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Evonik starts up high-purity silica production in Michigan

| By Mary Bailey

Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany) has started the production of ultra-high purity colloidal silica for the semiconductor industry at its new facility in Weston, Michigan. Colloidal silica is a critical raw material for the electronics and semiconductor industries, whose growth is driven by a surging global demand for complex and increasingly smaller microchips and digital products. The plant is the first of its kind in North America.

“The new facility is a strategic portfolio addition and testament to Evonik’s commitment to innovation and supply security for our customers in the semiconductor market,” said Lauren Kjeldsen, Head of Evonik’s Smart Materials Division. “We are proud to inaugurate this new addition to our Weston facility.”

Recent semiconductor industry investments in the U.S., facilitated by government incentives under the CHIPS Act of 2022, have amounted to nearly $450 billion across 25 states, according to the Semiconductor Industry Association. The incentives aim to stabilize the semiconductor supply chain in America. The industry’s manufacturing capacity in the U.S. is expected to triple by 2032.

The new Colloidal Silica plant is located at Evonik’s site in Weston, which is already experienced in producing ultra-pure materials for the semiconductor industry. The new plant will be integrated into existing processes at the site. It will make Evonik one of the only market participants that can reliably produce the colloidal silica required for chemical mechanical planarization (CMP) in the necessary quality and purity. CMP, the microscopically precise polishing of semiconductors, is a crucial step in microchip production. Evonik’s colloidal silica, which is marketed under the IDISIL® brand, is characterized by its ultra-high purity and particularly narrow particle size distribution.

“We are proud that Evonik choose Make It in Michigan as we continue to build on our growing semiconductor ecosystem, especially its supply chain,” said Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. “On behalf of the MEDC and Team Michigan, I congratulate Evonik on its ribbon cutting and thank them for their vote of confidence in our state that helps us to win more projects that attract people and revitalize places.”

In addition to the ultra-pure colloidal silica plant, Evonik has recently opened the Global Semiconductor Center of Excellence in Allentown, Pennsylvania. The Center now enables Evonik to focus on critical chemicals for microchip production. The Center’s team will engage in customer-driven projects and offer technical support for IDISIL customers.

“The Semiconductor Center of Excellence is an investment in the anticipated growth of the semiconductor chemicals market over the coming years,” said Christian Edlinger, Head of the Americas region in Evonik’s Silanes business line. “Our team’s vast experience and capabilities will enable us to successfully develop and market new, innovative chemicals that will help our customers stay ahead of the curve.”

The Center is part of Evonik’s Innovation Hub in Allentown, which consists of several state-of-the-art testing and processing labs as well as a pilot plant.