General Electric will be leaving the New York Power Electronics Manufacturing Consortium, but state officials don’t expect that to have much impact on Quad-C in Marcy.
General Electric has worked with SUNY Polytechnic Institute to set up a state-of-the-art silicon carbide wafer manufacturing line in Albany, which now is operational. Plans called for GE to set up dicing operations to separate the chips from the wafers at Quad-C. GE also recruited Danfoss Silicon Power to come to Quad-C to establish an operation to package chips into power modules.
“GE’s plans in Utica remain on track,” said Todd Alhart, director of media relations for GE Global Research. “We remain committed to establishing the dicing facility and to creating a packaging R&D Lab with Danfoss.”
State and GE officials described the changes as the natural progression as the research and development phase ends in Albany and the fabrication line is ready for production.
The original agreement between the state and GE ends Sunday, according to GE.
Danfoss has hired its first 11 workers at Quad-C and is recruiting more. Officials have said they expect to begin production in April or May with the first shift reaching full production by the end of 2018.
Danfoss did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“SUNY Polytechnic Institute has always planned to run the silicon carbide line in what is now the world’s most advanced facility for SiC device R&D and manufacturing,” said Steve Ference, director of university communications for SUNY Polytechnic Institute. “The initiative is moving from the first phase, which included the successful installation of tools and their qualification — with output surpassing everyone’s expectations — to the second phase, featuring the production of power electronics chips as SUNY Poly works with GE and other potential industry partners on utilizing the line.”
GE will be less prevalent — no longer providing half the staff working on the fabrication line — but that doesn’t mean GE won’t still be involved, said another state officials speaking on background. GE and SUNY Poly are in talks about the potential production of GE chips in Albany, officials said.
And GE was never expected to be the only company having chips manufactured in Albany, the official said. SUNY Poly is looking for other companies, he said.
The wafers produced at SUNY Poly in Albany have been turning out better than expected for a new fabrication line, with a much higher ratio of good chips than expected, officials said, adding that that kind of high quality will help to attract more partners.