Opening of UK's first 300mm semiconductor wafer manufacturing facility

28th March 2024
Paige West

Pragmatic Semiconductor recently hosted HRH The Princess Royal for the official inauguration of the UK's first 300mm semiconductor wafer fabrication line at Pragmatic Park in Durham.

This production facility is dedicated to crafting chips using Pragmatic’s flexible integrated circuit technology. HRH The Princess Royal, accompanied by David Moore, CEO of Pragmatic Semiconductor, was given a comprehensive tour of the clean room and other facilities, culminating in the reveal of a commemorative plaque to celebrate the event. The ceremony saw the attendance of key customers, partners in the ecosystem, investors, and officials from the government.

Pragmatic’s FlexICs stand out as cost-effective, eco-friendly alternatives to traditional silicon chips. These ultra-thin, flexible chips are designed to enhance connectivity, sensing, and computing functionalities, powering the Internet of Things (IoT) across diverse sectors such as consumer, industrial, and healthcare. The company’s vision is to imbue trillions of smart objects with intelligence over the coming decade, spanning a broad spectrum of uses. This includes smart packaging for consumer goods to enhance recycling and reuse, thereby revolutionising waste management and fostering a circular economy. Applications also extend to wearables, sensors, and flexible controllers.

With the capacity to accommodate up to nine fabrication lines, each capable of generating billions of chips annually, Pragmatic Park is set to significantly contribute to the industry. Pragmatic Semiconductor’s approach to sustainability is evident in its manufacturing processes, which are more efficient and occupy a smaller footprint than traditional silicon chip production. The company’s innovative manufacturing technique allows for quick production cycles of less than 48 hours at a minimal cost. Furthermore, this process consumes considerably less energy and water, and emits fewer harmful gases compared to conventional silicon chip manufacturing. Pragmatic’s 'Fab-in-a-Box' concept enables the setup of complete FlexIC manufacturing at customer sites, streamlining supply chains while enhancing security and resilience. This facility is a crucial step towards catering to the global demand for Pragmatic’s unique technology. Over the next five years, the company aims to generate over 500 highly skilled positions in the North-East of England and Cambridge.

David Moore, CEO, Pragmatic Semiconductor said: "Today’s official opening marks a key milestone in Pragmatic’s growth trajectory and for the UK on the global semiconductor stage. I am incredibly proud of what the team has achieved and the ambition of our mission to enable item level intelligence in over a trillion sustainable, smart items over the next decade. Such intelligence at scale has the power to accelerate the digital transformation across industries. Sustainability is at the very core of our technology and extends to how FlexICs enable our customers to further drive innovations and pathways through their products and services towards global net zero goals.”  

Francisco Melo, President Solutions Group, Avery Dennison said: “The key to any effective collaboration is a shared mindset. Pragmatic’s innovative approach is reflective of our own, as is its commitment to helping solve business challenges. The opening of an advanced manufacturing chip facility is fantastic news for all technology innovators. Congratulations to Pragmatic on such an important and impressive achievement. I look forward to our clients harnessing the potential of Pragmatic's flexible integrated circuits as part of our evolving inlay portfolio."

Simon Little, Banking & Investments Director, UKIB and Pragmatic Board member said: “The Bank invested in Pragmatic to support low carbon domestic manufacturing of semiconductors in the UK. The official opening of Pragmatic Park in Durham marks a pivotal next step in its journey, and we look forward to seeing the long-term impact of our investment, as Pragmatic scales up its operation and creates highly skilled jobs here in the North-East.”

Niranjan Sirdeshpande, Global Head of M&G’s Catalyst strategy and Pragmatic Board member said: “The UK has a very supportive ecosystem for providing early-stage funding, but it becomes challenging for businesses looking for later stage capital. By providing growth equity to enterprising tech disruptors such as Pragmatic, M&G’s £5 billion Catalyst strategy can help them to scale, provide expertise and partner with them all the way to success. Put to work in this way, patient capital can support economic growth and capture value for peoples' pensions and savings as we transition to a more sustainable economy. We are proud to support Pragmatic’s work in Durham with tech advancement in this critical part of the UK's national infrastructure.” 

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