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Pragmatic unveils UK's first 300mm wafer fab in Durham

by on29 March 2024

Despite threatening to Brexit

Pragmatic Semiconductor, headquartered in Cambridge, has made waves by launching the UK's inaugural 300mm wafer fabrication facility in Durham. Despite threatening to leave the UK over a perceived dearth of governmental backing for the burgeoning domestic chip sector.

The company's latest production line is dedicated to crafting chips using flexible integrated circuit (FlexIC) technology, tailored for IoT applications such as intelligent packaging and sensors, rather than substituting silicon in high-performance computing.

With the capacity to produce billions of FlexICs annually, the Durham establishment is set to imbue trillions of smart objects with "item-level intelligence" over the coming decade.

These chips are produced via thin-film transistor technology, employing a silicon-free manufacturing method. Pragmatic touts these fabs as eco-friendlier alternatives to conventional silicon-based plants, citing reduced energy and water usage.

Pragmatic Park has potential space for up to nine fabs. The site is projected to generate around 500 skilled positions within five years.

Last year Pragmatic threatened Brexit because the government was not coming up with the readies while the EU and US were promising healthy subsidies,

Following suit, the UK government unveiled the £1 billion National Semiconductor Strategy and recently pledged to re-enter the EU's corresponding research initiative.

In a dramatic turnaround, Pragmatic conducted a funding round, amassing a groundbreaking £182 million, predominantly from British investors, to facilitate the establishment of two fabs in Durham, one of which is now operational.

While the UK's £1 billion earmarked for semiconductor advancement initially faced scrutiny for its modesty compared to the USA's CHIPS Act and the EU Chips Act, the nation focuses on niche sectors rather than mass production.

Last modified on 29 March 2024
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