Keeping important technologies under British (and Western in general) control

I sure that he will not mind - @Grim_Squeaker85 has had some interesting things to say on the 'What will be different following the coronavirus'? thread:

We've actually had to revisit a lot of our supplier arrangements with a view to capturing any new risk. The key ones being smaller (yet critical) ones going bust entirely or, equally damaging, major suppliers going into financial difficulty and being bought up by the Chinese.

Maybe he can say I am right in thinking their is a danger of a foreign owner closing them down, particularly at time of tension?

Also @Simmerit understands a thing or two about supply chains and alternative arrangements.
The biggest economic problem caused by shortages of materials right now is the shortage of chips to go into cars. Much of the auto industry is shut down right now because they can't get chips to build cars and their workers are out of a job.

And none of this is due to China. All of the supplies are from Western countries or allies such as Taiwan and South Korea. It's just that these countries and their companies have decided to prioritise other things for now, so the auto industry is basically stuffed. The American auto industry are busy lobbying Washington to get them to strong-arm Taiwan into diverting production for the US auto industry.

It doesn't look like the answer to your problems is something as simple as "avoid China".

Oh, and while we're talking about "fragile supply chains", a significant chunk of the oil refining capacity in the US is shut down right now because their third world infrastructure can't handle a cold snap. Refined fuels shortages and price spikes are expected to take a bite out of the economic recovery that was supposed to be taking place now that COVID-19 is getting under control.

So is the answer "avoid the US and Taiwan"?
 
The biggest economic problem caused by shortages of materials right now is the shortage of chips to go into cars. Much of the auto industry is shut down right now because they can't get chips to build cars and their workers are out of a job.

And none of this is due to China. All of the supplies are from Western countries or allies such as Taiwan and South Korea. It's just that these countries and their companies have decided to prioritise other things for now, so the auto industry is basically stuffed. The American auto industry are busy lobbying Washington to get them to strong-arm Taiwan into diverting production for the US auto industry.

It doesn't look like the answer to your problems is something as simple as "avoid China".

Oh, and while we're talking about "fragile supply chains", a significant chunk of the oil refining capacity in the US is shut down right now because their third world infrastructure can't handle a cold snap. Refined fuels shortages and price spikes are expected to take a bite out of the economic recovery that was supposed to be taking place now that COVID-19 is getting under control.

So is the answer "avoid the US and Taiwan"?
Build a wall! :p
 

endure

GCM

I remember the above rumbling around briefly. Sure, it's not really the ideal situation but it kind of helps pose the question of how far would we be willing to go to protect something 'critical' to our needs. I have also heard rumours of something similar (sort of) relating to a certain steel manufacturer too.
""As to nationalization, all I can do is to repeat that such notions are as ridiculous as they are unnecessary and hugely damaging," said Wheeldon."

They did it in 1971 for a commercial jet engine.
 

Yokel

LE
I am not sure there is any single answer. Perhaps the adage 'Keep It Simple Stupid' would be a useful one to remember. Does a car really need a hundred microprocessors?

But more generally a reappraisal of industrial capabilities and potential weak points should be on the cards for companies and Government departments. Likewise cyber security and such things should be examined.
 
I am not sure there is any single answer. Perhaps the adage 'Keep It Simple Stupid' would be a useful one to remember. Does a car really need a hundred microprocessors?
Wrong question.
if the ”hundred microprocessors“ provide a competitive advantage, what are you going to do? Have a Government-approved “peoples car of national resilience” without them, and block all other cars from entering the market?
I don’t think the people of these isles are ready for Stalinism in the name of national resilience.
 

endure

GCM
I am not sure there is any single answer. Perhaps the adage 'Keep It Simple Stupid' would be a useful one to remember. Does a car really need a hundred microprocessors?
If it wants to meet modern pollution requirements and reliability it does. 'Microprocessor' is a bit of a grand word for what are microcontroller that only perform one or two functions each.
 
Wrong question.
if the ”hundred microprocessors“ provide a competitive advantage, what are you going to do? Have a Government-approved “peoples car of national resilience” without them, and block all other cars from entering the market?
I don’t think the people of these isles are ready for Stalinism in the name of national resilience.
Knowing our luck it'd resemble the FIAT Multipla only uglier.
 
I am not sure there is any single answer. Perhaps the adage 'Keep It Simple Stupid' would be a useful one to remember. Does a car really need a hundred microprocessors?
That last sentence is absolute gold. Trouble is things like adjusting colour settings for interior trim lighting is deemed worth waisting the time money and materials to add complexity to system. It's moronic.
 
