Lack of chips – and no end in sight: The small, technical components are still in short supply, and experts do not expect the situation to ease anytime soon. There are multiple reasons for this.
Actually, the world couldn’t be more beautiful for corporations like Infineon. The semiconductor manufacturer is facing tremendous demand. The chip boom is unbroken, according to the DAX group near Munich. You can’t deliver the way you want on your own. Infineon is also struggling with a phenomenon that the entire industry around the world is currently feeling painful: delivery problems. “Of course, the fundamental burden on the Infineon business is the lockdown in Malaysia,” explains Daniel Kröger from the Ehrke und Lübberstedt fund company. “Of course, it clouds the whole thing a bit that supply chains are also disrupted.” At the moment it also depends on where and what you are producing.
Is an EU-owned production the solution?
No matter what industry you look into: The shortage of chips is omnipresent. The EU sees itself in a fatal dependency on Asia and the USA and wants to change that – as quickly as possible, for example with its own factory. One is in talks with various corporations, it is said from Brussels. The expert Kröger finds it understandable that this idea does not solve the current problems: “We will not see a plant that will be 100 percent full from next year, but that has to be gradually ramped up”, he predicts and explains the pitfalls. that there are in the production. “Such a chip is produced for over a week, and of course there must not be another mistake in the last minute, otherwise you can simply throw away a very expensive chip.”
Diverse needs, complex design
Game consoles, cars, computers, cell phones, construction machinery or production systems – you can no longer do without them. The need is huge, but so are the current problems. The requirements are as diverse as the semiconductors themselves. A chip for the electric car “Made in Germany” simply does not fit an industrial robot. Production is one thing, design for the respective application is another. And here, says Jan-Peter Kleinhans from the “Stiftung Neue Zusammenarbeit”, Europe simply slept through developments: “Depending on the product division, you usually have one to four companies that share 80 to 90 per cent of the world market. And these companies are not in Europe.”Design is the more difficult part of the chip production chain. But even when it comes to production, they are lagging behind, says Kleinhans. You don’t just build chips like that, not even in a new factory. The expert sees the level of development in Europe around ten to 15 years behind Taiwan and South Korea: “These are the two production sites with the most modern manufacturing facilities at the moment To re-establish manufacturing in Europe. ”
There will be no quick solution with in-house production, says Kleinhans. It depends on a long-term strategy. After all, Europe does not want to become the workbench of the world, but rather to be at the forefront of development. There is still some catching up to do. For companies like Infineon, this means that there will probably be no need to worry about demand in the near future. According to estimates, it could still be: Chips – desperately wanted in 2023.