“We are tremendously fortunate to have retained many of the leading engineers and scientists who played an integral role in developing Plessey’s unique combination of production processes and innovative products,” said Michael LeGoff, Managing Director, Plessey Semiconductors. “Plessey built its reputation on being able to create niche market opportunities from technologically advanced solutions. We are continuing with this business model because it enables us to stand out from the crowd of semiconductor vendors who are all competing with the same components manufactured in the same fabs in Asia. By providing innovative solutions that are non-standard, we are competing successfully on the world stage. Plessey is the semiconductor manufacturer of choice for people with unique requirements demanding something a little bit different.”
The dominance of digital means that analogue and mixed signal are almost becoming forgotten skills yet they provide the vital interface between the digital world of electronic processing and the real world which is analogue. Since its inception fifty years ago, Plessey has been a centre of excellence for mixed signal and high performance analogue. “The digital world of memory and data processing is important and has its own special requirements in terms of design and manufacture,” explained LeGoff, “but the analogue world is a special area where you need to be able to trade off different variables to arrive at the best result -- that takes years of experience and skill. Many of our engineers have been doing this work for decades forming an unmatched core of knowledge that we use to train new engineers to continue this skill set.”
Plessey is focusing on its core competencies in finding solutions for sensing, measurement and control applications across a range of markets including medical, defence, automotive, manufacturing, and space. The Plessey product portfolio consists of RF components, sensors and power management devices that take advantage of the high packing densities, high operating frequencies and sensing capabilities of Plessey’s process technologies.
Plessey’s headquarters in Plymouth houses both their 6-inch and 8-inch semiconductor manufacturing lines. Plessey has developed and continues to develop its own process technologies to meet the requirements for its product roadmap. For example, Plessey has been a market leader for many years in high reliability, radiation tolerant components that use the company’s Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) processes. It has just announced that it will be extending its chip manufacturing capabilities to include silicon germanium (SiGe) for BiCMOS 70- to 90-GHz RF devices.
LeGoff summed up Plessey Semiconductors as focussing on being world class for service, innovation and responsiveness. “Together with our relationships right through British industry, we have everything in house to ensure we provide the best possible solution.”