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Welsh councils sign up for power chip foundry

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

The signing, on September 11, followed a decision by the Cardiff regional authority to contribute £37.9 million. However, the full cost and timetable for building the foundry were not disclosed. The foundry was first discussed in 2015 (see Welsh chip foundry planned).

It has now been agreed that CSC Foundry Ltd. – LDC Ffowndri in Welsh – will be located at Newport and owned by the 10 local councils in the region. The space will initially be leased to wafer producer IQE for compound semiconductor manufacturing and applications development.

The deal was signed by the Secretary of State for Wales, The Right Hon. Alun Cairns MP; Welsh Economy and Infrastructure Secretary Ken Skates, CSC Foundry directors Councillors Bob Greenland (Monmouthshire) and Andrew Barry (Merthyr), and IQE CEO Drew Nelson.

“The facility will become the base for a number of compound semiconductor related activities, including IQE, where we expect to rapidly expand our production capacity to meet increasing demand for our technology,” said Nelson, in a statement. The formation of the compound semiconductor factory is intend to be an anchor in the region for the high-end production of compound semiconductors and the formation of a cluster of excellence in compound semiconductor technology and business, IQE said.

However, a number of questions remain:

1) Will the foundry be used to make compound semiconductor ICs as well as wafers?

2) How much will be spent to create the foundry, how many people will it employ?

3) When will construction of the building shell start/finish?

4) When will commercial wafers/ICs come out of the building?

5) What processes will be run?

The above questions have been put to IQE by phone and email.

This comes as the UK government’s Compound Semiconductor Catapult starts operation nearby in Newport.

Related links and articles:

www.iqep.com

News articles:

Welsh chip foundry planned

Cardiff-based compound semiconductor accelerator appoints CEO

EU funds Welsh compound semiconductor research


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