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$240m Chinese IGBT plant uses UK technology

10 July, 2014

A Chinese semiconductor manufacturer, Zhuzhou CSR Times Electric Co, has inaugurated a $240m IGBT (insulated gate bipolar transistor) production plant – said to be the first of its kind in China, and the second worldwide – incorporating technology developed by its UK subsidiary, Dynex Semiconductor.

The new plant, located in Zhuzhou, will make high-power IGBT chips and modules using eight-inch silicon wafers. In the first phase of operation, output is expected to reach 120,000 wafers and 1 million IGBT modules per year.

The new IGBT line is being operated by CSR’s newly formed semiconductor business. Dynex is its European subsidiary.

The technology being used in the new facility has been developed in the multinational CSR Zhuzhou R&D Centre, located at Dynex’s UK site in Lincoln. The centre was established in 2010 to focus on leading-edge power semiconductor technology and, specifically, on the next generation of IGBT products.

The new production line has taken more than two years to build. During this process, Dynex provided technical advice, support and staff training, both in Lincoln and in China.

Taylor: working on the next generation of silicon and silicon carbide power devices

IGBTs are a key component in high-efficiency electric energy conversion systems used in variable-speed drives, trains, electric and hybrid electric vehicles, power grids and renewable energy plants. The new line will initially produce high-power modules using the latest soft-punch-through field-stop and trench technologies.

“Since the acquisition of Dynex by CSR Times Electric in 2008, there has been a rapid development in our IGBT capability,” says Dr Paul Taylor, president and CEO of Dynex. “We began with four–inch wafers, then upgraded to six-inch at our plant in Lincoln. We then extended our technology to support the design of this new facility. It complements our base in the UK by giving us access to a world-leading eight-inch IGBT wafer fabrication facility and a high-volume module assembly line.

“Our rapid development does not stop there,” he adds. “The new line has been kitted out with the latest equipment, and the next phase of expansion is already being planned. This targets key markets such as electric automotive and renewable energy. So at our UK R&D Centre, we are already working on designing the next generation of advanced silicon and silicon carbide power devices, and are busy recruiting new staff to expand our multinational research, design and development teams to meet this exciting new challenge.”

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