A technology partnership between the semiconductor materials arm of German multinational Merck and Palantir Technologies, the data analytics specialist, will tackle chip shortages via a collaboration platform aimed at chipmakers and their suppliers.
Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, and Denver-based Palantir said this week the partnership would leverage data analytics and AI to advance semiconductor manufacturing via a platform dubbed Athinia. The collaboration tool would connect fab operaters with chemical and materials suppliers, allowing them to securely share and analyze fab data to improve efficiencies, thereby addressing current supply chain disruptions.
Along with the joint venture with Palantir, the Merck unit also said it would invest $1 billion in its U.S. operations through 2025 at facilities in Arizona, California, Pennsylvania and Texas. EMD Electronics, Merck KGaA’s North American business unit, will oversee the initiative aimed at the semiconductor and display sectors.
“The chip shortage needs industry-wide cooperation to resolve the supply chain issues consumers are currently facing,” Kai Beckmann, CEO of the German firm’s electronics unit, said in a statement. “We are investing in the U.S. to expand our production capacity….”
Athinia is billed as a secure data analytics platform based on Palantir’s Foundry operating system aimed at large enterprises. The new platform would crunch data on IC manufacturing supplies ranging from gases and deposition materials to lithography and photoresist chemicals. The goal is to help rationalize supply chains as U.S. chipmakers seek to ramp IC production.
Chipmakers are tightfisted when it comes to sensitive data on chip yields, for example. Palantir’s Alec McShane, who will serve as executive vice president of Athinia, said there would be “no IP contamination” on its secure platform.
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