ICs Made in Spain by KDPOF
European Commission Selected KDPOF along with Three Spanish Companies Getting Access to the 8.1 billion Euro Investment IPCEI for Chip Development
Madrid (Spain) June 27, 2023 – KDPOF (leading supplier for high-speed connectivity over fiber optics in harsh environments) proudly announced that the European Commission has granted access to the 8.1 billion European investment IPCEI for their projected packaging plant for optoelectronic devices in Spain. “The funding supports us in making our plans of manufacturing ICs in Europe come true in the near future,” stated Carlos Pardo, CEO and Co-founder of KDPOF. “European fabs only manufacture approximately 10 percent of semiconductors worldwide, making us dependent on Asia and the United States. We will pioneer the manufacturing of automotive optoelectronics in Spain in high volume, thus reducing this dependency.”
Close to their headquarter in Tres Cantos, Madrid, KDPOF is advancing a high-quality packaging factory for state-of-the-art optoelectronic devices. In addition, KDPOF is developing a new and innovative optoelectronics packaging technology. It will be applied for the first time to produce the upcoming transceiver IC for high-speed automotive optical communications. Incorporating AI, sensors, and processors in self-driving vehicles requires KDPOF's technology to interconnect all components robustly and inexpensively using fiber optic links within the vehicle. Since 2014, with the launch of the first transceiver, KDPOF leads high-speed optical communications for the automotive industry and has international clients like Daimler.
The manufacture of a chip consists of three fundamental processes: the first is the creation of a silicon wafer that serves as the basis for the microchip, the second is the assembly, and the third is the testing to ensure quality. It is these last two steps that KDPOF brings to Tres Cantos. “The manufacturing of the silicon wafer is a process that requires very large volumes to be profitable, and for a small company it can hardly be profitable,” added Carlos Pardo. “For the latter two phases, which are packaging and testing, the machines needed are relatively inexpensive. These stages can be done at more reasonable volumes, as we have now in the automotive industry. We’re excited about building an encapsulation and testing factory in Madrid for large volumes.”
EU Funding for Microelectronics in Europe
The European Commission has approved, under EU State aid rules, an “Important Project of Common European Interest” (IPCEI) to support research, innovation and the first industrial deployment of microelectronics and communication technologies across the value chain. The project, called “IPCEI ME/CT”, was jointly prepared and announced by fourteen member states: Austria, Czechia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Spain. The member states will provide up to 8.1 billion Euro in public funding, which is expected to unlock an additional 13.7 billion Euro in private investments.
There are 56 companies participating in this project. Among the Spanish companies are Innova IRV Microelectronics, KDPOF, Openchip, and Semidynamics Technology Services. The proposal has a deadline of development in 2032, although the intent is that the commercialization of products will take place beginning in 2025. It is also expected that these 68 projects will generate a total of 8,700 direct jobs.
Fabless semiconductor supplier KDPOF provides innovative high-speed optical networking for harsh environments. KDPOF made gigabit communications overstep-index plastic optical fiber (SI-POF) a reality for automotive. Founded in 2010 in Madrid, Spain, KDPOF offers its cost-effective technology as a fully qualified automotive-grade ASSP. KDPOF’s technology makes use of innovative digital adaptive algorithms to maximize the receiver’s sensitivity. This supports high-yield and reliable optoelectronics production in low-cost bulk CMOS deep submicron nodes, delivering carmakers low risk, low cost, and short time-to-market.
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