Structure protects airmen from chemical attack
Deployed airmen of the Air Mobility Command (McGuire Air Force Base, NJ) have a new weapon to use under the threat of chemical attack—a collapsible cleanroom-like structure called a Transportable Collective Protection System (TCPS).

The expandable tent has a special protective lining combined with a powerful air pump, which positively pressurizes the inside of the tent so airborne contaminants cannot penetrate the outside lining. The new system is expected to have a significant impact on training for future civil engineers of Air Mobility Command, say Steve Robertson, 305th Civil Engineering Squadron Readiness Flight chief.

Fourteen TCPS units, he explained, are ready for deployment anywhere in the world. “The vision surrounding this equipment is that our folks should be able to take it to chemical high-threat areas, set it up and maintain it so deployed airmen can work inside without additional protective gear, even if there is a chemical attack going on outside,” Robertson said.

Some functions for the TCPS include living quarters, dining facilities, medical clinics and workspace.—MAD

Millipore expands
Millipore Corp. broke ground on a major addition to its facility in Danvers, MA. The expansion, which will become headquarters for its Life Sciences Division, will add nearly 45,000 square feet to the site's current 66,000 square feet. The new space will include laboratories, offices, training facilities, a warehouse and a cafeteria. Construction is slated for completion in mid-2002.—LJB

ITW relocates facility
By year-end ITW-Richmond Technology expects to move its production equipment, cleanroom operations and engineering to an existing company facility in Houston, TX. The move is not expected to impact service or product delivery. As a result of the move the company will no longer be subject to the California electricity constraints and uncertainty of uninterrupted supply. The cleanroom operations will be expanded to 3000 square feet in the shared facility. Richmond's sales, administration and customer service group will be located at ITW-Electronic Packaging headquarters in Arlington, TX, also by year-end.—LJB

Isonics to acquire SOI wafer business
Isonics Corp. (Golden, CO) has signed a letter of intent to acquire the silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer business of Vancouver, Washington-based Silicon Evolution Inc. (SEI). SEI is a wafer technology company specializing in SOI wafers for optical telecommunications, micro-electrical mechanical systems (MEMS) and digital signal processors.—LJB

MESA elects board members
New officers and members elected to the board of MESA International include Ram Prabhakar, director of strategy for manufacturing solutions, EDS E. solutions, as the chair; Robert Rudder, vice president of business development for Unifi Technology Group Inc., as the vice chair; Tom Bruhn, vice president—food, beverage and CPG practice, EnteGreat Inc., as the treasurer; and Maryanne Steidinger, director strategic alliances, Datasweep, serves as past chair. One new member of the board of directors is Darrin Fleming, principal practice leader, Rockwell Automation.—LJB

Food safety system unveiled
The Steritech Group, Inc. (Charlotte, NC) has launched PracticeFoodSafety, a food safety management system for the hospitality industry.

PracticeFoodSafety incorporates employee training, record keeping and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Users of the system are able to conduct self-audits and monitor operations as well as compare in-house practices to industry standards. One of the features is an ask the expert function through which clients have access to Steritech's team of microbiologists, entomologists, registered sanitarians, dietitians and nutritionists.

PracticeFoodSafety is available online and in a complete manual and training system binder set. The training component covers food safety topics on such critical areas as hand washing, thermometers, cross contamination, cleaning and sanitizing and pest prevention. The online system provides interactive quizzes and automatically grades trainees, logging the results to create a permanent training record for each employee.

For management, it provides tests that allow supervisors to audit their facility and determine how well it is meeting food safety standards. Reference guides such as easy-to-use versions of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) model Food Code and Steritech's Food Safety Manual are included, providing managers with quick access to the written standards they must meet. A team of Steritech experts is always available to answer questions, explain procedures or provide on-site training, consultation and auditing.

