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Rubicon qualified to supply 6-inch polished sapphire wafers

The firm’s Malaysian plant also aims to produce 8-inch sapphire wafers in volume to cope with increasing demand from the global LED industry.

Rubicon Technology, a provider of sapphire substrates, has two critical milestones that enable its new state-of-the-art facility in Penang, Malaysia to move into volume production of six- and eight-inch polished sapphire wafers.

Rubicon’s new Malaysia facility recently completed qualification of its six-inch wafers by a key customer, and also successfully completed an ISO certification audit. Both of these milestones enable the Malaysian facility to move into volume production of six-inch polished wafers, which are in high demand as LED chip manufacturers continue to migrate to larger diameter substrates to realise greater efficiencies. The facility is also capable of processing and polishing eight-inch wafers that Rubicon provides to customers in R&D volumes.

Rubicon’s customers demand exceptional quality -- consistently delivered -- and often require vendors to achieve and maintain globally recognized quality standards, such as those set by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). Rubicon’s Malaysia facility recently passed the rigorous audit by ISO inspectors with zero findings and has been recommended for ISO 9001:2008 certification, which is expected to be formally issued upon final review by the registrar.

Most companies in the semi-conductor industry also require vendors to re-qualify products when a new manufacturing facility is opened. Rubicon has been in the re-qualification process with a number of existing customers who have previously purchased six-inch wafers produced in Rubicon’s U.S. facility. The Malaysian facility now has qualified with a major customer. The qualification process involves successful production of LED chips on Rubicon six-inch sapphire wafers and rigorous testing of those chips in various applications.

Rubicon’s custom equipment and manufacturing processes position the company as the leading provider of high quality, large diameter sapphire wafers to manufacturers of LEDs worldwide. Rubicon’s Malaysia facility, combined with its new crystal growth facility in Batavia, IL – both leveraging large-diameter sapphire -- were established to deliver the sapphire capacity necessary to support the growing demand for LEDs in the consumer electronics and general lighting industries.

“Our facility in Malaysia further increases our ability to deliver large diameter sapphire wafers in large volumes to customers worldwide,” said Raja Parvez, Rubicon President and CEO. “I am very pleased with the progress we have made in the establishing this state-of-the-art facility and am proud of the work our team has done in implementing the same world class systems we maintain in our U.S. operations.”

Market research firm iSuppli expects the global LED market to nearly double to nearly $14.3bn by 2013, driven by the penetration of LEDs into the general illumination market including light bulbs. LEDs are a popular option for backlighting screens from HDTVs, traffic lights and large displays as well as in a broad range of popular consumer devices including tablets, notebooks, laptops, mobile phones, navigation devices, digital music players, digital photo frames, digital cameras and keypads. LED use in general lighting applications is also increasing significantly, particularly in applications like street lighting, industrial lighting and architectural lighting.

Parvez continued, “The ability of our new Malaysia operation to fabricate larger diameter high quality, polished wafers perfectly complements our existing large diameter crystal growth capability and makes Rubicon the world’s leading vertically integrated provider of large diameter sapphire substrates. The location and capabilities of our manufacturing facilities around the globe minimizes the risk of business interruption while lowering cost and providing proximity to our valued Asian customers.”
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