That last sentence is absolute gold. Trouble is things like adjusting colour settings for interior trim lighting is deemed worth waisting the time money and materials to add complexity to system. It's moronic.
Don’t buy, then. That’ll learn ‘em.
 
That last sentence is absolute gold. Trouble is things like adjusting colour settings for interior trim lighting is deemed worth waisting the time money and materials to add complexity to system. It's moronic.
The latest company in my area to announce they are shutting down due to a shortage of chips make automatic heating and air conditioning controls for cars.
 
No ta. I already got that t-shirt in 1983. I’ll stick with my car with a hundred microprocessors, thanks.
BDHBClgNSoKJ-Yy8aEekKQ
 

Yokel

LE
If it wants to meet modern pollution requirements and reliability it does. 'Microprocessor' is a bit of a grand word for what are microcontroller that only perform one or two functions each.

I do know the difference - and I am sure that some else said 'microprocessors'. They are still probably made in the same places. I was going to say could programmable logic be used instead, but....

Is there anywhere in the UK, US, or Europe that makes things like microprocessors, RAM, ROM, EPROM, FPGA, and so on?

There are semiconductor manufacturers in the UK - I wonder what they do? A quick Google search finds:

Swindon Silicon Solutions - mixed signal ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits)

Plessey
- microLEDs.

IQE - semiconductor wafers and wafers services

Semefab - semiconductor foundry

Who else is there?
 
I do know the difference - and I am sure that some else said 'microprocessors'. They are still probably made in the same places. I was going to say could programmable logic be used instead, but....

Is there anywhere in the UK, US, or Europe that makes things like microprocessors, RAM, ROM, EPROM, FPGA, and so on?

There are semiconductor manufacturers in the UK - I wonder what they do? A quick Google search finds:

Swindon Silicon Solutions - mixed signal ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits)
Plessey - microLEDs.

IQE - semiconductor wafers and wafers services

Semefab - semiconductor foundry

Who else is there?
Intel make most of their CPUs in the US and Micron make memory chips in the US. Globalfoundaries are a manufacturing spin-off from AMD and they have fabs to make CPUs in the US and Germany.

The reason why so much is made in South Korea is because Samsung make chips and are a huge company. The reason why so much is made in Taiwan is because TSMC are the favourite outsourcing partner for so many Western companies who don't want to invest the huge sums of money required to build their own plants.

By the way be wary of associating "'semiconductor manufacturer" with "actually has own manufacturing facilities". Many have shut down their own manufacturing capacity and outsource to companies like TSMC.
 
I do know the difference - and I am sure that some else said 'microprocessors'. They are still probably made in the same places. I was going to say could programmable logic be used instead, but....

Is there anywhere in the UK, US, or Europe that makes things like microprocessors, RAM, ROM, EPROM, FPGA, and so on?

There are semiconductor manufacturers in the UK - I wonder what they do? A quick Google search finds:

Swindon Silicon Solutions - mixed signal ASICs (Application Specific Integrated Circuits)
Plessey - microLEDs.

IQE - semiconductor wafers and wafers services

Semefab - semiconductor foundry

Who else is there?
Semefab is the only one of those that manufactures IC’s.
 

Yokel

LE
Semefab is the only one of those that manufactures IC’s.

True - but producing semiconductor wafers is also quite important. The Semefab website is very impressive.

There is also Newport Wafer Fab

At Newport Wafer Fab, we have over 30 years of experience of fabricating world class, high end silicon devices.

We provide a manufacturing service, which enables our customers to succeed in their fields of expertise. With a fast and agile ‘semiconductor production’ service for the CS cluster and the wider foundry market, Newport Wafer Fab is a high volume 200mm wafer fab. Our production capacity provides capability from 0.18µm and above. We have a complete tool line, advanced process controls and a highly skilled, experienced team.


There must be others.
 
True - but producing semiconductor wafers is also quite important. The Semefab website is very impressive.

There is also Newport Wafer Fab

At Newport Wafer Fab, we have over 30 years of experience of fabricating world class, high end silicon devices.

We provide a manufacturing service, which enables our customers to succeed in their fields of expertise. With a fast and agile ‘semiconductor production’ service for the CS cluster and the wider foundry market, Newport Wafer Fab is a high volume 200mm wafer fab. Our production capacity provides capability from 0.18µm and above. We have a complete tool line, advanced process controls and a highly skilled, experienced team.


There must be others.
A quick look at their filings, suggests that their principal customer is their previous owner - Infineon Semiconductor. They really need to diversify a bit, though as a gross loss of £2.8 million on a £49.4 million turnover (YE Sep 2019) really isn’t sustainable.
 

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