- Supply and production of Thermal Management Fluids (coolant) are disrupted due to ESG laws in Belgium which led to the shut down of the 3M plant.
- 3M’s Belgian plant accounts for 80% of the world’s production of coolant for semiconductors.
- Suppliers are recommended to stockpile 3M fluids and search for alternative providers that specialize in immersion coolants to maintain operations.
A report prepared by the Resilinc Risk Analysis Team discovered that the global semiconductor industry is facing a shortage again of 3M’s Belgian chip coolant plant closing. Environmental standards for PFAS (over fluoridated compound) emissions tightened in Belgium and as a result, the 3M plant was closed until it meets the regulation criteria.
$167M to push cleanup
3M’s Belgian plant, located in Zwijndrecht, Belgium, holds 80% of the world’s production of coolant for semiconductors. The plant was ordered to be closed by a Belgian court in March until regulations or emissions standards are met. The report says that 3M facilities in US and Belgium account for 90% of global coolant production with plants located in the US and Belgium. 3M has reported that it will pay out $167M to push cleanup efforts of PFAS or “forever chemicals”.
Coolant (Thermal Management Fluids) is vital in semiconductor production. The fluid is used in the etching process, which is impossible without coolant. And semiconductor production is not possible without an etching process. This situation will result in less chip production as an outcome chip prices will increase tremendously. According to the report, the top companies that depend on coolant from this factory include Samsung Electronics, US Intel, Taiwan TSMC, and SK Hynix.
Many industries will be affected
3M fluids customers are recommended to stockpile and search for alternative providers that specialize in producing coolants to maintain their operations. SK Hynix and Samsung Electronics have reported looking at alternative suppliers to diversify imports to prepare for the shortage. TSMC and United Power have announced no impact at present. Unicom reports no impact as it has alternative suppliers with inventory guarantees and multiple sources of supply. However, the Resilinc Risk Analysis Team estimates that current supplies could run out in one to three months for each company, depending on how much inventory they have.
The industries directly will be affected by coolant shortage: High Tech, Aerospace, Automotive, Consumer Electronics, Defense, and Biotechnology. Indirectly affected industries will be Healthcare, Life Sciences, Oil and Gas, Power and Energy, Public Transportation, Packaging, Telecom, Tobacco and E-cigarettes, SaaS, Biotechnology, Consumer Goods, Agribusiness, Cosmetics and Skincare, Human Health, Natural Resources & Mining, Research & Development, Retail, Textile.