April 27, 2004 Lehigh Valley, Pa.
Air Products today announced the expansion of its Hometown, Pa. Nitrogen Trifluoride (NF3) production facility, a move triggered by growth in the global electronics industry. The expansion helps to solidify Air Products' position as the world's leading manufacturer of this high volume electronics specialty material.
NF3 is used as a chamber cleaning gas in the manufacture of semiconductor and flat panel displays. When compared with competing products, NF3 customers benefit from a significant reduction in emissions, throughput increases of up to 30 percent, longer chamber life and faster clean rates. NF3 is also stable and non-flammable, making it a safe gas to transport, store and deliver to the customer's process tools. Air Products is currently a leading supplier of the world's NF3 to the global electronics industry, and the addition to its facility in Hometown will increase its optimized current capacity by nearly 50 percent. The NF3 expansion is slated to be completed and online in spring 2005.
"We've been able to successfully penetrate an evolving industry with a product that is not only safe and environmentally sound, but significant to the manufacturing of electronics worldwide," said Jerry Ermentrout, vice president and general manager, Electronics. "Our customers' demands for NF3 are growing, driven in part by the 300mm integrated circuit fab ramp and flat panel display market expansion. Our Hometown expansion allows us to meet those demands starting now."
In anticipation of the electronics industry recovery, Air Products pre-invested in its Hometown facility to expedite NF3 capacity expansion and to ensure a continued and reliable customer supply. The multi-year investment strategy now positions Air Products to meet the increase in demand for NF3—a product whose volume continued to grow despite the late industry downturn. That, coupled with an estimated 18 percent growth rate in the flat panel and 300mm silicon industries through 2007, means Air Products is aligned to meet upcoming customer demand. The company maintains reliable NF3 supply through multiple independent plants that continue to be optimized, and has built a solid Asian infrastructure to facilitate the movement of NF3 and other specialty products through strategically placed transfills in Taiwan, Korea and Japan.
Air Products has safely manufactured and distributed NF3 for over a quarter century from its Hometown facility. The expansion follows a recent Samsung announcement in which Air Products will supply NF3 to Samsung's newest flat panel display factory located in Tangjung, Korea. The Samsung generation 7 facility is the first of its kind and will require up to four times the amount of NF3 as is used in traditional semiconductor fabs.
Proprietary production technology and the latest advanced optimization research have led to even lower cost of ownership for NF3. Air Products is also the largest and most experienced supplier of Bulk Specialty Gas Systems (BSGS) and ISO containers, which serve to safely and efficiently transport NF3 to locations throughout world. BSGS ensures product line uptimes that exceed 99.995%.
Air Products (NYSE:APD) serves customers in technology, energy, healthcare and industrial markets worldwide with a unique portfolio of products, services and solutions, providing atmospheric gases, process and specialty gases, performance materials and chemical intermediates. Founded in 1940, Air Products has built leading positions in key growth markets such as semiconductor materials, refinery hydrogen, home healthcare services, natural gas liquefaction, and advanced coatings and adhesives. The company is recognized for its innovative culture, operational excellence and commitment to safety and the environment. With annual revenues of $6.3 billion and operations in over 30 countries, the company's 18,500 employees build lasting relationships with their customers and communities based on understanding, integrity and passion. For more information, visit www.airproducts.com.
NOTE: This release may contain forward-looking statements. Actual results could vary materially, due to changes in current expectations.