Extremadura will not have “the first” semiconductor factory

The first semiconductor factory in Spain

In any case, the idea is not new. Although AT&T’s Tres Cantos plant closed in 2001, newspaper reports such as The country oh The world from this moment, collect the details of the production of the first semiconductor factory in Spain.

The multinational opened its Tres Cantos production complex in 1987, according to The country, three years later that the Spanish National Telephone Company (CTNE) and the American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T) have reached an agreement to manufacture “integrated circuits (chips) of 1.75 microns”. In other words, the factory had equipment to carry out the complete cycle, including the processing of silicon, which is the semiconductor material that is in the chips and which serves as a “base”, explains Gabarrón.

“It is the first chip factory in Spain and Europe”, can be read in the newspaper library. In 10 years, the Tres Cantos factory went from 300 workers to more than 1,700, and in 1997 the multinational Lucent Technologies a d a new investment.

Therefore, Spain had a semiconductor factory 35 years before Fernández Vara said that Extremadura will have the first.

There is another precedent: the Piher factory in Badalona. The company was engaged in the manufacture of electronic components, in particular transistors, as indicated in the Diari Ara. Herrera explains that the process for these is similar to that of semiconductors, and “a foundry who can make transistors can also make microchips.

A clarification: semiconductors and microchips are not exactly the same

Microchips and semiconductors are used synonymously, but have technical differences. Semiconductors are materials in which the current flow through them can be controlled by applying a current or voltage between the electrodes. Transistors are the ultimate end of this connection and are the basis of microchips. In other words, the semiconductor is the basis with which chips and microchips are made, experts explain.

Returning to the diamond factory in Trujillo, Herrera draws a parallel: “To be precise, silicon is a semiconductor material on which transistors and, with them, chips are made. I don’t know if you can say that a silicon wafer factory is a semiconductor factory. I would say it’s a semiconductor materials factory. The same goes for a man-made diamond factory: is not a semiconductor or semiconductor device factory, but a semiconductor material factory. Going back to comparisons, is a rubber factory a tire factory? Rubber is used to make tires, but it’s not the same thing.”

About 500 companies in the semiconductor ecosystem: the current market in Spain

Although experts agree that Spain cannot mass-produce semiconductors yet, there are around 500 companies in the ecosystem dedicated to the different phases of these devices, according to Aesemi’s calculations. “We are leaders and we are at the cutting edge of chip design, but we still don’t have mass production capabilities, so we are dependent on Asian countries,” says Gabarrón.

Daniel Moreno, director of Aesemi, points out that, in any case, the design is the most important part. “The most important thing is that it is designed in Spain, patented worldwide here, to generate the intellectual property with which it will be released on the market. In this production ecosystem, the production part or that merges into the semi -driver, we don’t have it.Therefore, given the scarcity and dependence concentrated in Southeast Asia, the government decided to establish a foundry [foundry] in Spain,” he explains.

For this, the new project strategy for the recovery and transformation (LOSS) of semiconductors He understands an investment of 12.250 million euros of European funds, as indicated in the Government recovery plan.

Spain has also focused on the R&D phase, experts point out. Among others, the center National Institute of Microelectronics, which is part of the Higher Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), with facilities in Seville, Madrid and Barcelona. In the latter, the proposal was discussed fabulous catto house the headquarters of one of the semiconductor factories to be built in the European Union.

On the other hand, several multinationals are present in Spain. The Polytechnic University of Valencia highlights, for example, the presence of seven multinational companies specializing in the design of microchips, including MaxLinear and Analog Devices, among others.

From Newtral.es we have consulted the press team of the Presidency of Extremadura about the statements of Fernández Vara, but we have not received a response.

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