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CSA Catapult opens new advanced packaging facility

A new GBP 1.6 million facility to help accelerate electrification across the UK has officially opened at the Compound Semiconductor Applications (CSA) Catapult in Newport, South Wales.

The facility’s equipment, which is the first of its kind in an open-access setting in the UK, will be used by businesses to improve the performance of their semiconductor and compound semiconductor technologies.

As a part of the Driving the Electric Revolution Industrialisation Centre (DER-IC) South West and Wales, the new facility becomes a part of the wider DER-IC network, which has four centres across the UK. The centres offer open-access equipment, facilities and expertise to the power electronics, machines and drives (PEMD) manufacturing supply chain. 

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 and materials.

Advanced packaging is critical to the semiconductor manufacturing process. The package provides electrical interconnects, heat management and protects the chip from damage. Without a robust and reliable package, semiconductor devices simply do not work.

The facility boasts equipment such as:

  • A multi-material 3D printer that can quickly prototype novel packages using ceramic and mixed material for higher power and performance packaging
  • 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," says DER-IC South West and Wales centre lead, Paul Jarvie in a press release.

Paul Jarvie continues to say hat the new DER-IC facility allows the 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.”

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. Meanwhile, 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.

“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," says Martin McHugh, CEO at CSA Catapult. “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.”


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May 14 2024 7:33 am V22.4.46-2
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