SkyWater Expanding with Florida Facility to Accelerate Domestic Advanced Packaging Capabilities for Microelectronics Manufacturing
BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – January 26, 2021 – SkyWater Technology, the only U.S.-owned and operated pure play Trusted foundry, today announced a public-private partnership with Osceola County, Florida and BRIDG to accelerate access to domestic development and manufacturing services for microelectronics advanced packaging. SkyWater has established a subsidiary, SkyWater Florida, to assume operation of the Center for NeoVation, a state-of-the-art 200 mm semiconductor manufacturing facility that will become the foundation for the company’s leading-edge advanced packaging technology services. SkyWater will utilize the 109,000 square foot facility, with approximately 36,000 square feet of cleanroom space, to rapidly address emerging commercial and government agency needs for U.S.-sourced electronics.
SkyWater Florida will take over operation of the Center for NeoVation and will partner with BRIDG, a non-profit organization created to focus on advanced research, development, and manufacturing for next generation microelectronics. SkyWater will support BRIDG with multiple Department of Defense contracts, illustrating how U.S.-based public-private partnerships can play a significant role in securing the nation’s semiconductor supply chain. A signing ceremony between SkyWater, the County of Osceola, and BRIDG took place on January 25, 2021 at the Center for NeoVation.
Through this new endeavor, SkyWater is further expanding its growing portfolio of leading-edge manufacturing capabilities and value chain services for its customers. This synergistic combination of process R&D, wafer fabrication and advanced packaging technology services provides SkyWater’s customers with powerful competitive advantages including supply chain transparency, robust IP protection and an accelerated time to market.
The U.S. Congress has acknowledged the importance of advanced packaging for microelectronics through the recently enacted, bi-partisan National Defense Authorization Act of 2021 which proposes billions of dollars of financial incentives in support of domestic semiconductor development and manufacturing. According to Dr. Brad Ferguson, SkyWater’s chief technology officer and senior government relations executive, “Through the partnership of SkyWater and BRIDG, the Center for NeoVation will immediately serve as an epicenter for reshoring advanced packaging capabilities while also driving the realization of state of the art heterogenous integration solutions.”
The ability to create higher-performance and ever-smaller electronic devices is enhanced by many technologies outside of the traditional Moore’s Law scaling paradigm, particularly the way integrated circuits (ICs) are packaged together. Unlike the more conventional method of dicing a wafer into individual circuits and then packaging the discrete chips, advanced packaging, i.e., 2.5D and 3D system-in-package (SiP), refers to a variety of advanced packaging methods including multi-chip integration, various wafer or die level bonding and unique interconnect concepts, including interposers. These approaches offer numerous advantages that result in lower power consumption, increased I/O density, reduced form factors, and improved electrical and mechanical performance.
“We see demand for domestic advanced packaging capabilities firsthand from our customers as we co-create emerging disruptive technologies. Our vision is to establish another SkyWater center of excellence in the U.S. that will broaden the company’s ability to serve as a ‘one-stop shop’ for process innovation, wafer fabrication and advanced packaging,” said Thomas Sonderman, SkyWater’s president and chief executive officer. “We are investing in these new capabilities today because they are critical to our customers’ product roadmaps and ultimately, to their continued success.”
“SkyWater’s strong government agency relationships and clear commitment to public-private partnerships will provide unparalleled support for the Center for NeoVation’s government programs and enable seamless continuation of existing contracts with the Department of Defense,” said Osceola Commission Chairman Brandon Arrington. “We are very pleased to have SkyWater assume operation of the facility and help advance the County’s objectives and investment in establishing a high-tech economy. With SkyWater’s leadership and expertise, we are confident in the future success of the Center for NeoVation.”
