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Ultra Clean Technology opens Shanghai plant

Ultra Clean Technology (UCT) literally rolled out the red carpet on March 18 to celebrate the opening of its new facility in Shanghai, China. Accompanied by Chinese musicians, lion dancers, and a raucous fireworks display, the company's CEO and officials from Shanghai's municipal foreign investment development board and the Kangqiao industrial zone performed a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the plant, located in Shanghai's Pudong district.


The 52,000-sq-ft facility, which began operations last November and shipped its first product in February, will be used to assemble gas-delivery systems and other modules and subsystems—including liquid-delivery systems, frames, and process modules—for semiconductor manufacturing tools. It contains a Class 100 cleanroom for performing welding operations and a separate Class 1000 assembly cleanroom. Portions of the 30,000-sq-ft warehouse can be converted into additional cleanroom space as the need arises. The company says that it intends to keep its R&D and prototyping activities at its Menlo Park, CA, headquarters and send production-worthy items to the Chinese plant for assembly. The workforce of 42, which includes a core group of engineers, production support staff, and administrative personnel, is expected to double in size in a few months as production ramps.

Keith Cheung, managing director of the Shanghai facility, explained to MICRO why UCT chose Shanghai for its new plant: "Who's booming? Where is the semiconductor industry going? Who's got an educated, young workforce? What's the low-cost country in the region? Add all the answers to these questions together and the overall answer is inevitable—China. On the technical side, some other countries are superior, but add it all together and the choice for China won hands down."

Clarence Granger, UCT's president/CEO, noted at a banquet following the opening ceremony that manufacturing in China is key to expanding into different subsystems and gives the company new customers. "We couldn't have done it [opened the Shanghai UCT facility] without the support of the [local] government," added Chen Ce, secretary of the Chinese Communist Party Nanhui district committee.—BM

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