DETROIT (AP) — SK Siltron CSS, a semiconductor wafer manufacturer, announced on Wednesday, July 14, plans to invest $300 million and create up to 150 high-paying, skilled jobs in Bay County, Mich., over the next three years to provide manufacturing and R&D capabilities of advanced materials for electric vehicles. The expansion will more than double the company's Michigan employee base and add a new site in Bay City, Mich., to join its existing site in nearby Auburn, Mich.
A scientist at SK Siltron CSS holds a silicon carbide wafer produced at the company's Michigan facility. The company plans to expand its Michigan operations to increase production of these wafers, which can be used in power system components for electric vehicles.
SK Siltron CSS manufactures a specialty wafer made of silicon carbide (SiC) that can be used in the semiconductor power components of electric vehicles. SiC wafers are more efficient at handling high powers and conducting heat than normal silicon. When used in EV system components, this characteristic can allow a more efficient transfer of electricity from the battery to the motor, increasing the driving range of an EV by 5% to 10%.
"The rise in popularity of electric vehicles has the auto industry searching for new innovative technologies to meet customer demand," said Jianwei Dong, Chief Executive Officer at SK Siltron CSS. "Our Michigan expansion will allow us to manufacture advanced materials that can enhance the performance of an EV and support the growth of a more sustainable automotive future."
The SK Siltron CSS expansion, pending state and local approvals, is part of a new domestic supply chain forming to provide the components required to support new environmentally-friendly vehicles.
"As we build toward a more sustainable future, it is important that we create new, robust supply chains in the U.S. to support our corporations and the end consumer. The automotive industry has a tremendous opportunity with the rise of the electric vehicle, and we're excited to see companies like SK Siltron CSS expanding to help support the transition to a green future," said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo.
The company will work closely with state and local partners to recruit and train potential employees. Of the new employees, 70 percent will be skilled workers while 30 percent will be professional engineers.
SK Siltron, a global maker of semiconductor wafers based in South Korea, acquired the Michigan silicon carbide wafer business in 2019 and established SK Siltron CSS as a U.S. subsidiary. Since then, SK Siltron CSS has doubled its employee base in Michigan, currently employing approximately 130 skilled workers and professional engineers.
SK Siltron CSS's silicon carbide wafer technology has benefited from its close collaboration and direct access to SK Siltron's high-volume manufacturing (HVM) expertise in scaling up the production of semiconductor wafers. These silicon carbide wafers can be used in EV system components, including power converters, chargers, and inverters. In addition to helping increase driving ranges for EVs, the electrical and thermal properties of silicon carbide can help reduce charging times, relax system cooling requirements and shrink the power module size and weight.
SK Siltron is part of SK Group, one of South Korea's leading conglomerates. SK Group companies have been expanding their presence in the U.S. with multi-billion dollar investments in their own businesses and partnerships in renewable energy and sustainable technologies.
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