Industrial Firms Raid Washing Machines to Secure Prized Microchips

Industrial Firms Raid Washing Machines to Secure Prized Microchips

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It’s no secret that the semiconductor shortage is affecting industries across the globe. The shortage hit the GPU market particularly hard, which resulted in wildly inflated prices across the board (although steady price erosion since the start of 2022 has been welcome news to gaming enthusiasts). Auto manufacturers have also faced dwindling chip inventories, which has forced some companies to leave thousands of vehicles sitting in lots, unable to be delivered to dealerships. However, ASML CEO Peter Wennink described on an earning’s call how some companies take desperate measures to get their hands on highly sought-after and mature microprocessors.

According to Wennink, several large industrial companies have resorted to ripping chips out of consumer washing machines for industrial use. Typical household washing machines can range from $400 to thousands of dollars each, so that is a relatively expensive way to obtain chips manufactured on a mature process node. However, it’s more likely that these companies are buying used machines or devices earmarked to head to a recycling center. Companies could get the washing machines at a significant discount and still grab the chips in this scenario. 

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