Applied Materials opens expanded PV, FPD manufacturing center in Taiwan

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Applied Materials announced last week that it has opened the newly expanded Tainan Manufacturing Center in southern Taiwan, a nearly 15,000 square-meter facility that the company says will enhance its capability to serve thin-film solar photovoltaic and flat-panel display (FPD) customers in Asia.

The center employs approximately 150 people and is expected to build and ship about 100 new plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) and physical vapor deposition (PVD) production systems this year, which represents a 400% increase in shipments compared with 2009.

The company says that the plant’s Tainan location and extensive supply chain in Asia will enable it to more rapidly meet the demands of its large base of display and solar customers in Asia.

The capital investment in the facility was not disclosed.

“The Tainan Manufacturing Center is one of our biggest investments in Asia and puts Taiwan at the center of our display and solar equipment technology efforts,” said Mike Splinter, chairman/CEO of Applied Materials. “Applied has a 20-year history of success in Taiwan and with this expanded center, we are setting a strong foundation for even greater success in the next 20 years.”

The center augments Applied’s already signficant presence in Taiwan, where it has more than 800 employees in 10 offices across the country.

Taiwan is also becoming increasingly active in solar energy, as the region’s government has passed legislation aimed at promoting the use of renewable energy and boosting energy diversification. Applied has donated R&D systems for thin-film PV research to some of Taiwan’s leading universities and supports education efforts through its Applied Young Talent program.

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Applied opened its Solar Technology Center in Xi’an, China, last fall, a large advanced R&D facility that contains a SunFab thin-film manufacturing line and complete crystalline-silicon pilot process, both meant to closely simulate customers’ production environments.

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