About SkyWater Technology
SkyWater is the only U.S.-owned and U.S.-based pure play semiconductor foundry and is a DOD-accredited Trusted supplier, specializing in custom technology development services and volume manufacturing for integrated circuits and micro devices. Through its Technology Foundry model, SkyWater’s world-class operations and unique processing capabilities enable mixed-signal CMOS, power, rad-hard and ROIC solutions. SkyWater’s Advanced Technology Services empower development of superconducting and 3D ICs, along with carbon nanotube, photonic and MEMS devices. The company serves customers in growing markets such as aerospace & defense, automotive, biomedical, cloud & computing, consumer, industrialand IoT. For more information, please visit: www.skywatertechnology.com/.
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Center for NeoVation FAQs
There is a growing demand for unique and increasingly differentiated packaging solutions. We see this need for advanced packaging firsthand from our customers as we co-create new disruptive technologies.
The partnership with Osceola County and BRIDG supports our vision to expand SkyWater’s ability to serve our customers’ growing needs. By extending our value chain, we provide a total solution from process innovation and wafer fabrication to advanced packaging, all in a Trusted, secure environment.
Another very attractive element is the Center of NeoVation’s engagement with imec, a world-leading technology research and development powerhouse. We will continue this engagement and hope to expand the site’s offerings with other exciting technologies from imec.
How soon after the agreement is signed will SkyWater assume operations at the Center for NeoVation?
There was a grant from the Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration (EDA) which requires the approval of any lease assignment. Osceola County has already begun the approval process with EDA, and once EDA approves, SkyWater will take over responsibility for the site. In parallel with EDA approval, SkyWater will begin engaging with the site starting February 1, 2021.
The University of Central Florida (UCF), former operator of the Center for NeoVation, will continue assisting with transition services through the end of February. UCF has already started the process of bringing the facility from its idle state back online. Once startup is finished, SkyWater will begin the process of qualifying the equipment and production capabilities.
Wafer processing will resume as soon as we can safely and efficiently restore operational capability to the facility and the wafer processing tools, hopefully as soon as early Q2. Production is planned to start at the end of 2021.
We will begin by hiring technicians and engineers as we resume operations. Former BRIDG employees and any other qualified applicants will be considered for available positions. As the business scales up at the Florida facility, we will ramp up hiring to meet those needs. At full capacity, we estimate the site will support 220 jobs in a variety of roles.
Yes. There are three existing government programs with BRIDG that are positioned to restart as soon as the facility is ready. These programs were put on hold last year and will start up again as soon as the machines are qualified and running. We have also had many discussions with other U.S. government and commercial customers who have interest in advanced packaging capabilities.
SkyWater, a pure-play foundry, thrives by serving the needs of a diverse customer base with our fabrication technology. We already engage with multiple other foundries in our Minnesota fab, and SkyWater Florida will gladly engage with government and commercial customers, including other foundries.
The facility is 109,000 sq. ft., which includes ~36,000 sq. ft. of cleanroom manufacturing space. In addition, SkyWater will be leasing office space in the OC office building directly adjacent to the fab.
Through the partnership of SkyWater and BRIDG, the Center for NeoVation will immediately serve as an epicenter for reshoring advanced packaging capabilities while also driving the realization of state of the art heterogenous integration solutions. The initial focus will be on interposers for advanced 2.5D and 3D integration, followed by other advanced packaging technologies.
The U.S. Congress has acknowledged the importance of advanced packaging for microelectronics through the recently enacted, bi-partisan National Defense Authorization Act of 2021, which proposes billions of dollars of financial incentives in support of domestic semiconductor development and manufacturing relating to the fabrication, assembly, testing, advanced packaging, or advanced research and development of semiconductors. The Center for NeoVation is poised to capitalize on this focus.
Yes. BRIDG will be an independent, non-profit entity and will be another channel for customers to engage with the site, along with SkyWater. This partnership is an excellent example of a public-private partnership (PPP) that serves the dual purpose of reshoring microelectronics technology and enabling access to advanced technologies for the U.S. government and commercial markets, all in a secure, production-oriented environment.