Announcement posted by BluGlass 25 Mar 2020
Sydney, 25 March 2020: BluGlass, the global leader in remote plasma chemical vapour deposition (RPCVD) technology for the manufacture of high-performance semiconductor devices, took an early decision to move to dual development and manufacturing shifts the moment the Covid-19 risk increased last week.
Based at Silverwater in Sydney's west, the company, which was spun out of Macquarie University and listed on the ASX in 2006, has been accelerating its preparations to commercialise its patented RPCD process for application in the manufacture of laser diodes. BluGlass announced a new business stream to address this market last October, with a service addressable market estimated by the company at U$658 million.
In response to a negative test result for suspected Covid-19, BluGlass took just 24 hours to extend its manufacturing working day and then split its operations into two, each team operating independently of each other, one shift running from 5:30am to 1:00pm, the second from 1:10pm to 8:00pm each day. Neither team has physical contact with the other, and formal planning and handover calls take place every morning. Between shifts, the BluGlass research and production labs, extended last August, are deep-cleaned.
"That we were able to plan and act on these changes in 24 hours was only possible because of the dedication and commitment of the BluGlass team," says Giles Bourne, Managing Director and CEO of BluGlass. "We've made good progress into the technology milestones we need to deliver since we first announced our new laser diode business unit. We want to continue our R&D and production output of our specialist wafers and tunnel junctions, used in the production of cascade LEDs and laser diodes, both of which promise new solutions to some of the major challenges still entrenched in the manufacture of high-performance photonics devices around the world.
"On the broader context around Covid-19, BluGlass is presently in good shape. Our supplies of raw material and consumables, including wafer substrates, is good, with plenty of stock here in Sydney, and a key partner for our new global laser diode supply chain is currently exempt from restrictions in the US. We can also continue to ship finished semiconductor products to customers and partners."
The BluGlass management and board will continue to monitor the health and welfare of employees, and make adjustments to this new regime as the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic play out in Australia and overseas.
"Subject to any significant changes that may well take place over the next week or so, we still believe we're on track to deliver laser diodes commercially by the end of this calendar year," says Giles Bourne. "Even if we are forced to close the facility as a result of a directive from the State or Federal Government, we're confident this will only delay final ramp-up, rather than otherwise impede the business plan."
BluGlass’ patented RPCVD platform and unique tunnel junction capabilities offer laser diode manufacturers a number of performance and cost advantages over the industry incumbent technology. Benefits include higher performing devices, reduced optical loss, and productivity and cost improvements.
The ability rapidly to change manufacturing and development operations is part of a larger strategy to accelerate the commercialisation of RPCVD. BluGlass has published an independent expert report into its technology and operations, and has announced a non-renounceable entitlement offer to eligible shareholders. The rights issue presents top-up facilities for existing investors and opportunities for new investors.
BluGlass Limited (ASX: BLG) is a global leader in the commercialisation of new technology for the manufacture of LED semiconductors and other devices.
BluGlass has invented new manufacturing processes based on its patented Remote Plasma Chemical Vapour Deposition (RPCVD) technology to grow semiconductor materials such as gallium nitride (GaN) and indium gallium nitride (InGaN), substances that are crucial to the production of high-efficiency light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and other photoelectronic devices. These LEDs can be used in a variety of high-performance applications that include next-generation vehicle lighting, virtual reality systems, device screens, and power electronics applications.
BluGlass’ RPCVD manufacturing process offers benefits over existing alternatives: it’s cooler, uses chemicals less hazardous to the environment, delivers LEDs that are brighter across a broader spectrum, is lower-cost, can be used in a variety of semiconductor manufacturing options, can be scaled, and can be used to replace existing LED and silicon manufacturing devices.
BluGlass was spun off from Macquarie University in 2005 and listed in 2006.
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