Semiconductor industry challenges in 2022: Supply chains, data, and sustainability

Publish Date

09 JAN 2022


Kai Beckmann


2021 was a year of extremes for the semiconductor and electronics industry. On the one hand, demand for chips has never been higher. On the other hand, the Covid-19 pandemic has shaken global supply chains so hard that semiconductors have become a scarce commodity and will remain so in the future.

Turn-of-the-year highlights: SEMICON West 2021, new data platform, CES 2022

The last weeks have been rather busy for EMD Electronics. SEMICON West, one of the most important industry events, took place in San Francisco in December. We engaged customers and partners in discussions on the future of electronics, semiconductor material trends, smart manufacturing, supply chain issues, and sustainability. EMD Electronics announced the creation of Athinia, a partnership with Palantir Technologies Inc. to deliver a novel data platform to tackle the challenges of the semiconductor industry more quickly.

As the worldwide biggest show for consumer electronics, CES provides a compass that points where the road is leading - whether for 5G, the Internet of Things, smart cities, self-driving vehicles, digital health, artificial intelligence, or augmented and virtual reality.

Insights and prospects with our virtual Tech Talks

As a supplier of semiconductor and display materials and solutions that enable many of these technologies, we are working to push the boundaries of what is possible. We presented a series of Tech Talks discussing how we are accomplishing this and the fields in which we are doing so.

Smart Antenna Satellite Broadband Connectivity – A Solution for the Digital Divide

Our experts discussed the potential of smart antenna technology, enabling a new generation of affordable, intelligent antennae that easily connect with geostationary and low-Earth-orbit satellites. Based on licriOn™, our liquid crystal solution, this technology will provide even the most remote corners of the globe with inexpensive and reliable Internet access. Click here for the recording.

Bioelectronics and Individualized Medicine - Treating and Preventing Diseases

During our panel discussion we delved into the future of bioelectronics. Although the concept is not new, it is a highly exciting research field that combines electronics, bioscience, and medicine – three areas that Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany unites under one roof. We talked about the possibilities for utilizing bioelectronics to treat diseases and better personalize therapies. We also discussed how wearables, electronic implants, and augmented and virtual reality could one day even enable the human body to heal itself. Click on this link for a recording of the panel discussion.

Digital Optics and Metaverse – The Demise of the Square Screen

Nearly 30 years ago, in his novel “Snow Crash” , science fiction author Neal Stephenson created a virtual reality with avatars and called it the “Metaverse”. Now the term has gone mainstream. In the Metaverse, our digital screens will no longer be square; instead, everything will merge into one through virtual, extended and augmented reality. At CES 2022, we presented how our materials will provide a better user experience to meet the hardware requirements of the Metaverse, with higher computing power and thinner, lighter devices. Click here for the talk on digital optics and the metaverse in full length.

The Race to the Future Computing Paradigm

The parameters of fundamental computer architectures have been drastically altered not only by the Metaverse, but also by applications such as blockchain, autonomous driving, and virtual and augmented reality. We need high-performance, low-power computers. While consumer electronics are becoming ever more personalized and intelligent, it’s necessary to deploy machine learning and artificial intelligence. The growth in data, performance, and functionality can only be tackled using innovative computer architectures. At CES, we talked about the role that disruptive paradigms such as neuromorphic and quantum computing will play in this development. You can find the recording here.

Data as a Game Changer for Manufacturing Excellence

The chip shortage has presented the semiconductor and electronics industry with the formidable task of crafting global supply chains that are more resilient. In addition, there is a need to improve quality and accelerate innovation. Besides leveraging data analytics, data collaborations can play a major role in meeting these demands.

Up to now, materials suppliers and chip manufacturers typically don’t share data outside of their own organization. Together with Palantir Inc., EMD Electronics has formed Athinia, a data analytics platform to share, aggregate, and analyze data securely. The new platform will help to better understand the interaction between materials and semiconductor manufacturing processes; it will increase supply chain transparency and decrease the cost and time-to-market for high-quality, high-performance products. At CES, we discussed the advantages of this unique data ecosystem. Here’s the recording.

Sustainability: A duty for us all

Leveraging data more heavily is also key to making semiconductor production more sustainable. As with all the major players in the industry, EMD Electronics is striving to help stem the tide of climate change. We have committed ourselves to minimizing our products’ environmental and health impacts across their entire life cycle and to defining and implementing concrete measures. Plus, we are doing everything we can to help our customers reduce the environmental footprint of their own products, from the product development stage on up. After all, electronics start with us!

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