Electronics Companies Take ‘Split Manufacturing’ Approach to Combat Counterfeit ComponentsE

MUNICH – A consortium of Fraunhofer institutes and German industrial companies is developing a split-manufacturing approach for semiconductor production in the project “Distributed Manufacturing for Novel and Trustworthy Electronics T4T.” This will enable the secure assembly of subsystems in Germany and safeguard supply chains.

The €16.44 million project was launched in January and is scheduled to be completed in March 2025.

Germany sees the secure supply of electronic components of growing strategic importance. The sector has been vulnerable to IP theft of circuit designs, and malware and espionage, due to higher reliance on IC manufacturing by foundries outside Europe. The T4T project aims to provide domestic industry with tools to access secure supply chains and trusted electronics. Subcomponents adapted to these requirements can still be accessed via existing supply chains (split manufacturing), but the assembly and encoding of the systems will take place in a trusted environment at the German site.

The new technical requirements of this split-manufacturing approach to packaging technology are to be visualized with the aid of various demonstrators. These will illustrate new design flows and methods, adapted manufacturing processes and the individual technical know-how of the project partners involved. In addition to Bosch, Osram, Audi and XFAB, these include NanoWired, Suess, DISCO and IHP as well as the Fraunhofer Institutes IZM-ASSID, IPMS, IIS/EAS and the Technical University of Dresden.

The knowledge gained from the project is intended to make a structural contribution to the standardization of processes in packaging and interconnection technology and, to this end, define new design specifications and tolerance rules for offset and structure sizes.