BES completes world-leading £8.1 million compound semiconductor innovation centre

Date published: 29 December 2019


Heywood company BES has completed an £8.1 million design and build project to deliver in the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster in south Wales for Compound Semiconductor Applications (CSA) Catapult. 

The world-leading Catapult Innovation Centre will drive advances in compound semiconductor technology and applications, enabling the UK to spearhead future technologies, including autonomous vehicles, 5G mobile networks, renewable energy and the Internet of Things (IoT).

Working like a silicon chip but with a higher performance, compound semiconductors are essential components inside many devices such as Wifi, smartphones and GPS satellite communications.

The completed project is of national and international significance, launching a facility that will become a hub for high-tech research and development and support the UK’s growth potential in emerging sectors.

The company has designed, constructed and commissioned an IS07-classified cleanroom along with a number of laboratory environments, including a photonics lab, a power electronics lab, an advanced packaging suite, an evaluation lab, a radio frequency lab and a high-power lab.

All labs and cleanrooms have been constructed from specialist cleanroom partitioning and contain client equipment including Climate Chambers, a Shaker Chamber and optical tables.

Steve Marsh, managing director of BES said: “The Catapult Innovation Centre is located at the heart of the world’s first compound semiconductor cluster in South Wales and will play a pivotal role in building on the UK’s world-leading expertise in the sector, through innovation, testing and research.

“Working collaboratively with the client and their designers Monteith Scott and M&E consultants Atkins, our integrated design and construction team provided a seamless project delivery. 

“The advanced labs and clean rooms we have designed and built as part of this project will play a key role in helping the UK capitalise on the next wave of technological discovery and our multi-disciplinary approach to managing the delivery of sophisticated facilities from concept through to validation means that we were the ideal partner for the project.”

BES was also responsible for the design and installation of a new plant room on the second floor to accommodate the project’s complex heating, ventilation, and air conditioning requirements, along with a new ground floor substation.

The project also involved construction of open plan offices, which comprise a number of meeting rooms, breakout spaces, a boardroom and a sunken split-level amphitheatre.

These facilities will allow clients to work collaboratively with the Catapult team and provide a research space for academia and public bodies.

They will also provide an income for the Catapult Innovation Centre as a venue hire space.

CEO of CSA Catapult, Stephen Doran said: “CSA Catapult will play a crucial part in the global adoption of compound semiconductor technology, and the work that BES has completed for us will help us on that journey.

“Our open plan office space, along with our state-of-the-art laboratories, were executed by BES with our vision and capabilities in mind. Our new Innovation Centre, now open for business, will allow us to be at the heart of compound semiconductor collaboration and we are thrilled to be able to welcome visitors and partners into our new home.”

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