21 September 2010


Cree to install 150mm LED wafer line, for product qualification by June

LED chip, lamp and lighting fixture maker Cree Inc of Durham, NC, USA says that over the next several quarters it will install a new 150mm LED wafer production line in its existing facility in Research Triangle Park (RTP), targeting qualification of the first products off the line by June 2011.

The 150mm wafers are more than double the size of the existing wafers, increasing the number of LEDs per wafer and helping to make LED lighting more cost effective. “150mm LED wafers are an important step in enabling the next phase of LED lighting,” says CEO & chairman Chuck Swoboda.

To keep pace with the growing market for energy-efficient LED lighting, Cree has added more than 600 jobs since early 2009, surpassing its 2012 hiring goals set last fall. Cree anticipates hiring nearly 250 more staff by 2013 for the new production line expansion.

The new jobs are in addition to a plan announced last October to hire 575 new workers by the end of 2012. Cree has 1850 full-time staff at its three Durham sites and has hired 350 this year, according to chief operating officer Stephen Kelley in The Durham News.

The new jobs were announced at Cree’s headquarters by North Carolina State Governor Bev Perdue, in the presence of US Senators Richard Burr and Kay Hagan, Rep. David Price, Rep. Brad Miller, and vice chair of the Durham County Commission Ellen Reckhow.

Cree had previously considered expanding in China (where it already has a plant) and Malaysia, which allowed the firm to qualify for state incentives. Consequently, on 13 September, Durham County Commissioners approved up to $2m in tax incentives for Cree, of which $825,000 is reserved for training new staff (for up to 75 Durham residents).

In addition, to help pay for the estimated 244 full-time jobs and 86 jobs for contractor to be created, North Carolina state Economic Investment Committee has awarded Cree a Job Development Investment Grant (a rebate covering a portion of state employee withholding taxes if new job creation goals are met) worth up to $2.236m over 10 years.

See related items:

Cree reports annual revenue up 53% as LED lighting sales double year-on-year

Search: Cree LEDs 150mm LED wafers


For more on Cree: Latest issue of Semiconductor Today