£1.6m power device packaging facility for the UK

£1.6m power device packaging facility for the UK

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

A £1.6m packaging facility for power devices has officially opened at the Compound Semiconductor Applications (CSA) Catapult in Newport, South Wales.  

The power packaging facility is the first of its kind in an open access setting in the UK and will be used improve the performance of silicon and compound semiconductor technologies.

The new DER-IC South West and Wales facility can be used by manufacturers as a prototype facility for developing semiconductor and compound semiconductor advanced packages using novel 3D printing techniques which his the first in the UK with open access.

The new facility is part of the Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centre (DER-IC) South West and Wales. There are four centres across the UK that offer open access equipment, facilities and expertise to the power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) manufacturing supply chain but this is the first open access 

The 3D printing equipment enables the integration of combination, mixed metal and ceramic printing technologies for chip packages, heat sinks and printed circuit board (PCB) designs.

The equipment includes a multi-material 3D printer that can quickly prototype novel packages using ceramic and mixed material for higher power and performance packaging as well as a 3D metal printer that can create fast prototypes for embedded packages and modules using copper or other conductive materials.

An optimised laser system that can dice semiconductors and process ceramic or metal materials for novel package designs

“The opportunities this centre presents to the PEMD manufacturing supply chain are significant. We’re inviting anyone in the PEMD supply chain who is interested in innovation and technology development, manufacturing scale-up and commercialisation, as well as skills and workforce development to engage with us,” said Paul Jarvie, DER-IC South West and Wales centre lead.

“The new DER-IC facility, installed using the funding from the DER Challenge, allows industry to explore what materials it can use to create packaging that allows chips to reach their full potential within electric cars, trains, boats and other modes of transport. Our facilities can support manufacturers to de-risk innovation and attract investment in this area. We can help develop lighter, more energy-efficient components, which can handle more power, are less expensive, and can offer better overall thermal performance.”

Martin McHugh, CEO at CSA Catapult, said: “CSA Catapult has significant expertise in advanced packaging and the addition of this facility will strengthen our offering to UK businesses, helping them to de-risk, improve their technologies and bring their products to market quicker.”

“This new facility is another example of the UK government investing in areas in which it has significant strength, with compound semiconductors and advanced packaging highlighted as key strategic areas that will boost the UK economy and establish ourselves as a world leader in these fields.”

McHugh says the centre has already attracted significant interest from major industrial partners across the aerospace and transport sectors.

Dycotec Materials is looking to develop a 3D printing process to improve performance, reliability and significantly reduce the cost of packages and modules for automotive applications.

CSA Catapult and Carbon Forest Products are involved in a project to create a 3D graphite heat sink – a key component used to move heat away from an electronic device – for use in automotive systems.

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