Intel: Another $2B fab on the way

Intel Corp. says it will spend $2 billion to build a 300-mm fab at its existing Rio Rancho, NM, site. Although construction of the manufacturing line will take a slower path than Intel's other recently announced projects in Chandler, AZ, and Colorado Springs, CO, the New Mexico fab likely will be the company's first volume 300-mm production line. Construction will begin immediately, but current plans call for the 300-mm line to begin production in 2002 using 0.13 micron and copper processing technologies.

Intel also plans production on 300-mm wafers in 2002 at its site in Chandler, where construction is underway, but only after beginning initial 0.13 micron/copper production there next year on 200-mm wafers. The firm continues to assess 300-mm production at its development line in Hillsboro, OR.—CL

Quietly adding capacity

Matsushita Electronics Corp. (MEC; Osaka, Japan) will build a 100 billion yen (about US$922 million) system-on-chip manufacturing plant for 0.13 micron and 0.10 micron devices, though the exact location of the new fab is unknown. Sources in Japan say the fab will be built somewhere in the Hokuriku district, perhaps in Toyama or Niigata Prefecture. The plant will be operational next year. The new line will be brought up on 200-mm wafers rather than 300-mm wafers. Susumu Koike, president of the firm, says a full set of 300-mm equipment for 0.13 micron device manufacturing is not yet available.—CL

Taiwan Semiconductor's Fab 6 gearing up

The manufacturing area of the cleanroom is the size of nearly four football fields alone, and by the time it is fully operational in 2001, Fab 6, a new facility unveiled by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (Tainan, Taiwan), will have about 1,000 sets of manufacturing tools and more than 2,300 employees.

The 190,000-square-foot manufacturing area, the company's first 300-mm pilot line, maintains an ISO Class 5 (Class 100) level and has a standard mechanical interface (SMIF) minienvironment.

Since its grand opening in March, the fab has been producing 0.25- to 0.10-micron technology, and according to the company, the goal is to generate 32,000 eight-inch wafers a month by the end of this year. By the end of 2001, production is expected to be more than 50,000 wafers per month.—MAD

Pfizer, Warner-Lambert to tie the knot

The European Commission (Brussels) gave its blessing for Pfizer Inc. (Groton, CT) to buy Warner-Lambert Co., forming the world's second largest pharmaceutical company. US regulators are expected to do the same.

Both companies agreed to three divestments to address competition issues within certain markets. The combined companies will get rid of all European assets relating to Warner-Lambert's anti-Alzheimer drug, Cognex, and out-license Dilzem, which combats high blood pressure, in Austria.

The commission also indicated that the combined companies will yield a dominant market share in Austria and Germany for antihelmintic drugs used to destroy worms in the gastrointestinal tract. The companies agreed to sell either Pfizer's Helmex/Combatrin or Warner-Lambert's Vanquin line to third parties.—MAD

Merck, Schering-Plough to make new drugs

Two drug makers facing patent expirations have agreed to team up and develop new medication to combat cholesterol and allergies. The partnership between Merck & Co. (Whitehouse Station, NJ) and Schering-Plough (Madison, NJ) will allow each to find new uses for Schering-Plough's allergy drug, Claritin, and Merck's cholesterol fighter, Zocor. The deal will include the development of an allergy tablet that would combine Claritin and Merck's Singulair asthma treatment. Studies funded by Merck indicate that the combination may be more effective than Claritin. Merck cannot make the combination without either the help from Shering-Plough or until patent protection fades over the next two to three years.—MAD

Displaytech ramps up for increased production

Displaytech (Longmont, CO) is near the final construction phase of a new ISO Class 6 (Class 1,000) liquid crystal formulations cleanroom, a separate ISO Class 7 (Class 10,000) analytical lab and a state-of-the-art purification facility. The new rooms will enable the company to increase the production of FLC materials from 2 kg to 6 kg per year, and will enable the large-scale production of high-quality FLC materials for the company's displays.—LB

