LONDON European engineering in general is threatened if the production of semiconductors moves away, according to German Engineering Federation, VDMA. The European Union needs to act to support manufacturing in Europe, which in turn can help keep chipmaking here in support of high-value engineering.
The German Engineering Federation (VDMA) represents more than 3,000 companies in the engineering industry, many of which are small and medium sized enterprises. Companies within the VDMA have about 975,000 employees in Germany and a sales turnover in 2008 of 205 billion euros (about $285 billion).
The VDMA's argument is that technological innovations in the machinery industry, and thus the competitiveness of the engineering sector as a whole, depend on the application of intelligent electronics, which in turn depends on integrated circuits.
In particular access to customer-specific microchips could be threatened if European manufacture of chips were to end, the VDMA said. The organization called for the European Union to stand up for fair market conditions in global competition, and that it works for an industry-friendly environment supporting manufacturing in Europe.. This would also create the necessary conditions for the continuation of semiconductor production in Europe.
"We fear that the respective research activities in Europe too will completely disappear after the production of semiconductors has been relocated. This might strongly affect the competitiveness of our companies," said Thilo Brodtmann, vice executive director of the German Engineering Federation, VDMA, in a statement. Moreover, investments already spent on research and development, as well as the education and training of skilled personnel would be threatened by continuing relocation. "Up to now this latent danger has not yet been perceived as such by most of our industry players, but in the long run it could become an Achilles' heel. This must be avoided," Brodtmann added.
Logic, sensors, actuators, RFID-chips, embedded systems are all required as customer-specific semiconductor components in the machinery industry is increasing constantly. However ,the machinery and industrial sectors require small lot sizes that consumer-oriented suppliers overseas are not prepared to support. The European semiconductor industry is able to produce small lot sizes, and reliably guarantees capacities as well as the protection of intellectual property rights.
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