A US laser technology company has acquired the troubled RFMD plant in Newton Aycliffe.
The Aycliffe Business Park site was set to be closed down with the loss of 200 jobs, but Arizona-based Compound Photonics has stepped in.
RFMD, a designer and manufacturer of high-performance radio frequency solutions, said in March that it expects to phase out manufacturing at the Aycliffe facility and move GaAs manufacturing to its GaAs HBT manufacturing facility in North Carolina, USA.
But Compound Photonics says it will use the 50,000 square feet facility to manufacture green, red and infrared lasers for its miniature 1080p projectors for mobile devices, ultra high-definition 4K projectors and automotive head up displays.
We suspect not all 200 jobs will be saved, with official confirmation on exact numbers expected soon.
Compound Photonics president and CEO Jonathan Sachs said: “We will soon release projector products for mobile devices that are three times brighter and smaller than current state of the art.
“To achieve these next generation levels of performance we need to vertically integrate the design and manufacture of the entire light engine.
“This acquisition will bring in-house the manufacturing capabilities for the lasers required to power these engines.
“The skilled and experienced people, the fab with its toolset, supply chain, mature processes, and a track record of high volume production are ready made for our laser production.“
The Newton Aycliffe facility will complement Compound Photonics’ 40,000 square-foot semiconductor processing facility in Phoenix, Arizona, where it manufactures liquid crystal on silicon displays and optics systems for its laser projection light engines.
More details about the deal are expected this afternoon.