Electronics & Computers

Foundry Returns Wafer Production to the U.S.

January 21, 2010

Midwest MicroDevices wins business back from off-shore & non-U.S. MEMS fabs.

TOLEDO, OH -- Officials at Midwest MicroDevices announced receipt of an order near year-end marking the third customer in 2009, for which the firm was able to bring recurring orders for MEMS wafer fabrication back to the U.S. from a previous overseas or non-U.S. fab location.

The past few decades, the traditional path has been for wafer fabrication to transition overseas after being prototyped the U.S. With these orders in its recent fiscal year, Midwest MicroDevices has demonstrated that U.S. firms can compete with off-shore firms. "We specifically have developed our competitive 'sweet-spot' to focus on emerging to medium volume applications, and customers are responding," described President and CEO Dr. Christopher Melkonian. "When a customer considers the total acquisition cost of a custom MEMS device, MMD provides strong value in supporting a customer's path to market in a timely, cost-effective manner."

The three device types MMD has brought back on-shore for wafer fabrication include an industrial thermal sensor, a defense industry pressure sensor, and a consumer device. Further product details are not possible due to customer confidentiality. However, all three customers have indicated interest in pursuing additional wafer fabrication work for other products through MMD as the need arises.

MMD often wins business because of its flexibility, broad process offerings, and unique capabilities in thin film metal deposition that let it support applications others can not take on. "Part of the draw for our customers is the wide variety of thin-film processing we support," noted Jeffery Banker, Executive Vice President. "I like to say we offer customers a 'blank sheet of paper' and we can help them create their unique devices using just about any material. We also fabricate devices on a variety of substrate materials including flexible films."

The interest from U.S. based customers is based on MMD's cost-effective approach to MEMS wafer fab during development, pre-production, and production of wafers. MMD is able to address lower to medium volume applications much more effectively than very large foundries, simply because its production capabilities are scaled to be efficient at those levels.

About Midwest MicroDevices
Based in Ohio, Midwest MicroDevices is a dedicated wafer foundry providing thin-film fabrication services for external customers in both MEMS and non-MEMS applications. As a focused wafer foundry, MMD offers no products of its own which provides assurance that a customer's intellectual property remains 100% protected. MMD targets customers in emerging to volume applications in life sciences, aerospace, defense, and instrumentation.

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