Samsung has been conducting prolonged tests on coolants from Chinese companies as it attempts to diversify its supply chain for the ingredient used in wafer fabrication.
The South Korean tech giant has not finalized whether it would accept the coolants as it was unsatisfied with their quality, sources said.
This contrasts with compatriot SK Hynix which has been more receptive towards coolants from China thanks to their competitive prices, they said.
Prior to the pandemic and current supply chain issues, chipmakers Samsung and SK Hynix had mostly used coolants from 3M.
But the chemical firm’s factory in Belgium suspended production in the first quarter due to compliance issues over gas emissions with the local government, increasing the South Korean chipmakers’ fear of supply chain issues over the material.
While 3M has since resumed production at its plant in Belgium, Samsung and SK Hynix had been looking for secondary suppliers for coolants from China.
The coolants that are being required are not a new formula and can be easily made by other suppliers, the sources said.
While Samsung feels the issue had been resolved somewhat with the resumption of supply by 3M, it will continue testing coolants from its potential alternative supplier as managing supply chains are expected to be a persistent issue going forward, they said.
SK Hynix has been more aggressive in attempting to diversify its suppliers for coolants, they added.