Fire sale ends microchip saga

THE final chapter in four decades of electronics manufacturing history at the Freescale Semiconductors factory in East Kilbride will draw to a close this week when the last pieces of machinery go under the hammer.

More than 1,300 lots – ranging from a complete water purification plant to toasters from the staff canteen – are being auctioned by industrial valuers Hilco on Wednesday and Thursday, more than two years after manufacturing came to an end at the former Motorola site which employed more than 1,000 people.

Much of the plant used in semiconductor manufacturing had been moved to other Freescale sites overseas following the closure. Although manufacturing in Scotland has ended, Freescale has recently launched a microchip research and development facility on part of the 26-acre site which was sold to a property company earlier this year.

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It is thought the sale of remaining equipment is taking place to enable redevelopment.

“Most of what is being auctioned now is the support equipment, such as generators and clean room facilities used on the site, which have attracted a lot of interest from other manufacturers in the UK and overseas,” said Daniel Gray, who is handling the online sale for Hilco .

He added that while most of the equipment was likely to remain in the UK, some of the machinery specifically related to semiconductor manufacture might end up going to North American or Far Eastern buyers.

The sale also includes a significant amount of kitchen and canteen equipment, along with office and computer equipment.

A number of potential buyers of some of the larger value items have already toured the site with further visits planned tomorrow and Tuesday.

The building was established by Motorola in 1969 and was later developed by its spinout Freescale.