Extraction Systems looks to capitalize on market opportunity
BY CHRIS ANDERSON
FRANKLIN, MASS.—Extraction Systems Inc. (www.extractionsystemsinc.com), a provider of molecular contamination control and measurement products, recently doubled its manufacturing capacity at its headquarters here in anticipation of a market upswing and changes in the competitive landscape.
"There are a limited number of OEM suppliers who supply these fairly sophisticated litho track filters," says Devon Kinkead, president, CEO, and founder. "The field has recently shrunk as one of our competitors in Japan has departed the business. So, in anticipation of that exit, we wanted to make sure we came on line with that additional capacity to make sure our customers had adequate supply."
The expansion includes an increase of 40 percent of the company's cleanroom manufacturing and testing areas, and the addition of a new filter media processing machine. While Kinkead would not specify the cost of the expansion, he did term it a significant investment, and one that should allow the company to meet increased demand from its existing customers through the end of 2005.
"Extraction began planning this capacity expansion more than a year ago," says James Mastrobuono, director of quality and manufacturing. "In pragmatically investing in additional cleanroom space and new media processing equipment during the downturn, Extraction found new ways to improve the quality, flexibility and efficiency of our manufacturing."
Demand for the company's track filters, aimed at reducing molecular contamination, has steadily increased since early 2003. Kinkead sees the demand growing as deep UV photolithography continues to push to higher energy, smaller wavelengths. "[The industry is] pushing existing tools harder in terms of their capability," says Kinkead. "In doing so, preventing contamination of optics and photochemical contamination, which occur more readily at these higher energy, lower wavelength is going to become very important in the coming years."
With this added importance comes an added emphasis on making sure the filters are operating at peak capacity. "In past eras, if you missed a filter change by a few months, you weren't terribly penalized. That isn't true anymore," says Kinkead. "Today, if you don't have the filter change, either your process goes down or you jeopardize the lenses on the multi-million dollar stepper you just bought...and the warranty that goes with it."
Extraction Systems' two filtration systems include the VaporSorb II polymeric filter media and VaporSorb CSP-32, a hybrid carbon and polymeric media. VaporSorb II is designed for use on all lithography tracks. The company supplies OEMs from around the world with both its products and design expertise. Extraction Systems provides these services in partnership with Metron Technologies in Europe; Woowon in Korea; AOV in China; Hakuto Co. in Japan; and Hermes Systems in Taiwan.
Entegris acquisition sets up European service center
CHASKA, MNN.—Entegris Inc. (www.entegris.com) has acquired the precision parts cleaning business of SNEF, based in Montpellier, France. The facility will become the Entegris European Service Center (EESC), from which the company will service the European market with precision clean certified parts. All SNEF/Montpellier personnel have been retained to provide continuity of programs and customer relations.
Entegris is a leading supplier of precision and sub-micron cleaning systems and services, including Front Opening Shipping Boxes (FOSBs) and disk shipper reuse programs to semiconductor and hard disk drive manufacturers.