The semiconductor deposition process is primarily planar. As feature sizes reach molecular levels, the industry is moving to 3D circuits - primarily stacked die with wire bonds or via structures. This is occurring in logic and memory and will become more pervasive until a solutions are perfected to do multilayer microcircuits, or a new 'Beyond CMOS' process is developed to bridge the gap signifying the end of 'Moore's Law'. It is imperative that US manufacturers are at the forefront of these developments which will require billions in research funding.

At the same time there is a technology movement toward Silicon Photonicscircuitry - first hybrid and then monolithic to support high performance computing, communications, and Big Data installations. The IPSR consortium mentioned on our home page is roadmapping this effort for: a) System Interconnects, b) Packaging, c) Assembly, d) Monolithic Integration, e) Optical Sensors, f) The Internet Of Things (IoT). The goal is 128TB data communications capability within 5 years, utilizing single mode in-system fiber, polymer waveguides and advanced SiPhotonics chip technology.

The semiconductor industry may hold one key to the future of US manufacturing dominance. It will provide complete system-level circuits on a silicon die within a decade, using its photolithography, diffusion and packaging capabilities to create whole new applications on a chip, i.e. SiP or SoC. Domestic employment here will be high tech - and limited. The bulk of this new employment will be upstream from manufacturing: designers, firmware engineers, application engineers, supply chain and marketing.

More, soon.....including Robotics and Lights Out Manufacturing

           Intel CPU Socket 1155              Single Mode Optical Fiber: Coming to a Computer System near You

Latest Input:  Several Meetings have been held with government officials - in Congress and Agencies, in Industry and in Academia. Limited response from the Trump Administration have been received- but including one most important one: A letter of thanks signed by Donald Trump. The gist of substantive discussions is a "sympathetic ear" and some good suggestions, but no call to action. It appears that if anything is to be done, we will have to be the catalyst for it to happen. There are disturbing inputs: 

Apple has said it cannot manufacture consumer products here in high volume because the types and numbers of employees necessary to do this type of work do not exist in the U.S. Their claim is that nowhere in the U.S. for this type of work, can the 100s of thousands of assembly line workers be found. And the costs associated with Onshore manufacturingwould increase prices substantially, making it difficult to sell these products.

Other inputs say we should focus on New Technology and forget about electronic products now made offshore.

Others, although left unsaid, imply that we are enjoying the fruits of offshoring, to reduce costs and maximize profits, so why should we change? With each company having their own parochial needs. And, as an added bonus for some: we are helping to lift up emerging World economies.

  • In academia, perhaps over 100,000 foreign students are studying here already. They represent a significant economic factor for American Universities - and, here is the kicker: There are many more foreign masters, Ph.D. candidates and post Docs here from Asia and Eastern Europe than there are American Technical Students.

  Top 20 Semiconductor Manufacturers 2014                    Some IC Packaging Firms

               (OEMs: Orig. Equip. Mfrs.)                           (OSATs: Outsourced Assembly & Test) 

