The Success of US Chip Manufacturing Hinges on Our Electric Grid

Advanced semiconductor equipment requires 10 times more power. Our grid is not up to the task.
By Sarah Shinton

In 2022, the White House signed the CHIPS and Science Act into law, a bipartisan effort to increase domestic advanced semiconductor manufacturing. The legislation made a historic $52 billion investment in American semiconductor research, manufacturing and workforce development.

Over a year later, new projects are facing construction delays and permitting issues, raising concerns over efforts to expand domestic manufacturing despite legislative support. Worse yet, the country might be unable to generate enough electricity to power new fabrication plants, leaving billions of dollars in federal funds stranded and one of its most critical supply chains vulnerable.

The U.S. imports most of its advanced semiconductor chips from Taiwan, a trend the Biden Administration is trying to reverse as Chinese aggression towards the island grows. Just over 100 miles from mainland China, headquartered in the Hsinchu Science Park, is the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturer. Read More

‘Made in USA’ Works Well for Us

More manufacturers could benefit, if they put the effort into calculating the deeper competitive advantages and savings.
Industry Week
Employment in U.S. manufacturing currently stands at just under 13 million workers. Manufacturing’s peak of 19.5 million jobs occurred in June 1979. 

While some of this 40-year decline resulted from the change in skills manufacturers needed from workers over time, another catalyst is the ruthless race to find cheaper labor, parts and production in other countries.

In his book “Made in the USA: The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing,” author Vaclav Smil points out that “an excessive dependence on imports, and the systematic outsourcing of entire industries, will eventually weaken the strongest economies.”

U.S.-made is a point of pride for me and many manufacturers. “Made in the U.S.A.” means more than just higher quality. Made in the U.S.A. means stronger supply chains and potentially a lower total cost to operate my business. The U.S.-made label also entails providing better-paying jobs for American workers who can thrive. Read More

Reshoring and Automation: Where Do Cobots Fit in?

A look at how smaller manufacturers are using the technology to grow their businesses.
Industry Week
For North American businesses of all types, especially those in the manufacturing sector, 2022 was anything but typical. Or boring. Or easy. “Labor shortages” and “supply chain issues” became go-to phrases that encapsulated the most significant challenges for industry, continuing well into 2023.

The good news? Supply chain issues are improving monthly, and inflation has dropped by more than 50% from its peak. Additionally, reshoring initiatives are gaining ground around North America as businesses and policy makers at the state and federal levels recognize the importance of having a strong domestic manufacturing sector.

In fact, 62% of manufacturers surveyed in a Deloitte poll in November 2022 had already started reshoring or nearshoring their production capacities.  Read more