Better days for Daw

Mark A. DeSorbo

ST.-PRIEST, FRANCE—AFTER SUFFER-ing two years of losses handed down by the last downturn in the U.S. semiconductor market, things are finally looking up for Daw Technologies Inc. — and it has the European market to thank.

In fact, it's already been one heck of a year for the Salt Lake City-based cleanroom supplier and builder with $13.5 million in European contracts; more than $9 million in business slated in the United States and Canada; and millions in product orders.

“Over the past twelve months the semiconductor capital equipment industry has been experiencing strong order growth, while facility expansions and new greenfield fabs have continued to trail the recovery cycle,” says Ronald W. Daw, president and chief executive. “We are now confident that most customers are beginning to expand existing facilities and build new facilities to meet product demand. As we look to the future this should translate into significant business growth for the company in the next 6 to 12 months.”

Lance Howell, vice president of sales and marketing for Daw, says the company has seen a remarkable increase in the number of projects up for bid. “It's because of the upturn in the market as well as the excess [space] in fabs that is now being utilized, and the fabs that were partially completed or postponed are now starting to be ramped back up.”

Daw's European business stems from a $10-million joint venture that was announced in March with St.-Priest, France-based Omega Concept, a leading European HVAC contractor. The collaboration will yield approximately 30,000 square feet of new ISO Class 3 (Class 1) and ISO Class 6 (Class 1,000) manufacturing space as an expansion to the existing facility of a customer in France. Daw designed, engineered and installed the cleanroom system consisting of air handling and fan filter units, ceiling systems, partitions and raised access flooring. Omega provided the mechanical, electrical and process systems.

A $1-million contract, also drafted in March, required Daw to install access flooring and partition systems to expand a major cleanroom for a facility in France belonging to an unnamed semiconductor manufacturer. The systems were scheduled for installation in May.

A month earlier, in February, Daw was awarded the first of its European cleanroom contracts for both new construction and facility expansion for projects in the microelectronic and pharmaceutical industries. These contracts have a combined value of more than $2.5 million and the projects were to be completed this month.

The contracts outlined work at two new sites, one in the United Kingdom, one in Scandinavia and additional phase work for a leading semiconductor manufacturer. Work includes installation of cleanroom flooring and partitions and filtered ceiling and air delivery systems.

In February, Daw kicked off the New Year with $5.1 million in new business in North America. Names of clients were not disclosed, but Daw will build semiconductor cleanrooms, reporting that it expects projects, ranging from ISO Class 4 (Class 10) to ISO Class 6 (Class 1,000) cleanrooms, slated for completion this month. Site work will include the installation of partition, filtered ceiling and air delivery systems and raised flooring.

In April, the company announced another $4 million in contracts. A $3-million contract is a design-build project in Canada, which includes construction of a cleanroom enclosure, HVAC, electrical and piping systems. The remaining $1 million comprises various contracts with customers throughout the United States.

“As virtually all of the major chip manufacturers are beginning to experience capacity constraints, they are looking for quick and less expensive ways in to expand,” Daw says. “We expect to see increased spending on cleanrooms. We are quite excited about the prospects of an up year and we are relieved that this long drought appears to be finally over.”


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