Beating Shortages By Harvesting Chips From Washing Machines?
Watch Out For Scavengers In Your Laundry Room
ASML Holding is a fair sized semiconductor equipment manufacturer, if you’ve never heard of them it is because they don’t make the sexy silicon, instead they make the things that make those sexy components. They, like everyone else, have run afoul of supply shortages which are reducing their ability to manufacture their products. They have discussed another unnamed company who found a rather unique solution to this problem, buying large lots of washing machines to strip the chips out of them.
The story linked by Slashdot doesn’t specify what chips they are harvesting but smart washing machines are likely a treasure trove of chips. The display driver for the screen, touch sensors, Wi-Fi connectivity and even timers are all chips which can be repurposed in other devices. ASML Holding chose new machines, but they are likely to also be in short supply so it is likely that used and scrapped washing machines just became very valuable; as long as they are ‘smart’ ones.
It is great to see IoT devices do something that is actually useful for a change.
A major industrial conglomerate has resorted to buying washing machines and tearing out the semiconductors inside for use in its own chip modules, according to the CEO of a company central to the chipmaking supply chain.
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Things have become distorted through the game of telephone: ASML are NOT buying washing machines for chips (ASML manufacture equipment to produce semiconductors, they do not manufacture them). ASML’s CEO, during an earnings call, related a story of an unnamed company buying up washing machines in order to harvest chips as an example of pent up demand for chip fab capacity.
You are 100% correct, I totally missed that at the start of the article.