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Lam Research to launch new research facility in Bengaluru next month

Lam Research to launch new research facility in Bengaluru next month
Rangesh Raghavan, corporate vice president and general manager of Lam Research India
15 Aug, 2022
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US-based semiconductor equipment supplier Lam Research is setting up its second research and development (R&D) facility in India in September. In an interview, Rangesh Raghavan, corporate vice president and general manager of Lam Research India, said that the new facility will help the company’s engineers complete designs locally and reduce reliance on its American counterparts.

“This will improve capability. Until now we relied on US counterparts to build and test our designs,” Raghavan said. He added that the facility will include a new “state of art” hardware engineering lab consisting of deposition (a fabrication process in which thin films of materials are deposited on a wafer), etching (chemically removing layers from the surface of a wafer), and wet processing units (used for etching and cleaning the wafers), along with AR/VR-enabled capabilities.

Lam Research is one of the leading suppliers of equipment to semiconductor manufacturers such as Intel, TSMC, Samsung and Micron. The company already has 2000 employees in India and the new facility will help bring the majority of its work to the country. “This will help develop a network of local suppliers, which will contribute to the economy,” Raghavan said.

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According to an April 2022 report by industry body Indian Electronics and Semiconductors Association (IESA), India could account for $85-100 billion of the global $550-600 billion global market for semiconductor manufacturing by 2030. Raghavan said that while the semiconductor manufacturing industry in India is at early stages, its participation in the ecosystem is already very strong from the design perspective. Large chip design firms,  including Intel, Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, and Nvidia are already designing chips in India. 

Further, he said that more than half of the company's hardware and software engineers are in Bengaluru. “More than 80% of our revenues come from the Asia Pacific region. We have made significant investments and grown quite substantially in India over the last few years. We have seen a 100% growth in India in the last two years,” he added. 

Last December, the Indian government announced a ₹ 76,000 crore PLI scheme for chip manufacturing and design. Homegrown conglomerates, the Vedanta and Tata groups, are in the process of setting up manufacturing facilities in the country. However, Raghavan said that while “incentives like PLI tend to result in some investment for sure, we are yet to see actual spades in the ground”. 

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“It just needs some more traction and the successful execution of a few ventures to begin with, which will provide everybody that comfort that India can be a good place to do this,” he added.