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Flanders Semiconductors launched at double tech conference

In the cutting edge industry of microelectronics, nanotech and smart systems, Flanders’ semiconductor ecosystem is both well-established and on the rise. So, it’s no coincidence that Bruges – one of Flanders’ leading cities – was the preferred venue for the first edition of a double conference assembling world players, SMEs, startups and researchers in those and other niche technological domains. One the highlights of the double conference was the launch of a promising industry alliance: Flanders Semiconductors.

Lou Hermans, Managing Director HCM & Cluster Manager Flanders Semiconductors

Connecting conferences, connecting tech

On March 28, 29 and 30, Bruges welcomed over 300 specialized international tech players at the first-ever niche conference combo, connecting the Smart Systems Integration Conference and Exhibition (SSI) and the European Advanced Process Control and Manufacturing Conference (apc|m).

There, experts from research, development and commercial organizations feasted their eyes on the latest insights, applications and trends in microelectronics, nanotech, smart systems, wireless communication technology, sensors, system integrations, advanced manufacturing and a plethora of related niches.

Through presentations, discussion forums and networking opportunities, they shared their experiences with like-minded people while forging close ties to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness and resilience in the semiconductor industry.

Amplifying Europe’s competitiveness

Recent global semiconductor chip shortages have continued to severely affect a multitude of industrial value chains. From ICT, automotive and manufacturing to life sciences & health, food and cleantech, chips are everywhere and their demand will only grow in the future.

To avoid future shortages and bolster Europe’s technological leadership in the global semiconductor market, the European Commission is mobilizing large investments and measures through the European Chips Act.

By actively supporting the double tech conference, FIT sends a clear signal of support to the European Chips Act. Flanders’ solid semiconductor industry is ready to join the chips race.

Jan Wauters
Science & Technology Counselor, Flanders Investment & Trade

New alliance launched: Flanders Semiconductors

It’s no secret that imec, Flanders’ strategic research center for nanotech, is at the heart of the EU’s Chip Act, Europe’s ambitious plans to boost its chip production and innovation.

While imec puts Flanders on the map in the field of new semiconductor technology developments, the region is also home to strong research institutes excelling in micro- and nanotech, supportive cluster organizations and companies specializing in high-tech fields. Fostering innovation through multidisciplinary collaboration, Flanders’ close-knit semiconductor ecosystem is a European hotspot for chip design, image sensor development, power electronics, automotive semiconductors and more.

To give the region’s semiconductor ecosystem a seat at the table of Silicon Europe, Europe’s largest semiconductor alliance, and join Europe’s strategic discussions for the industry, some of Flanders’ leading semiconductor companies have joined forces via Flanders Semiconductors. This overarching organization aims to promote Flanders’ exceptional expertise in the field while responding to the needs of every player and supporting their growth.

Flanders Semiconductors is a non-profit organization that acts as a hub and promoter of Flanders’ semiconductor industry, but it also welcomes members outside the region.

The conferences provided the ideal momentum for Flanders Semiconductors to announce its launch. That’s why FIT arranged interesting speaker sessions to introduce the organization and Flanders’ thriving semiconductor ecosystem.

Jan Wauters
Science & Technology Counselor, Flanders Investment & Trade

Flanders’ semiconductor success story was made possible in part by the impressive work of specialized companies in the region, including:

  • BelGaN, which is building a European GaN Valley in Flanders;
  • Caeleste, which designs custom complementary metal-oxide semiconductor sensors;
  • easics, market leader in ASIC and SoC design and supply services,
  • Pharrowtech, which develops hardware and software for next-generation wireless applications;
  • SOFICS, world leader in on-chip electrostatic discharge (ESD) and electrical overstress (EOS) solutions for IC;
  • Spectricity, a spin-off of imec that develops integrated spectral sensing solutions in the visible and near-infrared spectral range;
  • ICsence, an independent subsidiary of the TDK group and Europe’s largest fab-independent designer and manufacturer of analog, mixed-signal and digital IC,
  • NXP Semiconductors, the former semiconductor division of Philips – now the world leader in secure connectivity solutions;
  • Cochlear, a leader in implantable hearing devices.

International networking and expert talks

Besides the introduction of Flanders Semiconductors, FIT hosted a networking dinner for semiconductor players from Flanders and abroad – mainly from Germany, and worked on strengthening the relationship with Silicon Saxony, one of Europe’s largest microelectronics and IT networks.

While the activities of Silicon Saxony members are mostly focused on the production and application of semiconductors, Flanders excels at advanced design and boasts several niche sectors.

Jessica Manthey
Investment Promotion Manager, Flanders Investment & Trade

Many companies in Saxony and Flanders are likely to complement each other. By boosting collaborations between Silicon Saxony and Flanders Semiconductors, other innovators can benefit from and be encouraged to invest in Flanders’ recognized expertise. To highlight just a few examples:

  • sensors for space applications;
  • custom CMOs;
  • advanced sensor design;
  • automotive semiconductor design;
  • image sensor design.

Furthermore, FIT arranged for some of Flanders’ most inspiring semiconductor specialists to share their knowledge and best practices with the European community during two speaker sessions:

GaN, BelGaN and GaN Valley: a paradigm shift in power semiconductors

CTO and VP of Business Development at BelGaN Marnix Tack explained why gallium nitride trumps silicon for processing energy in chips and how this opens up many interesting industrial applications.

3D System Integration Technology: Enabling Heterogenous System Scaling

Senior fellow, VP R&D and 3D System Integration Program Director at imec Eric Beyne covered how imec helps develop a ‘3D-SoC’ system design methodology through 3D interconnect scaling technology.

More info

Flanders Semiconductors
Reported by
Flanders Investment & Trade interview
28 April 2023

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