“Now, food service businesses large and small can afford a comprehensive training program that ensures each new associate is equipped with the knowledge necessary to keep food preparation a safe and prosperous business,” says Mark Jarvis, president of the Steritech's food safety division. “The two biggest hurdles companies face in implementing a formal food safety program are cost and the complexity of implementation Itself.—MAD

Yeast, mold contamination prompts recall
Discovery of yeast and mold in bottled water has caused the manufacturer to recall one of its brands, according to Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Tommy Irvin.

Elan Natural Waters (Blairsville, GA), has voluntarily recalled “Elan Natural Waters Natural Drinking Water” after laboratory tests indicated the presence of yeast and mold.

Union County Bottlers, also in Blairsville, bottled the products for Elan Natural Waters. The water was packaged in 500 milliliter bottles with pull-up tops. All bottles have package codes that begin with 1FAF1.

The presence of the yeast and mold makes the water unfit for human consumption. “Our inspectors are checking store shelves to make sure this product is removed. As a precautionary measure we will be testing other water bottled at this facility that is in distribution channels to make sure there is no other contamination,” Commissioner Irvin says.—MAD

Semitool granted two patents
Semitool, Inc., (Kalispell, MU) has received two United States patents for a technology capable of reducing the cost of semiconductor manufacturing by eliminating expensive chemicals, reducing cycle times and decreasing water consumption.

The patents, numbers 6,267,125 and 6,273,108, are for applications and systems using ozone and water for cleaning and stripping semiconductor substrates.

The Semitool process, HydrOzone offers an environmentally benign, less expensive alternative to traditional chemical cleaning and stripping. The process uses ozone as a cleaning agent. Cleaning and stripping processes are necessary to several steps in the semiconductor manufacturing process. Those processes commonly use harsh, costly chemicals to remove contaminants from the surface of the semiconductor wafer.

Semitool is marketing its patented ozone-water process to replace harsh and expensive conventional chemicals.

“The process is well suited for nearly all levels of device technology, as has been demonstrated in production use. HydrOzone not only cleans effectively, but also can reduce cycle time by eliminating process steps that would normally be required with conventional methods,” says Jurek Koziol, Semitool's vice president of advanced technology.

Semitool's HydrOzone process delivers ozone to the surface of the semiconductor wafer in a gaseous form, either by direct injection to the process chamber or by a carrier liquid with low ozone solubility. Ozone gas then diffuses through a thin boundary layer of liquid on the surface of the wafer, combining with liquid media on the surface to aggressively remove contamination. The liquid is typically delivered at above ambient temperatures to enhance the effectiveness of the process.—MAD

HERA moves
HERA Inc., a laboratory planning and design firm, has relocated to accommodate its expanding staff. The company's new offices are located at 14 North Newstead, Suite 200, St. Louis, MO 63108. The telephone number is (314) 289-9202. Customers include universities and academic medical centers, municipalities and governmental agencies, healthcare and pharmaceutical companies and biotechnology and consumer products organizations.—LJB

Tyco slashes 11,300 jobs
Tyco International Ltd., a manufacturer of electronics and process flow control systems, will cut 11,300 jobs and close or consolidate nearly 300 facilities worldwide in order to streamline operations after a string of acquisitions.

The largest cuts, about 8,400 jobs in about 225 facilities, are expected to hit the conglomerate's health care, financing and power segments of the Bermuda-based company, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Another 2,900 jobs at 64 manufacturing plants were cut from the electronics division, says company spokeswoman Maryanne Kane.

The cuts represent about five percent of Tyco's work force of 220,000 in more than 100 countries, Kane said.

The changes were tied to acquisitions made during the past two fiscal years by Tyco, which in the past has been one of the country's most aggressive corporate buyers. Those acquisitions included health care firm Mallinckrodt, financing arm CIT and Lucent Technologies' power systems business in 2001.

Tyco typically has trimmed its work rolls and closed plants after acquisitions to improve operating efficiency and boost cash flow.—MAD

Medical device cleanroom gets new injection-molders
Injection-molding parts from Maxxon, Inc. (Tulsa, OK) to make its safety syringe have been delivered to Genesis Design Group, the medical device manufacturer's development consultant.

