And it is that the manufacture of semiconductors requires a high amount of resources that few powers are willing or able to provide.

Furthermore, it is necessary to understand the dichotomy that occurs because it is a very complex and specialized industry, but with the aim of offering simple and efficient solutions with which to guarantee a better quality of life, through objects or elements that are easy to use for everyone.

For the production of semiconductors, two fundamental parts are required: of the fabless companies, in charge of creating the entire process of functionality of the technological component Through their designs, and foundries, responsible for the manufacture of semiconductor wafers that go on to become micro and nanochips.

Europe has some of the main fabless of the market that provide unique designs and without which the manufacture of the chips could not be carried out. In fact, only in Spain there are four companies dedicated to this work, which are the ones that make up the first Industrial Association of Semiconductors. In addition, of course, to the exceptional work that takes place in the clean rooms of our universities and research centers, which is overlooked when talking about the state of this industry.

danny morenoNow, the European Union seems to be considering the option of allow public aid to give a boost to chip production. However, the problem continues to be that in Europe we do not have the factories necessary to produce them and that continues to make us dependent and vulnerable given the increase in the global need in the face of digitization, especially post-COVID.

Danny Moreno Levy, CEO of Wiyo.

Photo: Economía3

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