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PragmatIC leads £2.4 million sustainability project

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Maker of flexible IZGO circuits to accelerate the decarbonisation of semiconductor manufacturing

PragmatIC Semiconductor, a UK company making flexible electronics based on IGZO (In, Ga, Zinc Oxide) TFT semiconductor technology, is leading a £2.4 million project with funding provided by the Made Smarter Innovation: Smart Sustainable Factory Challenge at UK Research and Innovation.

The INSPIRE project will develop and deploy new digital technologies within PragmatIC’s FlexLogIC semiconductor fabrication facilities, to drive improved resource efficiency and reduce the environmental impact of manufacturing operations. To make IGZO FlexLogIC devices, PragmatIC uses a proprietary manufacturing process that deposits layers of IGZO TFTs, resistors and metal layers onto a 200 mm wafer of polyimide.

Specifically, the funding will focus on innovation that will help to accelerate the decarbonisation of semiconductor manufacturing, by optimising the consumption, quality, and recovery of resources across wafer processing, tools, and facilities. The smart factory approaches developed will demonstrate how sustainability can become a measure of fab performance by manufacturers globally.

Scott White, CEO of PragmatIC Semiconductor added “We have already developed semiconductor devices that are significantly more cost-effective and sustainable than traditional silicon chips – and now we are excited to lead the way in new manufacturing technologies that will reduce our environmental impact even further. Ultimately, we aim to develop and define best-in-class sustainable semiconductor manufacturing practices, to accelerate decarbonisation and improve resource efficiency within the industry.”

New manufacturing technologies of interest will include: sensors for capturing resource usage and quality – water, chemicals, gases and energy; AI and machine learning algorithms, aggregating operational, tools and facilities data to drive optimisation; active water and energy management, minimising consumption and maximising recovery; and ensuring operational performance, including measures of capacity, cycle time, equipment performance, process variation and yield improvement.

To realise these aspirations, PragmatIC Semiconductor is working alongside partners such as DevTank, Innoflow and SUEZ.

Commenting on their role in the project, Ben Harding, regional VP for UK and Ireland, SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions said: “Water scarcity and carbon emissions are issues that impact us on a global scale. INSPIRE is a unique opportunity to apply our 'Insight' digital monitoring platform to measure and optimise consumption, determining best practices for minimising carbon footprint and environmental impact within microelectronics and other manufacturing sectors.”

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