ODON — A pair of semiconductor companies have announced they are putting in a foothold in the WestGate@Crane Technology Park. In separate releases SkyWater Technology and NHanced Semiconductors said they would be opening operations at the tech park.

“This is wonderful news for Daviess County, WestGate, and the region and state,” said executive director of the Daviess County Economic Development Corp. Bryant Niehoff. “We know the Department of Defense is doubling down on trusted microelectronics. This has the potential to be a great opportunity.”

SkyWater, based in Bloomington, Minnesota, is a manufacturer of semiconductors. The company intends to open a research lab at WestGate. The company is already a DOD-accredited supplier.

Earlier this year company executives met with Governor Eric Holcomb to discuss potential collaborative efforts and opportunities in Indiana for increased domestic semiconductor manufacturing.

“SkyWater is well-suited to meet the critical needs of the U.S. government as well as commercial customers requiring U.S.-based manufacturing operations,” said SkyWater President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Sonderman. “In addition, we are excited to engage with top universities located in Indiana and access their pipeline of high-quality talent to develop new and disruptive technologies.”

The other firm joining WestGate is Batavia, Illinois, based NHanced Semiconductors. The site will focus on “Foundry 2.0”—a new manufacturing model for custom integrated circuits.

“Foundry 2.0 can reduce development costs for leading edge chips by up to 3 orders of magnitude,” said NHanced President Bob Patti.

NHanced says it is looking to be part of a collaborative effort that includes multiple companies, state, local, military and university resources to bring a semiconductor nexus to WestGate.

“We are hoping we can get a lot of resources working together to produce the chips that the U.S. military needs,” said NHanced spokesperson Gretchen Patti.

Crane is one of the Navy’s technologies centers and for years has been working on research for all kinds of weapons.

One of the problems is the ability to get semiconductors that can be both trusted and reliable.

“Most of the manufacturing plants are in Asia,” said Gretchen Patti. “Those plants produce by the millions. The thing with the U.S. military is their orders are much smaller, in the thousands or tens of thousands, and they must be secure. Our hope is through this joint effort that we will be able to work together to directly address the U.S. government’s unique semi-conductor needs.”

Both NHanced and SkyWater are small companies. They rarely find themselves in competition with the big chip-makers like Intel but they are hoping to develop a niche at WestGate that could help produce workforce development and grow small high-tech businesses.

“There are a lot of regional talks underway,” said Niehoff. “We are cooperating with those who are involved. Right now, we are working through the details. There is a huge opportunity for providing semiconductors for the military, and this is a chance to capture that opportunity.”
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