Chartered Semi updates roadmap

As part of its plans to boost capacity, Chartered Semi is expecting to have core logic 0.2-micron processes with all-copper interconnect in production by the end of next year. For 300-mm processes, the company is building its sixth fab, called Fab 7, with a cleanroom ready for 300-mm machinery. Fab 7 will initially process 8-inch wafers, and there are as of yet no plans for a 300-mm pilot line. Chartered has reserved land adjacent to its Singapore cluster of fabs on which it could fit five facilities the same size as Fab 7, but expects to site three bigger fabs there, all 300-mm facilities.—LB

Fujitsu, AMD to build chip plant

Japan's Fujitsu Ltd. and Advanced Micro Devices (Sunnyvale, CA) plan to spend about $1.31 billion to build a plant in Japan to produce flash memory chips. Construction on the new plant in northeastern Japan is scheduled to begin in August. It is set to come on line in February 2001 and will produce as many as 13 million flash memory chips per month by March 2002.—LB

Steril-Aire establishes Asia-Pacific licensee agreement

Steril-Aire Inc., a Cerritos, CA-based manufacturer of UVC emitters for indoor air quality and mold control in HVAC systems, has reached a licensee agreement with CAN Engineers PTE Ltd. (Singapore) and its subsidiary GETC Asia PTE Ltd. (Singapore). GETC has been established specifically to manufacture and market Steril-Aire products and technology throughout Asia, Australia and New Zealand.—LB

Yaskawa Electric acquires Huntair division

Yaskawa Electric Corp., headquartered in Japan, has reached an agreement for the acquisition of the isolation technology group of Huntair (Tigard, OR). Financial terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. The Huntair isolation technology group specializes in the design, manufacture and testing of customized minienvironment systems for semiconductor equipment manufacturers. The company also produces the Accuflow valve line (a plug-and-play exhaust compensation system), the Ultrachem air filter line and the Accumax series environmental control unit.—LB

USDA proposes irradiation

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (Washington, DC) is proposing regulations that would allow the use of irradiation as a phytosanitary treatment for imported fruits and vegetables. The irradiation would protect against fruit flies and the mango seed weevil and would be an alternative treatment to those currently approved, including cold and heat, and fumigation treatments.—JK

Common spices protect bacteria during irradiation

Researchers in India claim that red chili powder, black pepper and tumeric can prevent bacteria such as E. coli from being destroyed by irradiation.

The research was conducted at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai, India, and was reported in the April issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a peer-reviewed monthly publication of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

According to lead researcher Arun Sharma, the finding that spices protect some bacteria against radiation was “contrary to expectations.” “The observed protection of microbes may be due to the protection of their DNA by the constituents of spices,” the ACS article quotes Sharma as saying.—JK

Leybold becomes Inficon

To mark the completion of the merging of Balzers and Leybold Instrumentation begun in 1996, Leybold has changed the company name to Inficon (East Syracuse, NY) as of July 1. According to the company, within the next 12 months, an initial public offering of Inficon will be made as a U.S. listing.—LB

Pacific Scientific Instruments honored by Deloitte & Touche

Pacific Scientific Instruments (PSI; Grants Pass, OR) has been named by Deloitte & Touche as one of the fastest-growing technology companies in Oregon. Manufacturing, software, Internet and telecommunications companies were honored on the 2000 Oregon Technology Fast 50 list. PSI manufactures the HIAC, Royco, Met One and HYT brands of optical particle counting instrumentation, software and accessories.—LB

ISO/FDIS 14644-2 now available

The Institute of Environmental Sciences and Technology (IEST) has announced the availability of ISO/FDIS 14644-2, Cleanrooms and associated controlled environments-Part 2: Specifications for testing and monitoring to prove continued compliance with ISO 14644-1. The control of airborne particle contamination levels is important in industries including aerospace, microelectronics, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, healthcare and food. Order it at—LB

