In yet another in a long and growing list of advanced manufacturing and workforce wins for the Greater Manhattan region, Radiation Detection Technologies Inc. has announced a $4 million investment in a Pottawatomie County foundry facility and the creation of approximately 30 new jobs over the next five years.
RDT currently develops and manufactures its semiconductor, radiation detection and electronic circuit technologies on the Kansas State University campus. It recently experienced a significant increase in sales of semiconductor devices and with demand predicted to continue rising over the next few years, RDT needs space to grow as its market share does.
“The semiconductor market in general is strong and will continue to grow,” CEO Steven Bellinger said. “Many factors play a role in this growth, but primarily it’s due to the omnipresence of microelectronics in our modern lives, from cellphones to vehicles to appliances like smart toasters.”
In 2020, the U.S. government announced its intentions to invest heavily in the domestic development and manufacturing of advanced technologies. Acknowledging the concentration of the world’s semiconductor production capabilities in Taiwan, South Korea and Malaysia, the effort is aimed at securing the United States’ position as a world leader in the industry. In August 2022, the CHIPS and Science Act was signed into law, providing $52.7 billion for semiconductor research, development, manufacturing and workforce enhancement. The timing, according to Bellinger, is perfect.
“The market is heading toward smaller and more diverse semiconductor foundries that are able to pick up new technologies and produce them in smaller quantities for niche markets,” he said. “The big foundries of the world — such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company — will still exist, but you’re going to see a revitalization of specialized semiconductor foundries in the U.S.”
The CHIPS Act announcement was welcome news to RDT’s leadership team — who hope that investment will further boost the Manhattan region’s advanced manufacturing industry — but by the time of the announcement, RDT’s scientists had already been hard at work in radiological- and semiconductor-based technology innovation for years. The company developed out of K-State’s Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering Semiconductor Materials and Radiological Technologies (SMART) Laboratory in 2011, gaining a reputation in the years since as a manufacturer of state-of- the-art, high-quality equipment. In October 2022, the Kansas Department of Commerce awarded RDT with a Kansas Business Award for its innovative use of technology. The company cites this and other local support as the main reason it chose the Greater Manhattan region for its expansion.
“In Manhattan — and northeast Kansas in general — you hear ‘How can we help?’ before you hear ‘No, you can't,’” Bellinger said. “That’s important for businesses that undertake innovative and pioneering work, where you’re not directly comparable to some other company down the road.”
The race to become a semiconductor superpower is on, and RDT is a star player on Team USA. In addition to monitoring radiation levels near nuclear reactors, its products are revolutionizing the precision agriculture, security, imaging, medical and space exploration industries. RDT joins several other projects in shining a national spotlight on the region.
“RDT’s expansion project showcases the growth opportunities for advanced and high-tech manufacturing in the Manhattan region,” said Daryn Soldan, director of economic development for the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce. “The company has forged a strong talent pipeline from Kansas State University and continues to create high-paying jobs that retain talent in the region.” Want to know more about the company that’s propelling the Greater Manhattan area into the future? Visit the Radiation Detection Technologies Inc. website.
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