  1. Intel $50B (US)                            11. Renesas $6.9B (JP)                            - ASE (TW)

  2. Samsung $38B (KR)                    12. SanDisk $6.1B (US)                          - Amkor (US)

  3. Qualcomm $19.3B (US)              13. Infineon $6.1B (DE)                         - OSE (TW)

  4. Micron $16.4B (US)                     14. NXP $5.5B (NL)                                 - Promex (US)

  5. SK Hynix $15.7B (KR)                  15. Avago $5.4B (US)                             - Shinko (JP)

  6. TI $11.4B (US)                                 16. AMD $5.4B (US)                               - Kyocera (JP)

  7. Toshiba $8.5B (JP)                        17. Freescale $4.6B (US)                      - Signetics (KR)

  8. Broadcom $8.4B (US)                  18. Sony $4.5B (JP)                                 - Chip-Pak (US)

  9. ST Micro $7.4 (FR-IT)                19. UMC $4.3B (TW)                              - ISI (US)

10. Media Tek $7.1B (TW)                 20. NVIDIA $4.0B (US)                         - Corwil (US)


       Proposition: An Electronics Manufacturing Renaissance in the U.S

This from EE Times. It confirms a meeting I was present recently in with the National Director of Intelligence, and more recent testimony by Chris Wray, FBI Director: "There has been much buzz in the global semiconductor industry about the accelerated consolidation of chip vendors. But the biggest untold story is the presence of Chinese investors, M&As and buyouts traced back to China. In deals involving Marvell Technology, Micron, Atmel, Anadigics, Micrel, Pericom Semiconductor, PMC-Sierra, Lattice Semiconductor, Western Digital, and more, Chinese bidders have lurked behind practically every attempted — or speculated — negotiation in the last two years". From Wray: “I think in this setting I would just say that the use of nontraditional collectors, especially in the academic setting, whether it’s professors, scientists, students, we see in almost every field office that the FBI has around the country. It’s not just in major cities. It’s in small ones as well. It’s across basically every discipline. “And I think the level of naïveté on the part of the academic sector about this creates its own issues. They’re (China) is exploiting the very open research and development environment that we have, which we all revere, but they’re taking advantage of it. So one of the things we’re trying to do is view the China threat as not just a whole-of-government threat but a whole-of-society threat on their end, and I think it’s going to take a whole-of-society response by us." This begs the question of our massive China outsourcing: We have given China Trillions of dollars to play with, and they are using that wealth to spy on the US, both here and in China. Will individual companies here do anything? Only if it threatens their own parochial interests.

And understand, Electronics is certainly not the only industry with domestic manufacturing issues, but it is one of the highest technology markets that does. We DO need to compete in a global marketplace, penetrate foreign markets, be respected global citizens in our industries but not at the expense of hollowing out our own manufacturing and exposing the U.S. to potential disaster in the event of a prolonged international supply disruption. That is exactly what we have done! 

This is a complicated subject with various parameters moving in different directions, powered by individual companies' differing business strategies and individual concerns. Some companies are domestic and/or under the radar screen in market niches, others are global with significant (and growing) percentages of their business overseas. A major challenge is how you steer this massive heterogeneous vessel more toward domestic manufacturing without disrupting the global positions of hundreds of companies. A recent short dialog with Professor David Autor, Associate Dean of MIT Economics and others on the ground.  I said we need to regain high volume manufacturing as a society. Dr. Autor observed in a dispassionate non-editorial position, that a rebound in domestic manufacturing maynot result in a large increase in the workforce. He observes that future manufacturing will require both very high skill positions and capital-intensive automation, and that 'Reshoring' is not likely to "rejuvenate labor-intensive products such as we formerly saw "The flight in textiles, furniture, leather goods", and my input: "Electronic assembly can be more highly automated with design changes for automation, and higher levels of integration, and one US company is developing that capability now. However - it IS capital intensive and will need millions in investment to bring it to market. And what if, as now, the assembly market is still in China or other Asia-Pacific, and they are still leveraging low-cost labor?

  • What we need here is a demonstration program, modeling the costs of domestic production vs. offshore.
  • This can be done with a major university that already has the modeling tools to do this.
  • And there are highly advanced packaging programs here too that can be leveraged
  • They just need the input and the funding for such an important program.

IN CONCLUSION - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

  • The U.S. DOES Need to Regain Global Manufacturing Leadership in its Flagship Industry.
  • In an Unstable, Hostile World, the U.S. Must Increase its Regional Industrial Supply Chain.
  • The Electronics Industry can provide Excellent Domestic Employment Opportunities at all Skill Levels.
  • Domestic Electronics Manufacturing MUST Lead the World with 21st Century Automation and Technology Innovation.
  • That innovation will be disruptive of Asian assembly and entail a major component of Advanced Semiconductor Technology.
  • Beyond Moore's Law and include Multi-Chip Packaging with Advanced Substrate and, where necessary, Lightwave Technologies
  • The US Needs to Export More and Import Less to Increase GDP and Eliminate its Trade Deficit.
  • The U.S. Must Nurture and Protect the Viability of Domestic Manufacturing in:

  • Semiconductors and Packaging are a Most Important Domestic Industry.
  • Semiconductor Technology is evolving into Si Photonics for Computers, HPCC, and IoT applications.
  • Robotics IS our Mfg. Future, But we are currently Vulnerable to Major International Competition.
  • Robotics can be our friend, but also our worst enemy. What do we do when 25% of existing jobs get automated?
  • ICs, Photonics, Computers and Electronic Products, Mobile/Wireless, Electronic Components should be Made Here.
  • Automotive Electronic Mfg. Infrastructure supports a Key U.S. Industry vs. Asian Competition: Autonomous and Electric Vehicles.
  • China is now #1 in automotive production, surpassing the US and Europe.
  • 5G Telecommunications with Domestic Mfg. of Handsets - we can build High Volume/Low-Cost Products.
  • Medical and Bio-Electronic Technologies and Mfg. is evolving into New Areas and applications.
  • Renewable Energy, i.e. Li-Ion Batteries, /Advanced Photovoltaic Technologies and Mfg. Needs to be Re-Established Here.
  • Elec. Grid with EMP-tolerance should not be just a Wish List. It will take a National Commitment. Otherwise a looming disaster.
  • Domestic Manufacturing of Electrical Grid Components go Hand-in-Hand with Above.
  • We are Currently Extremely Vulnerable to a conflict in Asia.
  • Who will say our Democracy and China's Communist State will not Clash in to 2020s?
  • The list goes on….