Rohm to build new semiconductor factory in Japan
The Japanese semiconductor conductor manufacturer Rohm Semiconductor wants to start up its largest production facility to date at the end of 2024. For this purpose, Rohm is acquiring an existing plant of the solar technology company Solar Frontier in Kunitomi, Japan.
The purchase is expected to be completed in October 2023. With the new plant, Rohm will further expand its production capacities for silicon carbide power components. Rohm is banking on the continuing expansion of the e-mobility market, for which the supply chain bottleneck had been a major issue, particularly when the pandemic began. “In particular, the automotive and industrial equipment markets are undergoing technological innovation such as electrification in order to reduce environmental impact and achieve carbon neutrality. With this, the demand is increasing – especially for power and analog semiconductors,” Rohm wrote in its press release.
Furthermore, Rohm expects continued expansion of the factory to be necessary and is already planning for it: “[…] the ROHM Group intends to expand its production capacity continuously, particularly for silicon carbide (SiC) power devices, and ensure a stable supply to ROHM’s customers.”
With its special conductive properties, silicon carbide enables the production of chips for power electronics that switch quickly and with low losses. At the same time, SiC chips are more thermally resistant, so the power density of electronics can be increased. Thanks to these features, SiC electronics have reduced conversion losses compared to conventional silicon (Si). In other words, more of the energy stored in the electric car battery reaches the drive – which increases the range or, conversely, enables smaller, lighter and cheaper batteries with the same range.
Drive supplier Vitesco Technologies recently ordered billions of dollars worth of SiC semiconductors from Rohm for use in electric vehicles. Rohm also counts Lucid Motors among its clients, as the two signed a supply agreement for silicon carbide semiconductors last year.