Positive News for the Phoenix Semiconductor Industry
A semiconductor is a solid chemical compound that conducts electricity under certain circumstances but not others. Per How Stuff Works, “…most semiconductor chips and transistors are created with silicon. You may have heard expressions like “Silicon Valley” and the “silicon economy,” and that’s why — silicon is the heart of any electronic device.” The ability to not be conductive at all times makes semiconductors ideal for electronics (hence “semi”). They are used predominantly in computers, but can be found in everything from sophisticated medical equipment to video game consoles.
The Phoenix semiconductor industry has been aging and stagnant for the last decade-plus. Companies merged or closed, and the overall market outlook was bleak. So why are we discussing them now? Early rumblings indicate that the Phoenix market could see modest growth in the coming year. This comes on the heels of a report from the Greater Phoenix Economic Council. Phoenix based organizations are honing in on this potential growth area, and a number of small firms have already begun to pop up.
After a slow past decade, and particularly rough 2015, could it be too good to be true? New technology poses hope as computerized products become more and more ubiquitous. GPEC and SEMI Americas (“a global industry association serving the manufacturing supply chain for the micro- and nano-electronics”) are directly crediting The Internet of Things for the boost (Phoenix Business Journal). What’s more, ON Semiconductor, a Phoenix based company, was recently voted one of Forbes America’s Best Employers of 2016 in the “Midsize” category. A promising sign in and of itself. Long awaited developments in electrical engineering, including Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography (EUV), could give the industry a large boost as well.
Despite the positive indications, there is still an uphill battle for the Phoenix semiconductor industry. Significant momentum needs to occur in order for the market to climb out of years of slow growth, and frankly, it is an expensive industry to be in. Still, the local economy is projected to see a slow and steady rise (91,000 people moved to Arizona last year), semiconductor corporate consolidation is slowing and there is a growing need for the products as technology demands it. Time will tell what happens when the dust settles, but as for now, there is certainly reason for optimism.