Construction Report

Dec 03, 2020  
[Finance]

SkyWater CEO Thomas Sonderman, left, stands with Jeb Nadaner, deputy assistant secretary of defense for industrial policy, outside his company’s plant in Bloomington. (Submitted photo) “It’s a sign that instinctively it all was in flight before some of this awareness see this page around U.S.-based manufacturing became apparent. But now it’s certainly putting us in a very nice position as we begin to repatriate the way semiconductor manufacturing is done.” SkyWater’s new clean room will specialize in part in making radiation-hardened or “rad-hard” semiconductors, Sonderman said. These chips, he said, work in “harsh environments, places where detonations can occur, places where you have a need for sensitivity to high degrees of radiation.” Applications include certain Space Force communications needs, superconducting technologies used for quantum computing, in which Sonderman said SkyWater is a leader, and medical devices. “Us being in the center of the medical device arena here in Minnesota leads to some interesting applications there,” Sonderman said. “It’s a capability that not only is unique but also well-timed because there is a lot of effort to commercialize space.” Jeb Nadaner, DoD deputy assistant secretary for industrial policy, told listeners at SkyWater’s event that the tech sector’s reliance on foreign chip suppliers and customers that have close ties to China creates new security challenges for the United States. Public-private partnerships are part of defense department strategy to counter that threat. “We as Americans must be assured that the chips our weapons and our equipment used by American troops and in our infrastructure for all our citizens operate as intended when they are needed most and that they’re not ‘exfiltrating’ the sensitive and personal and private data to people that do not wish us well,” Nadaner said. The new fabrication facility “is proof that large-scale and advanced manufacturing continues to be possible in the United States of America,” Ian Steff, Department of Commerce assistant secretary for global markets, said at the commissioning event. “Our domestic capabilities up and down the supply chain must increase … and will increase. This continues to be enabled by industry-driven approaches with government partnership to improve the investment climate as demonstrated here today.” SkyWater, which has 500 employees, expects to add 50 by the time the new clean room is fully operating, Sonderman said. About 20% are engineers and about 20% of them have doctorate degrees.

https://finance-commerce.com/2020/11/spotlight-skywater-aims-to-boost-secure-semiconductor-production/

[Finance]