Rubicon Technology increases sapphire manufacturing capacity
Rubicon Technology Increases Manufacturing Capacity to Meet Global Demand for Sapphire Products
Explosive growth in the LED market and increasing demand for large-diameter sapphire wafers spur need for expanded manufacturing capacity
Franklin Park, IL, May 8, 2007 -- Driven by growing global demand for sapphire products, Rubicon Technology, a leading manufacturer of sapphire substrates and components, today announced that it will increase its manufacturing capacity with the addition of 30,000 square feet of new production space. The new facility, located in the Chicago-area will complement Rubicon’s existing 80,000-plus square-foot operation.
Demand for sapphire wafer products, such as those produced by Rubicon, continues to increase rapidly. Sapphire substrates are an increasingly popular component in producing light emitting diodes (LEDs). Today, LED usage is at record levels in mobile appliances (cell phones, PDAs, digital cameras), and for signage and display applications. Sapphire wafer usage is anticipated to grow significantly as LEDs are adopted into emerging applications such as backlighting units for computer and video displays, as well as automotive lighting. Additionally, these single crystal sapphire substrates are key as the general illumination market begins to turn to LEDs to replace incandescent bulbs in favor of LEDs’ durability, energy efficiency, enhanced aesthetics, and low-voltage operation.
Industry analyst group Strategies Unlimited reports that the overall market for high-brightness LED applications has already reached $4.2 billion worldwide. In the April 2007 report, the group reports that the LED lighting market alone is anticipated to grow 38 percent annually to reach $1 billion by 2011.
“The technological increases of LEDs are changing the modern world as we know it,” said Jonathan E. Dorsheimer, an analyst in Canaccord Adams' Emerging Growth Semiconductor Group. “This technology has and is revolutionizing multiple applications from consumer electronics devices to automotive and general lighting applications. The early scientific advances credited to Shuji Nakamura have continued, and today, are resulting in a market that is expected to grow over 22 percent CAGR over the next few years as new markets adopt LED technologies.”
As the LED market drives volume demand for sapphire wafers, new applications and processes call for even larger sapphire substrates. Rubicon excels in large diameter sapphire innovation through proprietary crystal growing technologies and manufacturing platforms. Larger diameter (4” to 8”) sapphire wafers are increasingly used for high performance LEDs, Silicon-on-Sapphire Radio Frequency Integrated Circuits (RFIC) chips used in cell phones and base stations. Large diameter sapphire is also used as wafer carriers for other substrates and as optical windows in the aerospace, medical device and sensor markets. These new applications are turning to sapphire for its high-performance and affordability. This represents continued high growth potential for larger diameter sapphire in the future.
As a leading supplier of sapphire products, Rubicon’s own volume performance outpaces overall industry trends, with shipments up significantly in 2006. Worldwide demand for both small and larger-diameter Rubicon sapphire continues to grow at record pace in 2007.
“As a market volume leader of sapphire material, we’ve closely monitored emerging opportunities and taken the necessary steps to capitalize on them,” said Raja M. Parvez, CEO, Rubicon Technology. “Rubicon is committed to continuing our leadership in the sapphire market. The expansion of our production space and capacity is a testament to that vision.”
Rubicon’s expanded manufacturing space is planned to increase production capacity by 25 percent as early as Q1 2008 and by 40 percent by the end of 2008. The capacity addition will enable Rubicon to expand its efforts to address the growing market for large and small diameter sapphire wafers and other applications.
Rubicon’s proprietary ES2-GSA crystal growth technology creates large diameter sapphire crystals characterized by high purity (99.999%), low defects (<100/cm2) and high transmission in ultraviolet (UV) through infrared (IR) wavelengths. This technology produces high-quality sapphire material in high-volume production to meet the performance, quantity and affordability demands of customers.
About Rubicon Technology, Inc.
Founded in 2000, Rubicon Technology addresses the evolving demands of the materials science market. Utilizing proprietary crystal growth and sapphire manufacturing technologies, the company has become a state-of-the-art manufacturer of sapphire material, wafers, and components, and other advanced technology materials for substrates and window applications. The company provides materials to the opto-electronics, compound semiconductor, optical, semiconductor fabrication, and telecommunications market. For more information, go to www.rubicon-es2.com.
Kevin Jurrens (for Rubicon Technology) Garfield Group Public Relations (215) 867-8600 x273