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September groundbreaking set for chips manufacturing facility in Coffey County

Oct 06, 2023

News and Online Editor

Gov. Laura Kelly, center, stands with partners from around the state at EMP Shield in Burlington after announcing a $1.9 billion investment in a computer chip manufacturing facility on Feb. 20.

BURLINGTON — A September groundbreaking has been set for a new computer chip manufacturing facility in Coffey County, Secure Semiconductor Manufacturing, LLC announced Thursday.

Gov. Laura Kelly announced in February that EMP Shield, an industry leader in protecting electronic devices from destructive magnetic pulses, plans to invest $1.9 billion in a computer chip manufacturing facility just outside of Burlington. The investment includes a partnership with Flint Hills Technical College to provide the necessary training for potential employees.

EMP Shield plans to have four production lines operating in approximately 235,000 square feet of facilities in the new industrial park that will produce thousands of chips per week. Its suppliers will manufacture necessary components and prepare the final products for delivery. The facility will create more than 1,200 jobs averaging $66,000 annually.

The company will be joined by six out-of-state suppliers. SSM is one of the five Kentucky-based companies planning to locate manufacturing facilities in Kansas as part of the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors Act. SSM will produce capacitors, printed circuit boards and wiring boards which are integral components of semiconductors. Advanced prototyping and assembly will also take place at the facility.

"Right now, computer chips — technology that powers everything from cars to smartphones to broadband — are mostly made in China. And that is a problem," Kelly said at the Feb. 20 announcement. "It means that both our national defense systems and the grids of services that Americans rely on, are vulnerable to the whims of the Chinese Communist Party. It means if there is a computer chip shortage like we are experiencing right now, we have no control as prices go up."

The project came together shortly after the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act was signed into law last August. The bipartisan legislation called for every aspect of computer chip production to be brought back to the United States — specifically into rural areas of the Midwest. Additional stipulations include private-public partnerships as well as the involvement of higher education institutions.

EMP Shield will leverage state support to apply for CHIPS Act funding to see its plans to fruition.

Kelly said this announcement was a big deal not only for Coffey County, but the surrounding region. It represents the second computer chip project her administration has announced in two weeks, with the Kansas-based Integra Technologies planning to invest $1.8 billion in a large-scale semiconductor facility in Wichita.

SSM said parent company, FLMST Capital Management Group, is scheduled to install five tier 1 supply companies in Coffey County which would produce diodes, grommets, capacitors, power supply boards and transistors.

FLMST is part of a public-private partnership of other semiconductor related manufacturers who are co locating as a "cluster."

"We are extremely excited to be locating in Kansas," said SSM CEO Bart Massey. "The support we have received from the Coffey County Commissioners, Governor Kelly, Lt. Gov. Toland, and the Kansas Department of Commerce made it an easy decision to locate our companies in the great state of Kansas. We look forward to hiring, working and living with the good people of Kansas."

News and Online Editor

Job well done governor Kelly.

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