Schwarzheide | 22.04.2024 | News

Importance of the Semiconductor Industry for Germany

Discover how precision logistics shapes the semiconductor industry: specialized storage, JIT delivery, and secure processes.

The Strategic Importance of the Semiconductor Industry for Germany: Implications for the Logistics Sector

from Elke Helck

The global semiconductor industry, which reached a market volume of over $600 billion in 2021, is the backbone of the modern technology economy. Germany, with its strong industrial base and leading role in research and development, has significantly contributed to the global semiconductor landscape. The focus is on the regions of Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, which have already played an important role in European semiconductor production in the past. With state-sponsored immigration, their role is set to significantly increase in the near future. These developments influence technology policy and set new standards for the logistics sector, which faces increasingly complex requirements.


Significance of Semiconductors for Germany's Industrial Strategy

Semiconductors are crucial for digitalization and electrification, the core components of Germany's industrial strategy. They form the technological foundation for innovations in key areas such as autonomous driving, renewable energies, smart grids, and advanced medical technologies. Chancellor Olaf Scholz has emphasized the importance of this technology by describing semiconductors as the "oil of the 21st century." This highlights the strategic need to increase production capacities within Germany to become less dependent on global supply chains.

According to a government report, Germany aims to boost its semiconductor production with the goal of achieving at least twenty percent of the global semiconductor production in Europe by 2030. This is part of the larger "European Chips Act," which aims to mobilize a total of 43 billion euros in public and private investments. In 2021, companies in Germany invested over five billion euros to expand semiconductor production capacities and strengthen technological leadership.

The strategic promotion of this technology is also reflected in targeted support for research and development. The German government has launched initiatives focused on fostering innovations in semiconductor manufacturing, including partnerships between universities, research institutes, and industry. These measures aim to position Germany at the forefront of semiconductor technology, essential for maintaining the competitiveness of German industry in an increasingly digitalized global economy.


The Role of Saxony in Semiconductor Production

Saxony has established itself as one of the leading regions for semiconductor production in Europe. With advanced facilities operated by global leaders such as Globalfoundries, Bosch, and Infineon, Saxony plays a central role in the global semiconductor industry. For instance, Bosch has invested about one billion euros in its new semiconductor factory in Dresden, opened in 2021. This facility specializes in the production of cutting-edge silicon carbide and gallium nitride semiconductors, primarily used in electromobility and renewable energies. Infineon has invested over 1.6 billion euros in expanding its Dresden facility, one of the most modern and efficient power semiconductor manufacturing sites in Europe. Globalfoundries has also invested around one billion euros to expand its factory in Dresden, increasing its production capacities.

The Saxony state government supports this development, not only through direct subsidies but also by creating a technology-friendly investment environment. This policy has made Saxony one of the most attractive locations for high-tech industries in Europe. Additionally, the State of Saxony promotes collaboration between industry and research institutions to further accelerate technological development and drive innovation in the semiconductor industry. This concentrated clustering of semiconductor factories and the associated infrastructure have made Saxony a magnet for skilled workers and technology companies. This strengthens the local economy and solidifies Germany's position as a leading location in semiconductor manufacturing, significantly contributing to making Europe more competitive in the global semiconductor industry and reducing dependence on Asian markets.


Logistical Challenges and Innovations

The logistics for the semiconductor industry require extraordinary precision and advanced technologies, not least because of the sensitive nature of the raw materials and end products involved. The transport and storage of raw materials such as silicon, gallium, and germanium, critical for semiconductor manufacturing, must occur under strictly controlled conditions. Special cleanroom environments and packaging techniques are essential for these sensitive materials.

Moreover, the raw materials for semiconductor production are often scarce and geographically concentrated, necessitating reliable and secure logistics. Competent logistics providers must be able to meet extremely short delivery windows to comply with the just-in-time requirements of semiconductor production. The use of advanced tracking and monitoring systems ensures that raw materials reach their destinations intact and on schedule.

