Semiconductor Equipment

US foundry SkyWater accelerates domestic chip manufacturing

27 January 2021
SkyWater has formed a new subsidiary, called SkyWater Florida, that will assume operation of the Center for NeoVation, the 200mm semiconductor manufacturing facility that will be expanded. Source: SkyWater

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic caused the U.S. to take a hard look at its current capabilities for semiconductor manufacturing.

Not only did the pandemic cause supply shortages and issues with getting products to vendors, it revealed that having the majority of manufacturing overseas could lead to potentially larger problems in the future.

SkyWater Technology, a U.S.-owned and operated pure play foundry, is looking to piggyback on recently passed legislation — namely the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) — to expand its domestic foundry in Florida’s Osceola County to advanced packaging capabilities for microelectronics manufacturing.

SkyWater has formed a new subsidiary, called SkyWater Florida, that will assume operation of the Center for NeoVation, the 200 mm semiconductor manufacturing facility that will be expanded. SkyWater is working with the Florida government and BRIDG, a semiconductor R&D and production house, to use the 109,000 sq ft facility, with about 36,000 sq ft of cleanroom space, to address commercial and government semiconductor needs.

SkyWater Florida will work with BRIDG to support multiple Department of Defense contracts.

“Through the partnership of SkyWater and BRIDG, the Center for NeoVation will immediately serve as an epicenter for reshoring advanced packaging capabilities while also driving the realization of state of the art heterogenous integration solutions,” said Brad Ferguson, CTO and senior government relations executive at SkyWater.

NDAA includes Title XCIX entitled “Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America,” which would create provisions for the establishment of federal incentives to promote semiconductor manufacturing and federal investments in chip research. This would include flooding billions of dollars in incentives to support domestic chip development and manufacturing. The House of Representatives just last month passed the NDAA and the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), a trade organization working toward the advancement of U.S.-based semiconductor efforts, called the passing of the bill critical to “America’s economic growth, national security and global technology leadership.”

SkyWater said creating ever-smaller electronic devices is enhanced by other technologies outside of purely chip design, particularly how ICs are packaged together. Advanced packaging methods such as multi-chip integration, various wafer or die-level bonding and interconnect concepts offer numerous advantages to conventional packaging such as low power consumption, increased I/O density, reduced form factors and improved performance.

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