OSLO, Norway — Thin Film Electronics ASA (“Thinfilm”) announced that it has leased a former Qualcomm-owned manufacturing facility in Silicon Valley and will relocate its current U.S. headquarters and NFC Innovation Center in the first quarter of 2017.
The new location will house Thinfilm’s new high-volume roll-to-roll manufacturing line. Roll-based production will increase Thinfilm’s front-end production capacity to five billion NFC OpenSense and NFC SpeedTap tags per year — the equivalent of up to $680 million in annual revenue. Thinfilm intends to begin ordering line-related equipment immediately.
In the near term, the facility upgrade enables Thinfilm to scale existing sheet-based manufacturing of its NFC (Near Field Communication), EAS (Electronic Article Surveillance), and Sensor Label products. Roll-to-roll production is expected to be operational for EAS by year-end 2017 and for transistor-based products in 2018.
The building, located at 2581 Junction Avenue in San Jose, California, was formerly an operational display fab run by Qualcomm MEMS Technologies, Inc., and was in production until the Spring of 2016. More than $80 million has been invested previously in the 93,000 square-foot facility, which sits on 5.4 acres and features a 22,000-plus square foot, Class 10-10,000 cleanroom.
“We’re very excited about the new facility and the role we see it playing in scaling Thinfilm’s manufacturing capabilities, particularly for SpeedTap and OpenSense. Given the growing market demand for NFC smart packaging, it was vital that we secure a facility that enables us to ramp capacity to ultra-high volumes through roll-to-roll production,” said Davor Sutija, Thinfilm’s CEO. “Thinfilm’s NFC smart labels allow brands to address authentication and anti-tampering needs while empowering them to engage with consumers through the simple tap of an Android smartphone. As the digital marketing arena becomes more fragmented, brands see NFC as a way to eliminate intermediaries and connect directly with their customers.”
Thinfilm will immediately start working on tenant improvements within the office-space portions of the facility, and will begin equipment installation by year-end. Occupancy of the new facility is expected in March 2017.
“Advanced technology, infrastructure-rich buildings such as 2581 Junction Avenue come on the market very infrequently. It really is an excellent property,” said Brad Howe, co-CEO of Lowe Enterprises Investors. Lowe Enterprises Investors and its joint venture partner, Vista Investment Group, purchased the property and subsequently leased it to Thinfilm. “The property appears to be an ideal fit for Thinfilm’s operational and strategic needs, and should serve them well for many years to come.”