Tiny homes have become the most popular form of microfibre building material in the world, but a new research paper published today by the Australian Federal Government’s Institute of Technology suggests that the microchip manufacturing industry is in the process of “becoming a major source of manufacturing waste”.
The research, entitled “Microchips, Microfibres and Microchips Manufacturing: A Case Study”, explores the role that microchipped microcontrollers (MMCs) are playing in the microelectronics industry.
The paper suggests that there are now over 400 MMCs on the market, and it’s these microcontrollable chips that are being manufactured by small businesses.
“While the introduction of the MMC has helped to diversify the supply chain, it has also created a large number of potential opportunities for MMC manufacturers to engage in ‘fraud’ by manufacturing devices with fabricated parts,” the report says.
“Manufacturing these components is often at the expense of the consumer, which often means that the consumer loses out to the manufacturers.”
The research finds that over 90 per cent of the microcontroller manufacturing industry’s supply chain is based on a combination of MMC manufacture and the “factory” of a microcontroller.
“The majority of these microcontroller manufacturers are not involved in the manufacture of the chip itself, but rather in the fabrication and assembly of the ‘core’ of the device,” the research states.
“However, the manufacturing of the chips themselves is not new.
The earliest known example of a ‘microchip manufacturing factory’ was in the 1920s and ’30s.”
The study finds that between 2000 and 2014, there were more than 5,000 MMC manufacturing businesses in Australia, with nearly two thirds of them being based in the Greater Sydney region.
“As we have seen, the supply of microchippers has been driven by the rise of microchip manufacturers such as Samsung and Micron,” the study states.
“[However] we do not know whether the increase in microchip manufacture is related to the emergence of MCCs in the market or whether the increased supply is a consequence of the increasing sophistication of the manufacturing process itself.”
“The rise of the new MCC market has allowed manufacturers to focus more on the quality of the product they create and the cost of the parts,” it continues.
“In other words, these new MMC manufactures are more focused on their product and the manufacturing cost rather than the quality or cost of their manufacturing process.”
“However”, the report notes, “these MCC manufacturers do not have the same level of manufacturing capability as the MFC (microfiber composite) manufacturers”.
Microchipping is a key component of the “Smart Cities” initiative launched by the City of Melbourne in 2020.
The initiative, launched by Melbourne City Council, aims to reduce the “overpopulation” in city centres by enabling people to live more cheaply and to reduce their carbon footprint.
“Smart City Australia’s goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing urban sprawl and traffic and improve the quality and efficiency of our city,” the City Council said in a statement.
“This is achieved by creating a low-cost, high-quality, smart urban fabric.
The Smart City Alliance is a partnership between the City and the Australian Government that aims to ensure the Smart City fabric is manufactured and sold locally and has a positive impact on the city.”
The paper’s authors say that there is evidence that microcontrolling a MMC can result in “fraud” and that “further research is required to understand the extent of this fraud.”
“There is an urgent need for a transparent and accountable manufacturing process for MCC manufacturing,” the researchers write.
“We also note that many of the manufacturers are actively marketing and promoting their MCC products as ‘factory’ microchip products.”
“Fraud” is defined as “a deceptive, or misleading, use of a technology or business practice to obtain a competitive advantage.”
“We do not recommend that MCC-based manufacturers engage in any manufacturing activities,” the paper concludes.
“But, we urge all manufacturers to ensure that they conduct rigorous testing to ensure they are in compliance with all applicable safety requirements, and follow all applicable laws.”
Microchip manufacturers “are already under scrutiny for the potential of the fabrication of counterfeit or misbranded microchippings,” the institute says.
Microchip manufacturing “is an emerging market with a high risk profile”, it says, adding that “there is a high likelihood that counterfeiting will continue to increase in the coming years”.
“Microchip manufacturers are facing a number of challenges and challenges in their business, and their failure to take adequate precautions to prevent counterfeiting would put them at risk of being caught and penalised.”
“Microprocessor manufacturers are already under a variety of regulatory and legal pressures, and they will face the same pressures in the future,” the Institute warns.
“There are concerns