Kaiam plans to expand UK manufacturing capacity with acquisition of new facility


By adding a new 300,000 sq ft facility, US-based Kaiam plans to expand datacom transceivers manufacturing and future vertical integration

Kaiam Corporation of Newark, California, a leader in advanced data center transceivers, today announced that it intends to acquire the manufacturing facilities of Compound Photonics (CP) in Newton Aycliffe in the UK.

CP is a privately held photonics company, working on liquid crystal on silicon display devices and laser technologies. The acquisition includes investment by CP into Kaiam to further develop the facility. The agreement is subject to final approvals, but is expected to close in the coming quarter.

This large manufacturing space enables expansion of Kaiam’s datacom transceivers manufacturing capacity, and also includes an extensive cleanroom for processing of III-V devices, including pHEMTs, HBTs, photodetectors, and lasers.

Originally built as silicon fab for DRAMs, the plant was converted to III-V materials by subsequent acquirers and now has both a 3” and 6” line for III-V devices.

The addition of the Newton Aycliffe facility continues Kaiam’s trajectory of vertical integration. Kaiam acquired Gemfire, its strategic PLC supplier, in 2013 and currently operates an 8” silica-on-silicon line for the fabrication of integrated optical components in Gemfire’s Livingston UK facility.

It also operates 40Gb/s and 100Gb/s optical packaging lines in that facility that are close to capacity due to increased demand.

The new facility in Newton Aycliffe, with the fully operational wafer-fab, allows Kaiam to expand its silica-onsilicon and transceiver manufacturing, and provides a long term roadmap to add integrated InP photonic integrated circuits (PICs) for advanced transceivers.

“Our optical integration technology is based on MEMS-assisted assembly of different materials and components," said Bardia Pezeshki, Kaiam's CEO. “We already have advanced integration in silica-onsilicon for manipulating light. In the future, with new modulation formats and increased speed, one also needs integration in the InP for generating, modulating, and detecting light. By using our unique hybrid integrated technology for combining silica-on-silicon PICs and InP PICs, we get the best of all worlds.

The Newton Aycliffe site is a world-class facility in both capabilities and scale for producing III-V devices. This acquisition not only allows us to ramp product in the short term, but gives us access to advanced Integrated InP PICs at low cost that we will need in the long term.”

Sign up for your free email newsletter

“CP no longer needed an in-house laser facility at Newton Aycliffe, and is very pleased that its Newton Aycliffe team are joining a fast-growing company in Kaiam,” added Brian Bolger, CFO at Compound Photonics. “As part of the transaction, CP is investing in Kaiam to become a significant shareholder, and looks forward to Kaiam’s continued success.”