Critical Materials Necessary for Semiconductor Manufacturing

Friday, Oct 03, 2014, 2:00pm

by David Isaacs, Vice President, Government Affairs

Today is National Manufacturing Day, a day to recognize the importance of U.S. manufacturing and assess what is needed to strengthen it. One vital component to continued manufacturing strength in the U.S. is access to critical materials, the lifeblood of the manufacturing process. 

This week, SIA filed comments to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) on “Critical and Strategic Materials Supply Chains.” Over the summer, OSTP issued a notice that included a list of questions on various issues related to critical materials and the supply chain, including (1) demand, (2) exploration, mining, and refining, (3) supply and supply chain, (4) market dynamics, (5) mitigation, and (6) other.

SIA’s comments focused on the importance of key materials in the manufacturing of advanced semiconductors and the need for an “early warning” system for both policymakers and industry to avoid significant disruptions in the supply of these critical materials. Congress has considered legislation to address the supply of critical materials, and the Administration is undertaking a review of this issue. It is important that the manufacturing needs of the semiconductor industry and other manufacturing sectors are taken into account as part of this process.

Last year, Congress narrowly avoided a disruption in the supply of helium, a gas that is essential for semiconductor manufacturing, medical devices, and a range of other applications. The recent experience with the helium supply illustrates the vital importance to the semiconductor industry and other important manufacturing industries, as well as scientific research, of a secure supply of essential materials. Addressing the supply of critical materials is an important step toward ensuring a robust U.S. manufacturing sector for years to come.