Decreasing semiconductor manufacturing a European competitive concern

Technological innovations in the machinery industry, and thus the competitiveness of the engineering sector as a whole, increasingly depend on the application of intelligent electronics, says VDMA, the German Engineering Federation. Access to customer-specific microchips could be threatened with a vanishing European semiconductor industry, according to the organization.
By Control Engineering Staff July 1, 2009

Technological innovations in the machinery industry, and thus the competitiveness of the engineering sector as a whole, increasingly depend on the application of intelligent electronics, says VDMA, the German Engineering Federation. Access to customer-specific microchips could be threatened with a vanishing European semiconductor industry, according to the organization.

“Up to now this latent danger has not yet been perceived as such by most of our industry players, but in the long run it could become an Achilles’ heel. This must be avoided,” says Thilo Brodtmann, vice executive director of the German Engineering Federation, VDMA.

VDMA says that, from intelligent hydraulic components to machine controls and up to entire production flows in factory logistics, electronics and data processing have long become basic components for innovations in the machinery industry.

Logic, sensors, actuators, RFID-chips, and embedded systems all increase the demand for customer-specific semiconductor components in the machinery industry. The European semiconductor industry is able to produce small lot sizes, and reliably guarantees capacities as well as the protection of intellectual property rights.

This is why, says the VDMA, the machinery industry is concerned about the increasing trend to transfer semiconductor production to non-European countries. The close co-operation between the semiconductor industry and the European investment goods industry, which is vital for innovation processes on both sides, would be severely threatened by such an extensive relocation of production.

Therefore, it is important that the EU advocates fair conditions in global competition, and that it works for an industry friendly environment which makes the production of high-tech in Europe more favorable, VDMA says. This also would create the necessary conditions for the continuation of semiconductor production in Europe.

www.vdma.org