Plastic Logic, a developer of plastic electronics and One NorthEast (ONE), the Regional Development Agency for the North East, announced today that planning permission had been granted for a new 30,000sq ft Technology Center to be built in NetPark, a technology park in Sedgefield, County Durham. Construction is expected to start in 4Q 2005, with the new Centre coming on-stream in the first half of 2007.
The Technology Center will play a central role in developing a plastic electronics manufacturing infrastructure in the North East. This is expected to make a significant contribution to regional employment and economic development. Independent experts IDTechEx forecast the global market for plastic or organic electronics could reach $30Bn by 2015 and up to $250Bn by 2025.
The UK already has a leading position in plastic electronics R&D with an especially strong cluster of activity in and around Cambridge. The Technology Center will initially install a pilot line based on the process and technology developed by Plastic Logic at its existing mini-fab in Cambridge. This will be used to develop advanced manufacturing processes and provide low volume production for early customers.
It is intended that the Center will be an open access facility for the entire European plastic electronics community, with safeguards to protect the intellectual property and trade secrets of each participant. Its development is being coordinated by Cenamps, a centre of excellence set up by ONE to bridge the gap between universities and businesses. Once operational, it is intended that the Centre will be managed by an independent not-for-profit company to be established in the coming months.
It is anticipated that the initial costs to establish the Center and instigate development projects will be in excess of £20Mn. Funding is currently being secured from a number of sources, including national and regional government, as well as industrial partners such as Plastic Logic, DuPont Teijin Films, Merck Chemical, Xaar and Xennia. These confirmed industrial partners will provide much of the materials, process and applications knowledge. It is expected that leading research universities including Cambridge, Durham and Newcastle will also be important partners.
Chris Pywell, Head of Innovation, Industry & Science at One NorthEast said "The Center is a strategic priority for our £200Mn flagship programme, the Strategy for Success. We have been particularly encouraged by the strong business backing for the further development of regional excellence in plastic electronics and direct write technologies."
Plastic Logic Chairman Lord Broers (currently also President of the Royal Academy of Engineering and Chairman of the House of Lords Committee on Science and Technology) said "The UK has produced absolutely world class research in plastic electronics. Now is exactly the right time to gear up for manufacturing." Stuart Evans, CEO of Plastic Logic added "Plastic electronics is entering a new phase: the race is on from research & invention, to customers & products. This new Center will make a major contribution in ensuring the UK retains a leading position as this new industry develops."
For more information see www.plasticlogic.com .