12th Silicon Saxony Day: Saxony’s microelectronics and ICT sector on its upswing
The outstanding news for the Dresden semiconductor site that BOSCH is planning to build a new chip factory and investing more than a billion euros here is clear: Saxon entrepreneurs and researchers have every reason to look optimistically into the future. "After almost twenty years, the first complete new chip factory in Europe will be built in Saxony, a very good news and reflects the positive development of the location over the past few years," said Heinz Martin Esser, CEO of Silicon Saxony. Saxony has a unique concentration of know-how for high-tech technologies such as microelectronics and smart systems. Saxon players can therefore make an important contribution to trend themes such as Connected Wearables, Autonomous Driving and Drone technology - from excellent research to industrial production. In the context of digital transformation, the demand for microelectronics will in particular increase as it is the basis for networked products. The 12th Silicon Saxony Day examines these high-tech trends in congress contributions and also addresses the fundamental changes that they make for industrial and business models.
Saxony’s microelectronics and ICT sectors, the leading as well as probably the largest one in Europe, is on its upswing. Thus, the summary of the 12th Silicon Saxony Day, which was held in English for the very first time, could not be formulated in any different way. On 19 and 20 June, more than 400 decision makers, skilled workers and industry insiders from economy, industry, science, research and politics networked at the DGUV Congress in Dresden. A number of keynotes by renowned speakers and enterprises such as IBM as well as Kuka and Yole took a closer look at the "Hot Topics" of the microelectronics and ICT sector. Six expert sessions informed about a range of topics such as Connected Wearables, Smart Health and the Internet of Things up to the current Automotive Megatrends as well as Drones Technology. For the primary time, the upcoming Saxony Smart System Hubs in Dresden and Leipzig were put into focus here. Within the scope of a science pitch, the intriguing Saxon science and research landscape represented a core issue. Moreover, an exhibition showed the latest innovations “Made in Saxony”. Also, B2B meetings and a speed dating with gifted students and graduates from numerous German universities linked theory and practice. Something that had become more than apparent was: Saxony does have the power and know-how to trigger action, design and excite the world of tomorrow.
Digitalization challenges key technologies to react
GLOBALFOUNDRIES Dresden, Infineon Technologies, X-FAB – within the previous two decades, multiple semiconductor manufacturers have heavily invested in Saxony. This development was enabled by the PC, cell phone as well as by the general electronics boom. Infineon alone has communicated a total investment exceeding three billion euros just in Dresden for that period. Nevertheless, the upswing after the reunification up to the late 90ies was followed by a much quieter phase. It was AMD to set up the last semiconductor plant in 1999. Thus, it meant breathtaking news to Saxony when, at the beginning of this year, GLOBALFOUNDRIES as a first industry giant signaled to invest a total of 1.5 billion euros on site. The next sensation was about to follow quickly. By 2019, Robert Bosch GmbH will have set up the first new semiconductor plant in Europe since 1999 where else but in Dresden. Costs for the new construction will amount to a billion euros. About 700 work places will be created, another 600 could follow for suppliers in the surrounding of the fab.According to an enthusiastic Heinz Martin Esser, chairman of the trade association Silicon Saxony e. V.: “After 20 years now, there will be a first completely new construction in Europe and Saxony was chosen to be that very location. This means perfect news and reflects the positive development of the location within the recent years.” The digitalization of nearly any areas of life from education to production, retail trade and logistics up to mobility and communication challenges the key technologies such as microelectronics to react. And they do, they heavily invest in new plants, novel manufacturing technologies as well as innovative products. Clearly, this very upswing was also noticeable at the 12th Silicon Saxony Day in Dresden. A large pool of ideas was searching to find matching technologies and appropriate solutions. Just out products searched information about business models in tune with the time.
Major interest in Industry 4.0 – Man meets machine
At the very beginning of the 12th Silicon Saxony Day already, the huge interest in the transfer of conventional production models into state-of-the-art manufacturing solutions of the 4th generation (Industry 4.0) became obvious, e.g. with the field trip to the “Industrial Internet of Things Test Bed” at the University of Applied Sciences (HTW) as an Industry 4.0 model factory. For that event, the participant limit had been reached well in advance. Within the scope of the keynote session on the first day, the presentation of machine and robot manufacturer Kuka on the man machine interface in the environment of Industry 4.0 was an undisputed highlight. Even in the expert sessions on the second day, the present industrial hot topic played a decisive role in any fields and was emphasized according to the respective topics.
Korea, France, Belgium, Russia, Austria, the Czech Republic – the 12th Silicon Saxony Day attracted many international experts to visit Saxony’s capital thanks to the primary time it took place in English exclusively. The expert sessions on the second day in particular enjoyed active participation. However, choosing where to go to was tough due to the wide range of burning hot topics. Partly overlapping, eight sessions were held in four seminar rooms. The spectrum of the issue presented during brief expert presentations was enormous. Software, hardware, research, modern production, ingenious business models and many more topics followed at one go. Experts of small startups as well as distinguished research institutes up to global players introduced incredible technologies and solutions. One of the most acclaimed highlights was presented by Andreas Schanzenbach, Chief Innovation Officer of a creative agency. His breathtaking frontal attack on the topic “Future Mobility” left behind astonished faces. He presented ideas and concepts of the automotive industry in a rapid-fire mode.
Cooperation, internationalization and most promising prospects for the site Silicon Saxony
Networking, expanding international cooperation and an expert exchange represented the central goals of the 12th Silicon Saxony Day. As Gitta Haupold, CEO of Silicon Saxony e. V explains: “We may proudly claim that we have succeeded. The two event days made us experience how thrilling, innovative and varied Saxony has become meanwhile. It was not only the experts of our member companies that portrayed a positive image for the years and decades to come. It was researchers and scientists as well that have impressed me with their projects and visions. I would call the science pitch one of my highlights, within the frame of which scientists from various subject fields presented their most recent research projects within the scope of a three minutes presentation. Moreover, what makes me feel confident too was the record number of students and graduates from German universities that applied for jobs in Saxony at the speed dating. The location Silicon Saxony is on an excellent course. We may certainly look forward to the years to come as well as to the 13th Silicon Saxony Day of course.“
Short Overview of newly built Semiconductor Fabs in Europe:
1993 STM Crolles (France)
1994 Intel Fab 10, Leixlip (Ireland)
1994 Infineon, Dresden (Germany)
1995 Bosch Reutlingen (Germany)
1999 AMD Fab30, Dresden (Germany)
Picture: Sven Claus / Silicon Saxony