Corzan CPVC listed as fire safe

Developed by The BFGoodrich Company, Corzan post-chlorinated polyvinyl chloride (CPVC) pipe and duct compounds are now listed cleanroom materials (FM 4910) by Factory Mutual Research Corp. Companies concerned about controlling loss potential related to fire and smoke in their facilities can use the product to further mitigate their risks. The material has a reputation for excellent performance in highly corrosive industrial applications where it replaces metal and other plastic systems.—LB

Malaysia expansion for Stat-Rite

BFGoodrich has also dedicated a new manufacturing facility and technical center for Stat-Rite static control polymers in Seremban, Malaysia. The 40,000-square-foot facility, located outside Kuala Lumpur, was built to address the market response to the Stat-Rite S-Series compounds. The company will offer three product lines from the Malaysian plant, including Stat-Rite polymer alloy sheet and compounds (S-Series), carbon fiber-reinforced compounds (F-Series) and carbon-filled compounds (B-Series).—LB

SEMI moves headquarters

Global trade association Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) has moved its worldwide headquarters from Mountain View, CA, to San Jose, CA. The new address is SEMI, 3081 Zanker Rd., San Jose, CA 95134; phone (408) 943-6900.—LB

SEMI announces e-commerce initiative

Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) has announced an initiative to foster development of business-to-business transactions within the semiconductor and semiconductor equipment and materials industries. SEMI announced that has signed an agreement to become the charter member of its e-commerce initiative. The initiative includes the formation of an e-commerce advisory board comprising executives from SEMI,, SEMI's member companies and from companies and organizations participating in SEMI's e-commerce program.—LB

Jacobs receives Microchip Technology Inc. contract

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. (Pasadena, CA) has received a contract from Microchip Technology Inc. for part of the expansion of its Tempe, AZ, campus. Officials did not release the contract value. The expansion will add 30,000 square feet of cleanroom manufacturing and support space, 150,000 square feet of office space, a five-level parking structure and a 36,000-square-foot central utility building. Jacobs will provide architectural and engineering services to support the expansion.—LB

TSMC's expansion leads to fab renaming

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company will fold TSMC's and WSMC's existing fabs into TSMC's naming structure by renaming them Fab 7 and Fab 8, respectively. Both facilities are located in the Hsin-Chu Science Park, Taiwan, and are currently producing eight-inch wafers in high volume. TSMC will rename its current Fab 7—one of two new 12-inch fabs under construction—to Fab 14.—LB

FSIS removes remaining PQC requirements for meat and poultry plants

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS; Washington, DC) is amending the meat and poultry products inspection regulations by removing the remaining requirements pertaining to partial quality control programs (PQC). Effective August 28, 2000, FSIS is removing the design requirements for PQC programs and the requirements for establishments to have PQC programs for certain products or processes.

Poultry slaughtering firms operating under New Line Speed inspection system and the New Turkey Inspection System will no longer be required to have PQC programs in conjunction with those systems. A PQC program controls a single product, operation or part of an operation in a meat or poultry processing company.

FSIS has also removed from the thermal processing regulations all requirements concerning PQC programs, the requirements for case-by-case FSIS approval of systems and devices not specified in the regulations, and several other prior approval requirements.

FSIS says the amended regulations will be more consistent with the Pathogen Reduction (PR) Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) regulations and that companies will have more flexibility to adopt new technologies and methods to improve food safety.—JK

HEM expands operations

Honeywell Electronic Materials (HEM; West Melbourne, FL) is expanding its Electronic Manufacturing Services operation, more than doubling its physical space and nearly tripling its manufacturing capacity. The company provides assembly services and technologies for complex telecommunications, computer and networking equipment. The new plant extends HEM's contract assembly service manufacturing capacity to include an ISO Class 7 (Class 10,000) cleanroom facility for volume assembly of high-end electronic devices; design, development and testing facilities; and administrative offices.—LB

