IC assembly/test resource may disappear from Europe with facility closure

October 22, 2013 // By Peter Clarke
Chip test and assembly firm Unisem Berhad headquartered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, has announced plans to close its UK facility at Crumlin,South Wales, by the end of 2013 with a loss of 45 jobs.

The plant – one of the last facilities in Europe able to do full assembly production and test from wafers-in, through initial probing and on to die-bonding and packaging – looks set to close unless investors can be found to fund a rescue buyout.

Andrew Perry, general manager of Unisem's Crumlin facility told EE Times Europe that he is in discussions with a couple of interested parties but there is nothing definite.

According to local reports quoting a Unisem Group spokesperson there has been a significant drop in orders and revenues for the facility since 2010.  The site has about 8,000 square metres of production space and Class 1,000 clean rooms. The plant was designed for up to 1,100 workers and to operate 24 hours a day. "We only occupy about 25% of the space," said Perry.

The purpose-built facility opened in 1995 and Unisem in Wales has been provided packaging and test services to small volume semiconductor manufacturers and startups since it acquired it in 2004. "The service is not available elsewhere in Europe and getting support from southeast Asia for small volume requirements is likely to be difficult and expensive," Perry said.

He added that the despite the fact that the European Commission has plans to support the chip manufacturing value chain vital skills in packaging and test could be about to disappear from Europe.

Unisem; www.unisemgroup.com