Allan James, Managing Director of Semefab, reveals how he started the company from scratch using a £500,000 investment and mothballed equipment from previous occupier General Instruments (GI).
Commenting in The Dundee Courier's business desk monthly supplement, Allan takes us through Semefab's journey from start-up in 1986, to the present day employing 120 staff and a £12.5m turnover.
The managing director added: “I didn’t realise what a huge challenge it would be to set up a semiconductor manufacturing plant from scratch on a shoestring.
“I still remember a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach walking into GI’s wafer facility which had been switched off for the best part of a year and pillaged here and there for spare parts, and realising that we had to completely rebuild it from the ground up.”
In 2008, Allan applied successfully for a Government scheme called the Micro and Nano Technology Initiative – this provided £6.8m in matched funding for capital equipment. Meanwhile, Semelab contributed £2m for a new clean room and facilities.
Expansion over the years means Semefab now operates three wafer fabs.
The managing director said: “In my view, the best years for Semefab are yet to come. The reason I say this is that we have substantial spare capacity in our two newer wafer fabs.
“The markets we enjoy in MEMS sensors and power electronics are massive and there are always new and exciting opportunities presenting themselves. We hold a unique position in the UK with the capabilities that are here.
“I won’t be satisfied until Semefab has achieved its potential.”
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