Eaton invests $92 million in its semiconductor equipment business

CLEVELAND, OHIO… Eaton Corporation today said it is investing $92 million in its Semiconductor Equipment Operations (SEO) to strengthen the business unit’s ability to provide customers with integrated advanced process solutions for the manufacture of semiconductor chips.

"Over the past twenty years Eaton has grown its Semiconductor Equipment business from a venture capital start-up to a $700 million business," said Eaton President Alexander M. Cutler. "In the process, we have become the world leader in ion implantation. In the past two years, we have broadened our capabilities and now provide equipment and process support for additional steps in semiconductor fabrication. To that end, we have acquired thermal processing, photostabilization and photoresist stripping capabilities.

"We are integrating processing steps to provide our customers with superior means to fabricate semiconductor chips. This $92 million investment reflects our determination to remain a leader in meeting customers’ requirements. We intend to be the partner of choice in developing advanced process solutions that will lead to their ultimate market success."

At Eaton’s SEO headquarters in Beverly, Massachusetts, the company is constructing a $75.7 million, 110,000-square-foot demonstration line for the use of Eaton processing equipment to manufacture, or fabricate, semiconductor chips. Known in the industry as a "mini-fab", this line is scheduled for completion in late 1998. Eaton will use this new facility to develop next-generation application solutions for specific customers, as well as to demonstrate the full range of its highly integrated process equipment. The equipment is used for the following steps in producing semiconductors: ion implantation, thermal processing, photo stabilization and photoresist stripping. Also included in the mini-fab will be a full suite of metrology equipment, designed to analyze and calibrate process performance of Eaton’s and other manufacturers’ equipment.

In Rockville, Maryland, Eaton today opened a $2.8 million, 6,000-square-foot, Process Technology Center in its Fusion Systems Division. The center will be used to develop and test new process solutions for the semiconductor industry, and includes analytical equipment required to test, troubleshoot and improve process applications. "The facility meets the highest industry standards for clean manufacturing," according to John Matthews, general manager – Fusion Systems. The new center will serve to demonstrate the company’s Fusion line of products, which are dedicated to the processes of ashing, photostabilization and residue removal. Eaton acquired Fusion Systems Corporation in August of this year.

Finally, Eaton is investing $13 million in a 50,000-square-foot expansion of its ion implant equipment manufacturing facilities in Beverly, Massachusetts. This facility is designed to meet the rigorous industry standards for clean manufacturing and is slated to open in early 1999.

Eaton’s Semiconductor Equipment Operations is comprised of four business units: Implant Systems Division, Thermal Processing Systems, Fusion Systems and Flat Panel Equipment. Since 1978, Eaton’s Implant Systems Division (ISD) has led the market in the manufacture of high current, medium current and high energy ion implantation equipment. In 1996, the company expanded its product offering to include Eaton Thermal Processing Systems (TPS), providing fast ramp vertical furnaces and rapid thermal processors for semiconductor manufacturing. In 1997, Eaton acquired Fusion Systems Corporation, a leading supplier of photostabilization and photoresist stripping equipment. Eaton Flat Panel Equipment (FPE), dedicated to the development and manufacture of implant systems specifically designed for the next generation of flat panel manufacturing processes, was established in 1996.

Eaton SEO has manufacturing facilities in Beverly and Peabody, Massachusetts; Austin, Texas; Rockville, Maryland and Kyunggi-do, Korea as well as in Toyo, Japan through its joint venture with Sumitomo Heavy Industries. During 1996, annual sales for Eaton SEO and its joint venture affiliate reached more than $625 million. During 1996 annual sales for Fusion were $84 million. Eaton SEO and its joint venture, Sumitomo Eaton Nova, employ more than 2,700 people.

Eaton Corporation is a global manufacturer of highly engineered products which serve industrial, vehicle, construction, commercial and semiconductor markets. Principal products include electrical power distribution and control equipment, truck transmissions and axles, engine components, hydraulic products, ion implanters and a wide variety of controls. Headquartered in Cleveland, the company has 51,000 employees and 150 manufacturing sites in 26 countries around the world. Sales for 1996 were $7 billion.



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Renald Romain