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UK Innovates with Flexible Chip Technology

1. Transforming the UK’s Semiconductor Landscape

In the heart of Durham, UK, Pragmatic Semiconductor is revolutionizing the computer chip industry. Located in a structure that was once a ceramic pipe factory, the company has transformed the space into a state-of-the-art facility for chip manufacturing. This new hub is not just any ordinary production site; it’s a sophisticated center where Pragmatic has already established one fabrication line, with plans to build seven more. The company’s recent influx of £182m ($230m) in funding is a testament to the confidence in their cutting-edge technology and approach.

2. The Advent of Flexible Chips

At the core of Pragmatic’s innovation lies the development of flexible computer chips. Departing from the traditional silicon-based semiconductors, these chips are constructed on a flexible thin film, enabling them to bend. This groundbreaking technology has vast applications, from wearable technology to smart parcel labels, offering a cheaper and faster manufacturing process compared to their silicon counterparts. CEO David Moore highlights the efficiency of their production, capable of completing a chip in less than 48 hours, a fraction of the time taken by traditional methods.

3. Global Semiconductor Industry: Challenges and Opportunities

The semiconductor industry is crucial for powering products from smartphones to washing machines. However, it faces challenges including supply chain disruptions and geopolitical tensions, especially considering that 90% of the world’s most advanced chips come from Asia. The global shortage in 2021 highlighted the industry’s dependency on a few key suppliers. In response, governments worldwide are investing heavily in domestic chip production, with initiatives like the US Chips Act and the EU’s €43bn project. This strategic shift aims to reduce dependency on Asian manufacturers and strengthen local industries.