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Federal CHIPS Act Boosts State Tech Manufacturers

Federal CHIPS Act boosts state tech manufacturers

Federal CHIPS Act boosts state tech manufacturers

Correction: A photograph of a proprietary product made by Mott Corp. that was not intended for public view has been deleted from an earlier version of this article. FARMINGTON – Behind double-paned windows and under bright lights, engineers in full-body, hooded coveralls work intently at precision machines. They’re producing highly specialized filters for chemical processing, aerospace, health care and semiconductor applications, and their customers are some of the most recognized companies in their sectors. The facility, part of the Farmington operations of Connecticut-based Mott Corp., is what’s called a “clean room,” where highly precise components can be assembled in a space free of dust and other airborne contaminants. Mott Corp. customers regularly audit the company’s facility to make sure it meets their standards. “We make the most sophisticated technology to make the most advanced computer chips today,” said Boris Levin, Mott’s chief executive. As a supplier to the semiconductor industry, Mott Corp. – and other Connecticut companies like it – stands to benefit from federal efforts to boost domestic production of microchips and strengthen the industry’s supply chains. In order to maintain a working environment free of airborne contaminants, Mott Corporation engineers go through two “air showers” before entering the space, known as a clean room. SHAHRZAD RASEKH / CT MIRROR The federal CHIPS and Science Act, signed by President Joe Biden in August of last year, made $53 billion available to expand semiconductor manufacturing, research and workforce training; it also offered a 25% tax incentive for capital investments in the sector. Hundreds of companies applied for the first round of funding, announced in February, intended to support construction, expansion and modernization of chip manufacturing operations. The initiative has also spurred hundreds of billions of dollars of private sector investment. It’s about three to four times more expensive to build and maintain “clean room” facilities for making semiconductor components. Mott Corp. is seeking federal funding to expand its clean room operation in Farmington, CT. SHAHRZAD RASEKH / CT MIRROR A second round of funding, announced in September, aims to support smaller supply chain companies that make components and materials for the larger manufacturers. This is where Connecticut’s economic development officials see a big opportunity for the state’s manufacturers. Paul Lavoie, the state’s chief manufacturing officer, said the Department of Economic and Community Development is trying to make contact with semiconductor suppliers around the state to build a consortium of companies that might work together as the industry gains momentum. A department within DECD known as the Federal Funds team is also offering advising and support to companies interested in applying for CHIPS Act funding. “I think it’s a very healthy sector of our manufacturing ecosystem,” Lavoie said. Mott Corp. is seeking CHIPS Act funds to go toward a planned $30 million expansion of its clean room operations, as well as additional support for research and development projects. Levin said DECD has been helping the company with its initial application for the funding, which must be filed between Dec. 1, 2023 and Feb. 1, 2024. “For a company like ours that’s midsized, not a Fortune 500 with people who do this full time, that type of help is really important,” Levin said. “We don’t have a lot of experience with this.” Levin said the application will explain the company’s plans for the funding, how many jobs it will create and what types of skills those workers will need, among other details. It will highlight DECD’s role in offering state-level support and helping to design workforce training programs, and it will also include letters of support from Mott’s domestic customers pointing to the importance of the company’s products in their supply chains. “It’s almost a joint application,” he said. Microchips are an increasingly critical component in such a wide range of personal applications, as well as business and infrastructure operations, that controlling their production has become an issue of national security, Biden administration leaders have said. But rebuilding the industry on American soil, aka “reshoring” semiconductor manufacturing, could also bring economic security to many American families, the president and congressional leaders said during the CHIPS and Science Act signing ceremony last year. “America invented the semiconductor and this law brings it back home,” Biden said. “It’s in our economic interest, and it’s in our national security interest to do so.” There are 0 comments. A subscription is required to view the comments Log In or Subscribe today Home Delivery subscribers can Activate thier access. If you don’t have home delivery you […]

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Daisie Hobson

Daisie Hobson is a Director at the Reshoring Institute and an engineer with many years of experience in manufacturing and project management.

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