SINGAPORE: Semiconductor manufacturer Systems on Silicon Manufacturing Company (SSMC) is boosting its production in Singapore with the opening of a new facility on Tuesday (Nov 27).
Built with an investment of S$300 million, the Annex 10 cleanroom facility represents a 34 per cent increase in space for the firm's automotive and specialty chip manufacturing.
SSMC added that the facility, which is next to its existing site at Paris Ris Industrial Drive 1, will boost its automotive wafers production by 40 per cent with a potential increase up to 60 per cent by 2023.
It will also be a learning lab for the use of Industry 4.0 solutions, and has led to the creation of about 100 jobs.
SSMC has tapped robotic automation as well as the use of Internet of Things devices to improve its manufacturing setup. Smart solutions which have proven to work well in Singapore will be used in its other affiliated facilities such as NXP Semiconductor’s manufacturing facility in Austin, Texas.
SSMC is 61.2 per cent owned by NXP Semiconductors and 38.8 per cent owned by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company.
Speaking to Channel NewsAsia, SSMC CEO Jagadish CV said the company aims to be a niche chip maker, adding that it is confident the demand for chipsets in cars will be a growth driver.
Chipsets are used by the auto industry for car infotainment, in-vehicle network, vehicle to infrastructure communications and even authentication controls and sensors.
“New applications are creating bigger demand in the automotive market,” said Mr Jagadish. “By doing automotive chips, SSMC differentiates itself from the competition.”
Mr Jagdish said the qualification process for manufacturing chips for the automotive industry takes a very long time. After which, it may take three to five years before a chip goes into production. However, he said the investment will continue to reap benefits for the next 10 to 15 years.
“It’s a business model where the gestation is harder, but it will stay with you for a very long period of time,” said Mr Jagdish.
Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing attended the launch of SSMC’s new facility. When asked for his views on the semiconductor industry, given the current downturn, he said that the outlook for this sector is very bright, taking a long-term perspective.
“If you look at the plans that SSMC has made, I would say that they are making a long-term commitment as an expression of confidence of the sector not just in Singapore, but also worldwide,” said Mr Chan.