Over the last two years I have invested much time and effort, together with a great deal of support from the members of the Technology Valley Working Group, with the development of plans to bring a new high-tech industry to New Zealand.
The origin of this work began when I was introduced to the owner of US based Trion Technology, Mr Randy Crockett, who after considerable research had made the decision to locate his new business venture, Intrepid Semiconductor NZ Ltd, here in NZ.
Interestingly this decision was based on a number of key factors including:
- Business friendly and trading environment
- Speak English
- Good education
- Quality legal system
- Stable Government
- Safe and internationally remote
- New Zealand has many free trade agreements with other countries
- New high-tech industry fits well with Government Business Growth Agenda
Trion Technology has been, for the last 25 years, manufacturing Plasma Etch and Deposition equipment for the worldwide semiconductor university research and manufacturing industry.
Essentially the manufacturing methods used today are the same that have been used when discrete devices were first invented as a consequence of the establishment of ‘Silicon Valley’ back in the early 1950’s.
For the last 10 years Trion Tech has invested heavily in the research, development and patenting of new environmentally improved manufacturing methods together with the ability to build mini factories at a much reduced cost to that which is currently applicable with this industry.
The application for permanent residency here in NZ for Mr Crockett has been approved and currently we have a mechanical engineer, together with three senior Weltec mechanical engineering students, up in the US undergoing training which will give them the skill sets to assist with the building and maintenance of the initial five fabs after the equipment arrives mid this year.
We are also currently searching for a chemical engineer who can spend a minimum of six months in the US to learn and train for employment back here when the plant is commissioned.
Representatives from both NZTE and The MacDiarmid Institute have inspected the Tempe (sister city of Lower Hutt) based R&D centre both of whom are very keen to have Intrepid Semi established here in NZ.
Discussions have also been held with Victoria University, Otago University, Canterbury University, Wellington Institute of Technology (WelTec) together with Callaghan Innovation with whom Intrepid is desirous of establishing collaborative R&D and training relationships.
A preferred site for the plant in the Hutt Valley has been selected and negotiations have commenced to either purchase or lease this chosen location.
This is an exciting economic development opportunity not only for the Hutt Valley and Wellington Region but also for New Zealand.
The worldwide discrete device market has being growing exponentially with 2014 annual sales predicted to be $US24 Billion. Just a small share of this huge market would significantly increase the value of NZ export revenue.
The Technology Valley Working Group are committed to this initiative which reinforces the Governments Business Growth Agenda, August 2012;
‘Innovation and Science need to play a bigger role in achieving stronger economic growth for New Zealand’