|Continued strong demand for sapphire wafers from the LED market encouraged an expansion of manufacturing capacity at Thermal Technology’s headquarters in Santa Rosa, CA. Meanwhile, demand across many markets is spurring equipment maker EV Group (EVG) to greatly expand and upgrade its headquarters in St. Florian, Austria.
Thermal Technology responds to sapphire-crystal demand
Thermal Technology LLC, a leading manufacturer of crystal-growth equipment and high-temperature furnaces, recently added a new production building to its facility in Santa Rosa, CA. Dedicated to the production of the company’s Model K1 sapphire-crystal grower, the expansion adds 25,000 square feet of floor space, effectively tripling the company’s manufacturing area.
"Market response to the K1 grower is strong. Potential customers see our machines in full production elsewhere and are convinced of our technology,” says Matt Mede, Thermal Technology president and CEO. “Utilizing the modified-Kyropoulos method, our growers remain the most productive tool in the market, with large crystal size and a short growth cycle.”
Thermal Technology says that it is shipping multiple sapphire growers weekly. “The new manufacturing facility significantly increases our production capacity and improves the overall flow of our production processes,” said Jim Coffey, Thermal Technology’s production manager.
Mede claimed the company has the most growers in production relative to its competitors. The company now has the capacity to produce four growers per week or 200 units per year.
Thermal Technology faces competition from companies including ARC Energy, which recently sold its 100th sapphire crystal growth furnace to the LED market, and GT Solar International, Inc. (NASDAQ:SOLR) which recently completed a new 20,000 square foot sapphire manufacturing facility in Salem, MA.
EVG expanded headquarters, will hire 100 employees
EVG, a leading supplier of wafer bonders and lithography tools, announced that it has realized a 40 percent increase in order intake in fiscal year 2011 compared to 2010. It has responded to steady growth in all the markets it serves including MEMS, nanotechnology, LEDs and semiconductors, by breaking ground on additional manufacturing space at its headquarters in Austria last month.
The company also intends to hire 100 additional employees in the coming months, primarily in the areas of manufacturing and technical support.
LEDs account for approximately 10 to 15 percent of EVG’s business.
"The strong order intake confirms the continued confidence our customers have in EVG's innovative solutions, technology leadership and product quality," explains Werner Thallner, EV Group's executive operations and financial director.
The new building, located directly adjacent to the existing manufacturing facility, will more than double the company's production floor space and is scheduled to be completed before the end of this year.
The headquarters will feature a new area in which customers and visitors will have access to the manufacturing area. Two glass domes will provide a full view into the manufacturing area and a sophisticated entry control system.
Additional test rooms will facilitate customer-specific process development and customization. Such equipment customization is especially important to LED manufacturers who typically have proprietary process flows and varying automation levels.
EVG is also adding capacity in its machining center and new manufacturing technologies area, and plans to further modernize the existing manufacturing facility.