BOC Edwards/Millipore ally

BOC Edwards (Wilmington, MA) and Millipore Corp. have formed an alliance to develop and market an integrated bath regeneration system for copper electrochemical deposition (ECD) applications in the semiconductor industry. Utilizing organic by-product removal and chemistry purification technologies developed by Millipore, BOC Edwards will design and manufacture a new system called CuBIS (Copper Bath Integrated Solution). The two companies will work with manufacturers of copper plating tools to develop a process that will lower the cost of ownership of ECD tools by a combination of reduced chemical consumption and reduced waste generation. End user validation is expected to take place by Q3 2000.—LB

MPW forms alliance with investment group

MPW Industries Group Inc. (Hebron, OH), a provider of numerous services, including contamination control in cleanrooms, has partnered with Baird Capital Partners (New York), which will invest several million dollars in MPW's subsidiary, Pentagon Technologies Group Inc. (Fremont, CA).

The transaction was expected to be finalized in June, giving Baird the majority of Pentagon's stock. MPW will receive payments of approximately $22 million, which will be used to repay debt. Pentagon, a contamination control provider, will then complete a $30 million facility to support its acquisition and growth.—MAD

Sony to construct second fab

Sony (Tokyo) has decided to construct a second fab to support graphic LSI demand for the company's new PlayStation 2 game console. PlayStation 2 debuted in Japan earlier this year and is expected to hit the US market in time for the holiday shopping season. Sony expects to build the new fab, called Fab 2, in the next few years, quite possibly as early as next year. The facility will be built adjacent to Sony Computer Entertainment's Fab 1 in Nagasaki, Kyushu Island.—CL

VPI celebrates 50th anniversary

VPI LLC, a manufacturer of ESD-control vinyl tile flooring is celebrating its 50th year in business. On July 1, 1950, the company installed the first conductive vinyl flooring designed specifically to conduct static electrical charges at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh.—LB

New process for fresh OJ

A new process that uses carbon dioxide gas under high pressure can produce orange juice that tastes just like fresh-squeezed, but is safe as heat-pasteurized, claims a University of Florida (Gainsville, FL) food engineer who helped perfect the technique.

Murat Balaban, a professor at UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, says the process produces juice that is indistinguishable in taste tests from fresh-squeezed.

Balaban says the new process substantially reduces the number of microorganisms to levels that are acceptable by the FDA.—JK

UK supplier opens US facilities

Air filtration specialist Trion-Envirco has opened a production facility for its Mac 10 Series of FFUs in Albuquerque, NM. According to the company, this manufacturing center is reportedly the only facility worldwide capable of manufacturing FFUs under cleanroom conditions. Opening of the 65,000-square-foot facility is part of the company's $2.5-million investment program to meet increasing FFU demand.—LB

Experimental E. coli drug released

Synsorb Biotech Inc. received approval May 24 from Canadian health officials to ship emergency supplies of Synsorb Pk to hospitals in the Walkerton, ON, region in response to an E. coli outbreak in the area that was linked to contaminated water in municipal wells.

At least 500 people have been infected by bacteria in the water system of Walkerton, a town of 5,000 people about 125 miles northwest of Toronto. Nine people have died.—JK

Nutraceutix announces E. coli 0157:H7 inhibiting bacteria

xDairy product manufactures in the future may be able to prevent contamination by using a special lactic acid designed to kill specific strains of foodborne pathogens. Nutraceutix Inc. (Redmond, WA) has developed Cobactin E, a proprietary strain of the bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus that has been shown to inhibit the growth of highly pathogenic E. coli 0157:H7.—JK

Make your nomination for the 2000 Hall of Fame!

Continue a tradition of excellence by making a nomination to the 2000 CleanRooms Hall of Fame. Nominate your peers for this prestigious award and recognize them for their contributions and advances in contamination control.

Call Mary Freitas at (603) 891-9385 for a nomination form or make your nominations at


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