GLENROTHES, Scotland, Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Raytheon today officially "opened for business" a new UK-leading silicon carbide manufacturing "foundry" facility, developed through several years' research into advanced manufacturing processes and materials science. The application of silicon carbide in electronic systems will place the UK in a leading position to develop next-generation, high-efficiency, smaller, low-weight power conversion products used in harsh environments across the automotive, aerospace, geothermal explorations, oil and gas, and clean energy sectors.
The Secretary of State for Scotland, the Rt. Hon. Michael Moore, who opened the foundry, said: "Today marks an important demonstration of what we can achieve in the UK through collaboration. The silicon carbide foundry is the first of its kind in the UK and represents the fusion of Raytheon's investment in UK manufacturing technology with university expertise, backed by UK Government funding from the Technology Strategy Board. This scientific and engineering endeavour born out of Raytheon Glenrothes has placed Scotland in a unique leadership position globally, enhanced by universities across the UK. The investment has created a team of world-class engineering specialists working in the production of silicon carbide devices and systems designed to operate at high temperatures, specialists who will continue to shape and influence advanced manufacturing processes and technologies."
Raytheon's ability to process silicon carbide utilizes high-temperature annealing and high-temperature/high-voltage ion implantation. The components provide unique properties in electronics: silicon carbide has the ability to operate at higher voltages and greater temperatures than pure silicon, and at a third of the weight and volume -- improving operational performance and reducing system operating costs. Raytheon is the first company to have successfully tested silicon carbide circuit devices at temperatures up to 400 degrees Celsius.
Bob Delorge, chief executive, Raytheon UK, said: "Raytheon's investment in the foundry coupled with support from the Technology Strategy Board exceeds £3.5 million to date. This places the company at the start of a journey to exploit new global markets for this cost-efficient material, which is estimated to bring significant new business to Raytheon in Scotland in the coming years. As well as employing industry-leading engineers and scientists, we have made substantial commitments to develop new engineering talent to maintain our technological edge in high temperature silicon carbide. We are supporting Ph.D. students and undergraduates, and we are giving apprentices and young graduates the opportunity to develop their careers in this new and exciting arena of next-generation semiconductor technology.
"What was previously unachievable is now possible with silicon carbide," he added, "as it allows for smaller and lighter electronics to operate in harsh environments, and addresses a real customer need for significant energy efficiency savings in the manufacture of power switching and rectifying components (AC/DC converters)."
Ian Watson, director of the aerospace, defense, security and space trade organization, ADS Scotland, said: "Today we see Raytheon UK gearing up for future success -- through investment, collaboration and diversification. At ADS, we know one of the main challenges industry faces as it looks to the future is continuing technological discovery to stay ahead of global competition. To address this challenge, it is vital that industry and academia work together to advance technology and fully explore commercial applications. Raytheon's new facility at Glenrothes is a brilliant example of this and shows the company to be confident not only about its own future, but also the future of the United Kingdom as a home to market leading innovation.
"This sector with companies such as Raytheon that operate in Scotland contributes billions in sales, millions in R&D and thousands in jobs. It demonstrates exactly why aerospace and defense are at the heart of the economy and why their success is crucial to our overall future economic prospects."
About Raytheon UK
Raytheon Glenrothes has more than 500 people employed in hi-tech engineering-related jobs. Raytheon UK is a subsidiary of Raytheon Company. It is a prime contractor and major supplier to the UK Ministry of Defence and has developed strong capabilities in mission systems integration in defense, national security and commercial markets. Raytheon UK also designs, develops and manufactures a range of high-technology electronic systems and software at facilities in Harlow, Glenrothes, Uxbridge, Waddington and Broughton.
Raytheon Company, with 2012 sales of $24 billion and 68,000 employees worldwide, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 91 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems; as well as a broad range of mission support services. Raytheon is headquartered in Waltham, Mass. For more about Raytheon, visit us at www.raytheon.com and follow us on Twitter @raytheon.
Notes to Editors
Raytheon's leadership in silicon carbide is based on research and development into advanced manufacturing processes and technology. This has been aided by collaborative partnerships between Raytheon Glenrothes, UK academia and specific project funding from the UK government's Technology Strategy Board.
The collaboration to date is as follows:
Advising on the characterization of silicon carbide.
University of Strathclyde
Funded by the UK government's Technology Strategy Board, the University of Strathclyde has worked with Raytheon on the High Temperature Silicon Carbide (HiTSiC) program.
Newcastle University is actively working as an advisor to Raytheon on the HiTSiC program.
Heriot Watt University
Currently working with Raytheon to design and build packaging solutions for harsh environments.
University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh worked with Raytheon to conduct market research on the exploitation of disruptive technologies.
Partnered with Raytheon to develop silicon carbide technology for the Pro Drive initiative.
Technology Strategy Board
The Technology Strategy Board is the UK government's main channel to support business-led technology innovation. Its role is to stimulate and accelerate technology development and innovation in the areas which offer the greatest potential for boosting UK growth and productivity. It delivers a range of grant programs to support businesses, including collaborative R&D competitions, Smart and Knowledge Transfer. For more information visit: https://www.gov.uk/technology-strategy-board
SOURCE Raytheon Company