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Ichor Systems takes its engineering skills into new markets

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The new managing director of Ichor Systems , one of Scotland's premier technology companies, is predicting a period of sustained growth and more highly skilled jobs based on penetration of exciting new markets.

John Spence, who took the helm of semiconductor manufacturing equipment supplier in the latter part of last year, is planning to expand the Blantyre-based company's activities outwards from its traditional markets and into the wider engineering sector. The planned diversification will smooth out revenue streams in the classically cyclical semi-conductor arena and further boost turnover, which is up 15% on last year and growing steadily. He said: "We have proved that the models we have developed recently - particularly finding engineering solutions for the perennial problem of obsolescence in manufacturing - are as applicable across manufacturing as they are to silicon wafers."

The Lanarkshire plant - which employs 46 people, mostly highly skilled engineers - is a key/strategic European base for Ichor Systems. It moved into its current state-of-the-art facility in Hamilton International Technology Park in 2015. Mr. Spence was one of four founders of Semi Scenic, a semiconductor specialist which Ichor acquired in 2012. An apprentice at Barr & Stroud, he majored in electrical engineering and spent time with National Semiconductor before joining Lam Research, the high quality manufacturer of semiconductor equipment. With Lam Research, he traveled the world from South Africa to Russia and Northern Europe and reported into an executive level within Lam, who have and continue to be a major partner of both Semi Scenic and Ichor Systems. Mr. Spence, who has also made his name as a highly regarded exponent of leadership principles, is planning to bring at least four or five new people on board in the immediate future and is also planning to introduce apprenticeship schemes. He said:

"With the demise of the semiconductor sector in Scotland, it is more difficult to source people with the skills and motivation we require.

"For that reason, we are bringing on graduates and apprentices to give us future capability and to ensure that the growth of knowledge is under our control. "As well as semiconductor equipment manufacture and refurbishment, we are looking at rolling out innovative engineering solutions to a much wider range of sectors - targeting, in effect, the entire range of UK and European manufacture.

"This will give us additional distinct revenue streams which will iron out some of the cyclic nature of dealing solely in the semiconductor market."

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