GLENROTHES, Scotland, Jan. 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Raytheon today officially "opened for business" a new UK-leading silicon carbide manufacturing "foundry" facility, developed through several years' research into advanced manufacturing processes and materials science. The application of silicon carbide in electronic systems will place the UK in a leading position to develop next-generation, high-efficiency, smaller, low-weight power conversion products used in harsh environments across the automotive, aerospace, geothermal explorations, oil and gas, and clean energy sectors. The Secretary of State for Scotland, the Rt. Hon. Michael Moore, who opened the foundry, said: "Today marks an important demonstration of what we can achieve in the UK through collaboration. The silicon carbide foundry is the first of its kind in the UK and represents the fusion of Raytheon's investment in UK manufacturing technology with university expertise, backed by UK Government funding from the Technology Strategy Board. This scientific and engineering endeavour born out of Raytheon Glenrothes has placed Scotland in a unique leadership position globally, enhanced by universities across the UK. The investment has created a team of world-class engineering specialists working in the production of silicon carbide devices and systems designed to operate at high temperatures, specialists who will continue to shape and influence advanced manufacturing processes and technologies." Raytheon's ability to process silicon carbide utilizes high-temperature annealing and high-temperature/high-voltage ion implantation. The components provide unique properties in electronics: silicon carbide has the ability to operate at higher voltages and greater temperatures than pure silicon, and at a third of the weight and volume -- improving operational performance and reducing system operating costs. Raytheon is the first company to have successfully tested silicon carbide circuit devices at temperatures up to 400 degrees Celsius. Bob Delorge, chief executive, Raytheon UK, said: "Raytheon's investment in the foundry coupled with support from the Technology Strategy Board exceeds £3.5 million to date. This places the company at the start of a journey to exploit new global markets for this cost-efficient material, which is estimated to bring significant new business to Raytheon in Scotland in the coming years. As well as employing industry-leading engineers and scientists, we have made substantial commitments to develop new engineering talent to maintain our technological edge in high temperature silicon carbide. We are supporting Ph.D. students and undergraduates, and we are giving apprentices and young graduates the opportunity to develop their careers in this new and exciting arena of next-generation semiconductor technology. "What was previously unachievable is now possible with silicon carbide," he added, "as it allows for smaller and lighter electronics to operate in harsh environments, and addresses a real customer need for significant energy efficiency savings in the manufacture of power switching and rectifying components (AC/DC converters)."