A crucial factor for success in semiconductor logistics is the seamless integration of the logistics provider into the processes of the semiconductor manufacturer. This integration allows for efficient synchronization of supply chain activities with the manufacturer's production planning and execution, essential to minimize production interruptions and optimize throughput times. Thorough understanding and close coordination with the manufacturer's production processes are necessary to ensure smooth logistics that meet the specific requirements of semiconductor production.

Another important aspect is the provision of state-of-the-art facilities for the handling and storage of dangerous goods. These specialized facilities are essential to meet the high safety and efficiency standards required by the semiconductor industry. Overall, logistics in the semiconductor industry requires a combination of specialized handling, advanced technologies, and in-depth knowledge of the global markets for raw materials.


Sustainability in the Semiconductor Industry

The semiconductor industry, a key sector for modern technologies, is increasingly in the focus of sustainability efforts. Especially the production, marked by high energy consumption and intensive use of chemicals, urgently requires more environmentally friendly approaches. According to the Fraunhofer Future Factory, a central challenge is the effective environmental assessment to measure and manage the environmental impacts of the entire lifecycle of semiconductor products.

The industry is increasingly relying on renewable energies and integrating advanced recycling methods to reduce the carbon footprint. The use of green chemistry and the optimization of water management are further important steps that reduce environmental impact and increase production efficiency. Innovative solutions such as lifecycle analysis (LCA) help to make the impacts of semiconductor products transparent and to implement sustainability strategies effectively. Thus, the industry can not only meet regulatory requirements but also remain competitive in the long term and secure societal acceptance.


TALKE: A Strategic Logistics Partner in the Heart of Germany's Semiconductor Industry

With a crucial location in Schwarzheide, strategically close to Saxony's leading semiconductor factories, TALKE is excellently positioned to meet the demanding requirements of the semiconductor industry. The company has established itself as an indispensable partner for this high-tech sector through its specialized expertise in handling specialty chemicals and hazardous materials.

TALKE offers tailor-made logistic solutions, precisely tailored to the needs of semiconductor manufacturing. These include the safe transport and proper storage of sensitive materials critical for semiconductor production. The ability to seamlessly integrate into the processes of technology manufacturers via IT interfaces supports the efficiency of production processes. Moreover, TALKE actively commits to sustainable logistics practices to minimize the environmental impacts of its activities. The company, for example, is examining the use of vehicles with alternative drives to reduce emissions in transport. In addition, processes for optimizing energy efficiency in storage and handling facilities are continuously implemented. The service portfolio is rounded off by a safety program for people and the environment and a professional and systemic risk management.

For semiconductor manufacturers looking for a reliable logistics provider that offers safety, innovation, and sustainability, TALKE is an attractive choice. Close cooperation with TALKE allows these companies to focus on their core competencies while efficiently and safely expanding their production capacities.


Summary and Outlook: The Future of the Semiconductor Industry in Germany

Undoubtedly, the semiconductor industry is a pivotal pillar of digitalization and electrification, thus crucial for the future viability of the German economy. With Saxony as one of the dynamic centers of European semiconductor production and the targeted expansion of production capacities, Germany demonstrates its determination to take a leading role in global semiconductor technology. This development requires not only technological innovations but also sustainable and efficient logistics solutions that can meet the special requirements of the semiconductor industry.

TALKE, with its expertise and proximity to key production sites, offers ideal conditions to act as a partner of the semiconductor industry. This integrative approach will enable Germany to realize its industrial and technological ambitions and simultaneously pave a sustainable path into the future.

About the Author

Elke Helck assumed the position of Regional Manager for Northern and Eastern Germany at TALKE in January 2022. Her extensive management experience in the chemical industry makes her ideally suited to lead the sites in Stade, Bomlitz, Schwarzheide, and Wilton (UK). Elke Helck is in constant exchange with the leading players in the semiconductor industry, understands their challenges, and, together with her team, develops targeted solutions to effectively address these issues. Her practical approach to optimizing logistics processes has solidly established her positions within TALKE's leadership team.