Big Things in Tiny Tech

Big Things in Tiny Tech

Semiconductor shortages have been a major business topic these last few years, disrupting all kinds of industries across the world. They’re an important electrical component found in just about any kind of device, from refrigerators, to computers, vehicles, and an incredibly vast number of other products. They’re also a major bottleneck in the global supply chain system, as virtually everyone needs them. That’s why Indiana has been making moves lately to bring more semiconductor production home.

Quite a few new initiatives have been launched recently to boost Indiana’s semiconductor capacity, several of which involve high-tech partnerships and new facilities. We’ve gathered a rundown of some of the latest highlights to keep you powered-up and in the know.


Semiconductor Task Force Launches

As a direct response to the widespread global semiconductor shortages this past spring, officials in Indiana launched a new semiconductor production task force in an effort to make the state a leader in the chip industry. It’s called the Accelerating Microelectronics Production & Development (AMPD) task force, and it will be accelerating and support microelectronics research by securing commercial semiconductor and federal funding opportunities.

Comprised of industry experts, universities, and public institutions, AMPD will be working to attract investments by connecting semiconductor companies with local resources and assets, such as skilled talent, prime real estate, and competitive investment packages.

To kick things off, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) seeded the initiative with $2.7 million of state funding for the task force to design and execute a strategic outreach and marketing plan to secure commitments from established sector leaders and disruptive companies over the next two years.

The task force’s roster contains quite a number of industry experts, and two leading global strategic consulting groups have been retained to ensure AMPD is equipped with the best information for engaging the industry.


New Chip Design Center at Purdue

The world’s fourth-largest global semiconductor company announced plans to open a location in Indiana recently. Taiwan-based MediaTek plans to create a new chip design center in partnership with Purdue University.

The company plans to create up to 30 new high-paying jobs in Tippecanoe County to support the new center, establishing a new microelectronics ecosystem in West Lafayette. MediaTek provides chips for wireless communications, high-definition television, handheld mobile devices like smartphones and tablet computers, navigation systems, and consumer multimedia products.

MediaTek intends to create its new semiconductor design center in the Convergence Center for Innovation and Collaboration within the Purdue University Discovery Park District. This will provide unique opportunities for education and training, as the company will be working with Purdue on a chip design focus for engineering education, as well as joint research into next-generation computing and communications chip design. This type of partnership is MediaTek’s first with a U.S. university, and a new growth model for chip design operations in the Midwest.


Defense Hub Adds a Chip Firm 

A new firm is bringing semiconductor development capabilities to one of Indiana’s key hubs for science and defense technology innovations. SkyWater Technology, a semiconductor engineering and manufacturing firm based in Minnesota, announced it has signed a lease with Purdue Research Foundation (PRF) to bring an initial SkyWater team to the WestGate@Crane Technology Park in Odon, IN.

WestGate@Crane is adjacent to the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Crane Division (NSWC Crane), which provides all kinds of engineering and technical support for the Navy’s electronics and special warfare weapons. NSWC Crane works on things like radiation-hardened electronics, radio-frequency technology, optoelectronics, advanced packaging, and trusted microelectronics.


$1.8B Microelectronics Facility

Just a few short weeks after SkyWater Technology’s announcement about their work at WestGate@Crane, the company announced a $1.8B planned investment for a new microelectronics facility at Purdue University. The new space will be a state-of-the-art semiconductor R&D and production facility in Indiana, supported by 750 new high-wage jobs in Tippecanoe County.

SkyWater plans to construct a 600,000-square-foot semiconductor research facility. This location will allow SkyWater to respond to increasing customer demand for accelerated access to domestic development, manufacturing, and advanced packaging for microelectronics, and will house advanced next generation fabrication facilities.


Getting Into the Chip Game

With more new operations and partnerships like these, Indiana might just become a Midwest nexus for semiconductor development. Today, most domestic production is based along the coastal states. But as is the case with other aspects of the Hoosier tech sector, advanced companies have been taking notice of Indiana as a bright spot for their future plans. Perhaps it won’t be too long before we’re recognized the world over for our semiconductor industry too.

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