27 July 2022
North East Advanced Material Electronics cluster launched in UK
The North East Advanced Material Electronics (NEAME) cluster group has been formal launched, with a mission to highlight and promote the region as a centre of excellence for advanced compound semiconductor technology design and manufacture.
NEAME is a cluster led by CEOs and other senior decision makers in the North East electronics industry, with the intention of providing a central voice both to raise the profile of the region and to help its members to address their main challenges and opportunities profitably.
The sector makes a significant contribution to the regional economy and is projected to contribute £447m gross value-added by 2026, with the potential to create and support around 4500 jobs.
International factors mean that all companies in the sector face significant supply chain challenges. Led by chief executives and other senior decision makers, NEAME will act as a single voice to raise the profile of the region’s competencies and address the main challenges and opportunities for advanced material electronics.
Since electronic components based on compound semiconductor materials (like gallium nitride) can outperform silicon devices in speed, size and energy efficiency, they can power transformational applications including electric and autonomous vehicles, satellite and 5G/6G communications, energy decarbonization, IoT (Internet of Things) sensors and computer imaging technologies, it is noted.
Picture: (Back row L-R): TechWorks’ CEO Alan Banks; PragmatIC’s Ken Williamson; Filtronic’s Richard Gibbs; Viper-RF’s Jim Mayock; Evince’s Gareth Taylor; Axenic’s Steve Clements; Isocom’s Thomas Bayat and (front row L-R): Business Durham’s Elaine Scott, NMI director Jillian Hughes; and MP Paul Howell.
“NEAME is an opportunity to showcase this region’s strength within advanced material electronics,” says Richard Gibbs, CEO of Filtronic.
“The North East of England is a powerhouse for innovation and quality in advanced material electronics,” reckons Ken Williamson, chief operating officer of Pragmatic. “At Pragmatic we have demonstrated our commitment with our investment in PragmatIC Park; we believe this represents the future of UK semiconductor manufacturing”
High-tech companies within a 25-mile radius of Sedgefield include Kromek — the world’s largest cadmium zinc telluride (CZT) facility — at NETPark, where it is developing and manufacturing radiation detection devices. Filtronic (which, like Kromek, is a recent winner of a UK Queens Award for Enterprise – International Trade) designs and manufactures high-frequency electronic modules that connect telecommunications systems in space and for terrestrial 5G mobile networks.
In addition, after last year raising $90m in its Series C funding round, PragmatIC is the first large-scale semiconductor manufacturing facility to be announced in the UK for several decades and will house the first 300mm fab in the country. Evince Technology is developing an innovative process to manufacture electronic devices on synthetic diamond substrates.
“The North East continues to pioneer and develop new technologies that can have a huge impact on a global scale,” stated Paul Howell, MP for Sedgefield, who officially launched NEAME. “The formation of the NEAME highlights the strength of the region’s growing advanced material electronics sector and presents an opportunity to develop the skills and the jobs of the future, establishing the North East as a global hub for this technology,” he added.
“NMI are delighted to be continuing our support of the UK semiconductor industry by hosting the announcement of the NEAME during our annual conference,” commented Jillian Hughes, director of the National Microelectronics Institute (the industry trade body for electronic systems in the UK & Ireland), who hosted the launch. “During the last 25 years we have supported the semiconductor design, manufacturing and supplier communities adding value through collaboration, networking and knowledge sharing.”