The single cavity injection molds used to produce the Maxxon Safety Syringe were made by Newell Manufacturing (Glendale, CA). Newell produces medical device parts, including syringe components in cleanrooms.

Genesis Design Group is consulting with Newell regarding the production of the molds, the development of the large-scale prototype production runs and the design of an automated production and assembly process.

Maxxon has engaged an FDA consultant to assist the Company in filing its 510(k) application. The 510(k) application for FDA approval is already in the process of being prepared, and will be submitted as soon as the design of the automated manufacturing process is completed for the syringe.—MAD

General Semiconductor closes Ireland plant
Citing weak economic conditions and an unprecedented downturn in the electronics market, General Semiconductor Inc. announced that it is closing its manufacturing plant in Macroom, Ireland by the end of the year.

In addition to closing the plant in Ireland, where transient voltage suppression diodes and rectifiers are produced, the company is also making other cuts in operations worldwide and outsourcing more of its production to subcontractors.

The Macroom plant will eliminate 670 jobs or about 13 percent of General Semiconductor's total workforce. The Long Island-based company said it expects to save $25 million from closing the plant, and it will take pre-tax charges of up to $60 million in the third quarter to cover severance and other costs connected to the shutdown.

The majority of the products produced at the Irish facility will be transferred to plants in Taiwan and China, according to the company, which was acquired by Vishay Intertechnology Inc. for nearly $539 million in stock and assumption of debt.

General Semiconductor plans to outsource a number of product lines to subcontractors and implement additional job cuts worldwide, totaling 3 percent of its total workforce. Since the start of this year, General Semiconductor has announced layoffs for 23 percent of its workforce, which totaled 5,700 at the end of 2000.

The closing of the Irish plant and additional layoffs worldwide “were already under consideration prior to our announced merger agreement with Vishay Intertechnology,” says Ronald A. Ostertag, chairman and CEO of General Semiconductor. However, these new actions will “hasten our eventual integration with Vishay and better position the combined company for future growth.”—MAD

Daw awarded two cleanroom contracts
The North American Cleanrooms subsidiary of Daw Technologies Inc. (Salt Lake City, UT) has been awarded two contracts totaling approximately $4.1 million. These contracts cover the design and installation of a cleanroom facility for a major disk drive manufacturing company in the eastern United States and a cleanroom for a major university's research center located in the western United States.—LJB

MESA announces MES conference/expo
MESA International will hold its MES Conference and Exposition-Europe 2001 on November 19-20 at the Hotel Okura, Amsterdam, Netherlands. The theme for the conference is “MES:What to do when your ERP fails! Practical solutions using manufacturing execution systems.” This represents the inaugural event for the MESA-Europe Chapter formed in April 2001.The event is sponsored by CMG with additional support provided by GE Fanuc. For more information, visit —LJB

Horiba intros digital camera particle size analyzer
Horiba Instruments Inc. (Irvine, CA) has introduced the Camsizer, manufactured by Retsch, to the U.S. market. The product uses digital image processing to measure the particle size of free-flowing powders in the range of 30 mm to 30 mm. The instrument uses two matched digital cameras to ensure accurate measurement throughout the measurement range and provides an analysis of particle shape in addition to that of particle size. Reportedly, the product can provide results in less than one minute.—LJB

Adhesives Research achives ISO 9001:2000
The Glen Rock, PA, facility of Adhesives Research Inc. is fully certified to the newly updated ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management Systems standards and guidelines, as assessed by Intertek. To achieve certification, the company was able to build upon its existing quality management system. The updated standard places increased emphasis on systems oriented toward customer satisfaction and continual improvement.—LJB

MetroLine/IPC merges with TePla Inc.
MetroLine/IPC (Corona, CA) has completed its merger with TePla Inc. (Carrolton, TX) to form TePla America Inc. as of July 2001. The corporation is a fully owned subsidiary of TePla AG of Kirchheim, Germany. The merger positions the company as a worldwide supplier of plasma surface modification systems. The company intends to continue its penetration into semiconductor, medical device and industrial market segments.—LJB


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