With international competition heating up in the global semiconductor market – which represents a broad range of technologies fundamental to almost all industrial applications and plays a pivotal role in digitization, Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things (IoT) – European industry and government leaders in Berlin and Brussels are taking decisive steps to secure, fortify and further develop the sector in the region.
In Germany, microelectronics are transforming the country’s traditional machinery and automobile manufacturing sectors, according to Christoph Kutter, director of the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Microsystems and Solid State Technologies in Munich. German industry is particularly strong in building machines and plants for production and automation. “Autonomous driving will be enabled by micro and nanoelectronics, sensors, data handling, control logic and security,” he points out. Indeed, electronics systems already represent some 90 per cent of automotive innovations.
To ensure that Germany continues to play a leading role, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) last year announced a €1bn investment program aimed at promoting investment in the field from 2017 to 2020. The private sector has agreed to invest more than €3bn. The BMWi will contribute €850m to the project, with additional support from other EU member states.