Over the last 14 years, from the era of MAIT with its path-breaking report recommending a semiconductor vision for India to my years at MAIT, I have lived a dream – of India having its own electronics manufacturing industry and its own semiconductor manufacturing industry. It is a dream which I have shared with a number of industry leaders and thought leaders in the government – encountered many naysayers and few who believed in India’s capacity to have its own electronics manufacturing.
Today, as PM Modi ji’s path-breaking visit to USA starts a new chapter in US-India relationship, we see a number of big-ticket semiconductor projects getting announced. I will analyze these projects in the posts that follow – and bring out a number of other projects/ factors are shaping the landscape in a decisive way in this post.
- India’s Electronics Manufacturing is now a reality. With over 1800 SMT lines operational in India, India electronics exports have crossed $25bln last year, a growth of 49% YoY and are surpassing the traditional commodity exports.
- With the end-product electronics system integration in India, indigenization of upstream supply-chain/ components is the next logical step. It is captured decisively by MEITY’s SPECS program which is shifting the base for this milestone.
- Geopolitics apart, India’s strength as a competitive and talented workforce pool is building traction even as we improve our Ease-of-Business processes ( and global ranking – big thanks to Govt leadership).
- Initial successes are a reality:
- SCL is a success. Semiconductor Labs Chandigarh has done over 150 chip tapeouts and operates like a mini-IDM as it designs, fabricates the processed wafer (dies) and then converts the dies to devices in its inhouse packaging unit. It has shown that India can do the semiconductor manufacturing ( a naysayer myth as India is doing advanced technologies like space and nuclear already).
- Sahasra Semiconductors has started commercial production at the first Indian Semiconductor Packaging project in Bhiwadi.
Compound Semiconductor Manufacturing
- Visicon/ Silicon Power-USA has a project for SiC wafers in Gujarat. The phase 1 will do epi-coating – factory is ready ,tool move-in completed and the FAT (Factory acceptance test) should be completed in another 4 months before the start of commercial production. Epi-coating of SiC wafer is a complex process that requires handling of capricious process conditions to prepare wafers which do not have pin-holes and warping. Phase 2 will be device making and Phase 3 will be semiconductor packaging. Fact is SiC wafers are a product in short supply and will sell itself in the global markets.
- Apart from this GEECI at IISc Bangalore and SCL Chandigarh have a GaN /GaAs project that will shape out later this year.
Semiconductor R&D Engineering
- Companies like Applied Materials are leading the way with breakthrough $240 mln announcement of their India facilities in ’22. Over 1500 people are already hired, phase 1 executed and exciting phase 2 creation is in progress.
- While the semiconductor supply-chain is very demanding and takes time to qualify, it is heartening to note of Indian suppliers graduating as suppliers of inputs to companies like Applied Materials.
- While leading supply-chain companies are already present in India, the enablement of India fab is expected to trigger a whole host of collaborations and industry options.
Happy to share that leading associations like IESA and ELCINA are doing their bit to enable the ecosystem. Particularly excited about ELCINA -SEMI relationship which is bring a global network to India for enabling the manufacturing ecosystem.
It has been a long night but now the dawn of the Indian semiconductor sector is going to happen!