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Equipment Perspective At U.S. Senate Hearing On Chipmaking

Suggestions for how the government could strengthen the U.S. semiconductor ecosystem.

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In March, Lam Research President and CEO Tim Archer testified before the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. The hearing examined a variety of issues including the correlation between American competitiveness and semiconductors, the impact of vulnerabilities in semiconductor supply chains and the importance of CHIPS legislation within the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act (USICA) of 2021 and the America COMPETES Act of 2022. His full prepared testimony is below. 

Madam Chair, Ranking Member, and Members of the Committee:

Thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.

I am Tim Archer, President and CEO of Lam Research, one of the world’s largest semiconductor manufacturing equipment companies. Simply put, Lam Research makes the machines that make the chips.

Headquartered in California, we have more than 16,000 employees worldwide. We are a world leader in developing state-of-the-art manufacturing equipment that brings together diverse disciplines such as plasma physics, materials science, advanced robotics, and artificial intelligence to create nanoscale semiconductor fabrication solutions. The complex machines we develop enable companies, like Intel and Micron, to produce their sophisticated integrated chips in high volume.

I would like to thank you and others in Congress for the vision you have shown toward addressing both the challenges and opportunities facing the U.S. semiconductor industry. While recent events—like the chip shortages—have put a spotlight on the challenges, I would like to stress that U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing technology is strong. Our competitiveness is rooted in the innovation, drive, and resourcefulness of American companies and workers across the semiconductor ecosystem. And I am proud of the role that Lam Research and our employees have played for more than four decades in setting the pace for innovation and in maintaining U.S. leadership in the global market.

Today, semiconductors form the foundation of our smarter, faster, and more connected digital world. I believe it is vital that we create a secure and resilient supply of semiconductors while also accelerating innovation ahead of the rapidly evolving technological complexity.

Congress recognized the importance of both supply and innovation and is taking bold steps to strengthen the semiconductor ecosystem through the CHIPS Act, which will fortify our supply chain, workforce, and domestic research and development. I believe this partnership of industry and government will contribute to U.S. leadership in semiconductor technology well into the future. As you continue to work on these efforts, I would highlight three areas that could benefit from your continued consideration.

First: An “all-of-ecosystem” approach.

The chip shortage we are experiencing highlights the complex and interdependent nature of the semiconductor ecosystem and the need for sustained investment by companies throughout the supply chain.

Lam Research has increased our workforce in the U.S. by over 45% in the past two years alone, adding more than 3,500 jobs, including high-paying engineering and advanced manufacturing jobs at our facilities in California, Oregon, and Ohio. However, we also rely on hundreds of American suppliers, many of whom are struggling to keep up with the rapid pace of growth while dealing with the lingering effects of the pandemic and a tight labor market.

We are grateful policymakers recognize these challenges and intend to support the industry comprehensively through the Commerce Department’s Grant Program, established in the CHIPS Act, as well as through important R&D programs like the Investment Tax Credit found in the FABS Act. We urge Congress to act quickly to pass these measures in support of the entire domestic ecosystem.

Second: Leveraging existing infrastructure.

Together, government and industry can leverage existing infrastructures that have a history of driving technology development. Partnerships with academia and with the National Labs provide extensive capabilities and expertise critical to any collaborative innovation strategy. In our area, plasma research is particularly key to the future of semiconductor tool development. We are grateful to see legislative proposals such as the Microelectronics Research for Energy Innovation Act move forward to streamline coordination and better deploy federal resources, including the National Labs, to sustain these partnerships.

And finally: Enabling shared innovation.

There is an outstanding opportunity to strengthen U.S. competitiveness by bringing together industry, government, academia, and the National Labs in a centralized and collaborative space to enable shared innovation. The establishment of the National Semiconductor Technology Center (NSTC) will provide a new pathway to sustaining U.S. technology leadership by creating opportunities to explore new ideas and quickly transition breakthrough technologies to the production line.

In closing, we believe it is vital that we prioritize innovation, competitiveness, collaboration, and supply chain security to maintain U.S. leadership in this critical, global industry.



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