Samsung and SK Hynix are diversifying there supply chain for coolants used in semiconductor production following 3M’s shutdown of its related factory in Belgium.
Coolants are used in the etching process during wafer fabrication. They are spread through chillers to control the temperature during the process, which is prone to overheating.
3M accounts for around 90% of the production of coolants.
But in March, the company’s factory in Belgium suspended production following the local government’s shutdown order from not meeting the latest strengthened Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) requirements.
Samsung and SK Hynix had looked for alternative suppliers in China since then.
The pair had now selected a new supplier and is in the process of verification, which will likely be finished within the year.
The coolant is not a new material so there won’t be much development downtime, which means the process can be done fast, sources said.
But as, depending on the material’s characteristics, its density and ability to control temperature may differ, so the pair are being strict about testing, they added.
Meanwhile, 3M is also expected to resume production of its factory, saying it got approval from the local government in its latest filing to the US SEC.
Even if the factory resumes, Samsung and SK Hynix are expected to continue their verification process with the Chinese vendor, the sources added.