International Rectifier opens wafer plant here

CALIFORNIA-BASED International Rectifier, a world leader in power management technology, opened a state-of-the-art wafer processing facility here late last month.

The multimillion-dollar facility in Kaki Bukit, the company's first in Asia, will process a variety of semiconductors used in electric vehicles, networking equipment and home appliances.

The company will also do research here, developing new technologies to make power semiconductors smaller, more efficient and more reliable.

Mr Terence Gan, director of electronics at the Economic Development Board (EDB), who spoke at the opening of the plant, said local research institutes and universities will support its research here.

They include the Institute of Microelectronics, the Centre for Power Electronics at the National University of Singapore and the Virtus IC Design Centre of Excellence at the Nanyang Technological University.

International Rectifier will employ 135 people in manufacturing and research in total. It is among the five top-10 power semiconductor companies with manufacturing or research activities here. The other four are Infineon, STMicroelectronics, Fairchild and Renesas.

The power electronics industry is expected to expand at an 8 per cent compounded annual growth rate to 2020. This would be faster than the growth of the global semiconductor industry which is rising at 5 per cent, said Mr Gan.

A key driver of the growth in the power electronics industry is the global effort to go green, he said.

According to the latest International Energy Outlook 2013, the amount of electricity generated globally is expected to almost double from 2010 to 2030 - driven by, among other things, rapid urbanisation in developing countries.

The company's facility will contribute to making the planet cleaner and greener as its high-efficiency power semiconductors will contribute to this effort.

For example, they will make electric vehicles travel farther and make solar panels more efficient, he added.

Company chairman Richard Dahl and president and chief executive Oleg Khaykin attended the opening of the facility.

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