Electronics: Air Liquide continues investing in Asia

September 29, 2015

Since the beginning of 2015, Air Liquide has signed several new long-term contracts with major semiconductor manufacturers in Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. Air Liquide will invest more than 100 million euros to supply ultra-pure carrier gases to customer fabs that manufacture integrated circuits and memory for consumer electronics and mobile devices.

These investments in world class efficiency ultra-high purity onsite nitrogen generation systems represent a total production capacity of more than 100 000 Nm³/h of nitrogen.

Carrier gases such as ultra-pure nitrogen are vital to the leading edge semiconductor industry. These gases are used directly in the chip manufacturing process as well as to maintain an ultra-clean atmosphere to protect manufacturing tools.

Worldwide consumer demand for smartphones and other mobile devices is driving the need for more efficient semiconductor components such as mobile processors, wireless communication chips and memory. This market continues to expand, driven in particular by the rise of the internet of things and big data.

Michael J. Graff, Senior Vice-President for the Americas and member of the Air Liquide Group’s Executive Committee supervising Electronics, commented: These new contracts illustrate our ability to supply electronics customers with products and services that meet the highest standards. They attest to the value and competitiveness of our offer and our position in the fast-growing semiconductor industry. With these new contracts, the Group reinforces its leading position in growing markets, especially in Asia.

Generating € 1,234 million in revenue in 2014, the Electronics business line of Air Liquide is a world reference in molecule design, manufacturing and delivery for the electronics industry. The Electronics business line of Air Liquide is a long-term partner providing innovative solutions to the markets for semiconductors, photovoltaics and flat panel displays. 3,500 specialists worldwide are dedicated to providing the agility and reliability our customers need.

Semiconductor chips are manufactured using thin and spherical high purity silicon wafers as the base substrate. The largest wafers in production are 300 millimeters wide. Billions of tiny digital on/off electrical switches or transistors that constitute each chip are formed on top of the wafer surface. The transistors can be as small as a few tens of nanometers or up to 2,000 times thinner than a strand of hair. With an increasing number of always smaller transistors the chip’s architecture is optimized, its performance enhanced and its cost of production reduced.