IMI has just completed
its best sales month ever - $480k
in September 2005. The company has continued to make steady progress with both
end customers (integrated device manufacturers (IDMs)) and the furnace manufacturers
(OEMs). As reported earlier, the company received a large order from an American
customer in May. Since May the company has received many additional qualification
orders as well as orders from customers already in production with IMI towers.
Customers already in qualification and OEMs have given IMI reports of impressive
performance in SiN, Polysilicon and Oxide processes. The company expects that
most of the customers currently in qualification will order additional products
in the next several months.
As reported in the last update, customers are increasingly demanding IMI supply the full all-silicon hot zone (containing a: tower, liner, injectors and baffle wafers) to address their particle problems in LPCVD processes. In high temperature processes, customer focus on reducing the artifacts from wafer contact with the tower (slip, loop dislocations and other smaller damage) has increased. This has resulted in growing interest ring type towers which feature larger contact area between the wafer and the tower thus minimizing the stresses at the contact points. IMI has moved to address both these opportunities.
Since the last update, IMI has introduced new proprietary design Shelf Tower into the market. The shelf tower represents an opportunity for IMI to further reduce the customers risk of slip in high temperature process while adding to IMIs revenue and margin. Initial process results at a large foundry are encouraging.
The company is in the process of moving gas injectors from beta to production mode. Several gas injectors are in qualification and the company just received its first repeat order from a customer who completed qualification.
Liner tubes are just beginning qualifications. The company spent considerable effort to develop repeatable manufacturing methods for the liner product. Customer demand is high. The Company has orders in hand for several liner tubes for both 300mm and 200mm wafer geometries. These orders are from leading DRAM, foundry and DSP producers. The liner product is still designated as a beta product, but the company anticipates strong demand in the near future. Using an IMI tower, a large DRAM producer observed a particle reduction in its polysilicon LPCVD process of over 50%. This customer is convinced that adding a liner tube will effect further significant particle reductions and has ordered two liner tubes for qualification.