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Plessey adds in-house LED assembly line to UK facility

PLESSEY has added an LED assembly line to its expanding Plymouth UK facility. The company says the assembly line will enable it to focus on its high brightness LED growth plans based around its solid-state lighting and sensing business, taking new products from concept to production in less time whilst also functioning as an innovation centre for next generation LED packages.

The Plessey bespoke assembly line uses a laser saw process and finishes with an automatic test for industry standard PLCC (Plastic, Leadless Chip Carrier) packages.

The line includes die attach, wire bonding, phosphor mixing, encapsulation and singulation, in addition to all the other industry-standard, supporting equipment and processes. Designed specifically around speed and flexibility, the line will provide customers with engineering samples for evaluation and pilot builds ahead of full production.

Mike Snaith, Plessey’s operations director said: “The industrialisation of GaN-on-Silicon LED technology does not end at producing wafers - it also requires as much attention to the back-end processing to ensure that all the benefits we make at wafer level are fully realised in the final product. This is the best way to provide customers with the LED products they need.”

Plessey’s Plymouth facility is already demonstrating returns for this transition, enabling it to build working samples of complete in-house filament prototypes for the new market of LED filament replacement bulbs. The filament prototypes use a dedicated die and assembly, all of which is designed and manufactured within the facility.

Keith Strickland, Plessey’s CTO, added: “The fact that we are recruiting recognised industry shapers from the world of solid-state lighting is a tangible endorsement that the Plessey value

GaN to drive pulsed RF power chip market

MARKETS FOR PULSED RF power devices up to 18GHz are expected to show continued growth over the next five years despite the current economic turmoil and cuts in defense spending. While their association with consumer spending fuels the volatility of many global electronics markets, pulsed RF power devices are supported by quite different priorities. According to market analyst ABI Research, the pulsed RF power semiconductor device market will exceed $300 million by 2019, with GaN driving growth.

“Many RF power semiconductor manufacturers are on a quest to find markets unrelated to mobile wireless infrastructure,” notes ABI Research Director Lance Wilson. “Device prices in wireless infrastructure are falling, and the total available market is flattening out.”

Some markets that use pulsed RF power devices, such as transportation safety and military, are experiencing solid growth even in the midst of today’s

manufacturers are attempting to enter this market space; however, some factors may complicate their efforts. Pulsed RF power device markets are becoming very competitive technologically: GaN and SiC devices are vying for market share along with the more established Si and GaAs based technologies.

economic downturn. These devices are used in radars for military, weather and marine applications, and in the current worldwide upgrade of the air traffic control system. There is also a market segment devoted to the avionics transponder and air navigation market, which is also lifted by the overall air traffic control upgrade.

Intrinsically less “optional” than many consumer markets, these segments are therefore less sensitive to economic upheavals than consumer-driven markets, although they are not totally immune to the macro economy. Understanding this, many semiconductor

12 October 2014 Copyright Compound Semiconductor

However, the market may not be able to support all the new entrants. “Undoubtedly some consolidation will continue to occur. While not guaranteed success, those companies that have a track record working with government agencies and defense contractors are going to have an advantage over those that are new entrants,” adds Wilson.

In the article “The maturing MOSFET” in the August&September 2014 edition of Compound Semiconductor the name of John Palmour, Cree’s chief technology officer, was spelt incorrectly. We apologise for this error.

proposition is both exciting and credible.” The facility brings additional benefit with wafer sawing and going forward, new LED packaging standards will be established to match the benefits made at wafer level. Plessey’s assembly line investment is the start of this cycle of innovation where a revision of the value chain for LEDs and solid-state lighting is taking place.

Plessey’s MaGIC (Manufactured on GaN- on-Si I/C) High Brightness LED (HBLED) technology has won awards for its innovation and ability to cut the cost of LED lighting by using standard silicon manufacturing techniques.

Plessey’s range of products for lighting applications will be on show at LuxLive, ExCel London, 19-20 November.

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