Sunlit Chemical, a leading semiconductor supplier based in Taiwan, has begun construction on a plant near the Deer Valley Airport in north Phoenix––the company’s first U.S. manufacturing facility.

The company was founded in January 1972 with the vision to become Taiwan’s leading manufacturer of high-purity and high-quality hydrofluoric acid for customers in industries such as semiconductors, TFT-LCD (a variant of liquid crystal display) and solar cell and steel manufacturing.

As of 2020, Sunlit Chemical’s hydrofluoric acid production capacity makes it one of the top companies in that niche worldwide; production is expected to reach 110,000 tons annually in 2024. The company also manufactures ammonium fluoride and other fluorine-related chemicals.

“In choosing Phoenix as its first U.S. facility, the company is joining a number of Taiwanese businesses that recognize the advantages our region provides,” said Chris Camacho, president and CEO, Greater Phoenix Economic Council.

The project will build an eventual $100-million investment on 17 acres. The 190,000-sq-ft Sunlit Arizona building will produce hydrofluoric acid and the other high-grade industrial chemicals in the first phase, expected to be operational in spring 2023. As the team expands its operations, an upcoming phase will focus on raw material purification; that should be operational in 2025.

Spaces in the building include a two-story, 14,000-sq-ft office, incorporating steel, a glass curtain wall and CMU accents; an 84,000-sq-ft, one-story tilt-up production center, with cameras to monitor access and production activities; 40,000 sq ft of 50-ft-tall storage; 50,000-sq-ft of pre-engineered-metal canopy for ISO tank storage, an area that includes a 30-ton crane for moving the tanks; and a 4,000-sq-ft CMU waste treatment plant.

The roof structure incorporates TPO roofing, said Tom Klinkert, preconstruction/senior project manager for Chandler-based Brycon Corp. He expects phase one to provide 110 construction jobs at peak.

Weiss-Magness Architects, based in Phoenix, is the architect for the design-build project. “The code-intensive design will accommodate bulk shipping and receiving, chemical storage, transfer, mixing and blending operations integrating office and manufacturing functions,” said Bobby Magness, vice president for the firm.

“We are in close communication with Brycon Construction and our other partners to maintain a strategic construction timeline to ensure we are ready to be operational in 2023 to increase our ability to serve our customers,” said Perpa Hsieh, deputy general manager for Sunlit Arizona.

“We will be adopting technology in the manufacturing process of the hydrofluoric acid to increase efficiency of production while maintaining the highest safety and sustainable standards to provide the highest-quality product for our customers,” Hsieh explained.

For example, the company received the first ISO 46001 certification in the industry for its water-efficiency management systems, he noted.