Small World


By Marcy Koff

MEMS makers disagree—and agree

Small Times’ online report of Tronics Microsystems’ fifth-consecutive-quarter net profit announcement drew a response from competitor Micralyne Inc.

Tronics’ claim is wrong, says Micra-lyne CEO Chris Lumb, explaining that “it is not the first pure-play contract manufacturer of advanced MEMS devices to achieve consistent profitability.”

Lumb points out that Micralyne, a MEMS developer and manufacturer in Alberta, Canada, has been in operation for 10 years. “During that time we have had profitable GAAP net income every year but one [2004],” he says, noting that revenues have approximately quintupled in the same space of time.

Tronics, based in Grenoble, France, had issued a statement saying Q3 2007 marked the company’s fifth-consecutive quarter of net profit, making it the first pure-play contract manufacturer of advanced MEMS devices to achieve consistent profitability. The company predicted that fiscal 2007 would close with a net profit, while revenues for 2007 were expected to exceed last year’s by more than 50%. This, the company says, validates pure-play custom MEMS model.

Lumb says the achievement validates that the MEMS industry is developing sustainable presence. Regardless of the specific interpretation, the rivals agree on positive direction.

Nanotechnology part of a well-balanced breakfast

A generous serving of nanotechnology, designed to spark an interest in math and science, is now part of the breakfast menu for children throughout the Northeast, thanks to a new cereal box developed exclusively by Price Chopper Supermarkets as part of its recent “Spotlight on Science” initiative with the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) of the University at Albany. Three hundred middle school and high school students from 11 schools throughout the Tech Valley region got a first look at the new cereal boxes during a visit to CNSE’s Albany NanoTech complex for NanoCareer Day, which featured presentations, tours, and interactive demonstrations designed to address the national need to stimulate an interest in math and science among America’s younger generation.

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Boxes of Price Chopper’s Koo-Kies and Peanut Butter Cocoa Spheres cereals, which feature kid-friendly information about the growing impact of nano-technology on society, are now on store shelves in 116 Price Chopper stores in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania.

Europe addresses nano/food nexus

The first nano-food contact material has already been approved by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and a second is under review. But EFSA says it will not be able to meet the European Commission’s mandate for a complete generic risk assessment of nanotechnology by March 31, 2008. Instead, EFSA has proposed to issue only an initial scientific opinion by summer 2008, and now plans to set up a working group of 10 to 15 Member State scientific experts to analyze and build on standing opinions by EU scientific advisory bodies and third countries.

Find these additional stories online:

As MEMS “consumerization wave” surges, developers address production challenges

London meeting reviews British nano policies

Roadmap for Productive Nanosystems rolled out at two-day workshop