Hard Drive Maker Orders New Plasma Etch Systems

Tegal Corporation, a leading designer and manufacturer of plasma etch and deposition systems used in the production of magnetic data storage, integrated circuits, MEMS, and nanotechnology devices, today announced that it has received additional orders for 981ACS units from a leading hard disk drive manufacturer to support capacity expansion for magnetic data storage device fabrication. The new Tegal 981ACS units add to the customer's extensive installed base of 900 Series plasma etch systems. The order also includes additional ACS productivity upgrades for the customer's legacy 900 Series tools.

John Almerico, Marketing Director for Etch Products at Tegal Corporation, said: "Tegal's efforts to keep pace with the rapid cycles of innovation, and the relentless drive for manufacturing efficiencies in the Hard Disk Drive industry have been recognized by our customers, resulting in these additional Tegal 981ACS orders from an HDD leader. The Tegal 981ACS has demonstrated time and again that it can reliably perform the extensive number of precision photoresist descum and trim operations required to make leading-edge magnetic data storage products, with the low operating costs needed in the highly competitive HDD world. We also think, as does our customer here, that the ACS upgrade for legacy 900 Series tools offers additional performance benefits that add real value to these workhorse systems."

The Tegal 981ACS is the latest in a series of diode plasma etch systems produced by Tegal, the industry pioneer in commercial single-wafer plasma etching. Over 1,500 systems in the 900 Series have been shipped to date, providing reliable and cost-effective support for a wide range of plasma etch processes. The Tegal 900ACS Series is optimized for precision photoresist descum, non-selective nitride, backside, and planarization etching, as well as for oxide, nitride, poly, and compound materials applications for TFH, HB-LED, MEMS, Power device, and Optoelectronic device fabrication. The 900ACS Series platform incorporates a production-proven transport system that can accommodate 75 mm to 200 mm round, square or rectangular substrates.

The hard disk drive market, expected to show year-on-year double-digit growth for the rest of the decade, from the 400 million units shipped in 2006 to more than 600 million units per year in 2009 and 2010, is benefiting from two important consumer trends. Consumers are purchasing large-capacity hard disk drives to support the data storage needs of the "Terabyte Home," allowing consumers easy central access to their recorded television programs, movie and video collections, digital image files, and music libraries. And, with the growing popularity of High Definition video camcorders, consumer electronics makers like Canon and Sony are employing small form factor hard disk drives in their HD camcorders to store the extensive stream of data generated by HD video recording.

The Advanced Control System (ACS) upgrade is available exclusively from Tegal as a field or factory retrofit for the existing installed base of 900 and 980 series systems. The ACS features a fully integrated graphical user interface, parametric data logging, full factory automation support, and throughput enhancements for the wafer-handling system.

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