“Seagate Technology (Ireland) is investing in a new R&D project at its Springtown, Londonderry, facility that will position the Northern Ireland operation at the centre of the US corporation’s global research into new digital storage technologies,” Ian Pearson, MP, Northern Ireland Office Minister with responsibility for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, said today.

During a visit to the company’s Springtown plant, the Minister announced that Invest NI is providing £1.38million under the START Programme towards total costs of over £4 million. START is funded by the European Union and Invest NI.

The Minister said: “This is a very significant investment that will enable the R&D team in Springtown to play a pivotal role in Seagate’s future. Seagate continues to strengthen its position as a leader in developing hard disc drives for storing the vast amounts of digital information being required for an ever-increasing range of electronic devices.

“Seagate’s efforts to develop next-generation recording heads here in Northern Ireland is a ringing endorsement of the capability of the researchers here and clearly demonstrates the confidence that the company has that this plant can deliver.

“This expansion of Springtown’s R&D capability follows the company’s recent decision to establish a Centre of Excellence at its Limavady plant to develop state-of-the-art production and inspection processes to facilitate the use of new substrate technology for hard disc drives.

“Seagate reinforces the important contribution of US investment and industry to Derry, reflected in the diversity of major US corporations in the regions, including DuPont and Raytheon.”

“It is, furthermore, a tremendous boost for our Regional Innovation Strategy which seeks to establish Northern Ireland as an international R&D centre and for Invest NI’s drive to promote innovation as a pivotal business activity,” added the Minister.

John Spangler, plant manager at Springtown, commenting on the project, said: “Seagate's position as the worldwide leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of hard disc drives puts it right at the heart of today's ‘information-centric’ world. This investment will ensure that Springtown is well placed to provide the R&D skills and know-how the company requires to develop the storage technologies for the ongoing digital revolution.
Seagate’s Springtown facility began manufacturing thin film wafers for recording heads used in computer disc drives in 1994. The Limavady operation, Seagate Technology Media (Ireland) was established in 1996 to process aluminium substrates for disc drives.