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Asyst Technologies Launches Next-Generation Tool-Interface Products At SEMICON Japan.

Business Editors/High-Tech Writers

SEMICON Japan

CHIBA, Japan--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 4, 2001

New 300mm Products Extend Company's Leadership in Innovative

Fab Automation Solutions; Four Leading IC Manufacturers

Have Selected New G3 FOUP as Best-of-Breed Solution

Strengthening its offering of comprehensive solutions for semiconductor fab and equipment automation, Asyst Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq:ASYT) today announced, during the SEMICON Japan tradeshow and conference, the latest additions to its portfolio of industry-leading tool-interface products. Asyst's new G3 front-opening unified pod (FOUP) and SMIF-300FL(TM) Front-Load Series 3-EP load port take the company's pioneering Standard Mechanical Interface (SMIF(TM)) technology to the next level of performance. The new products are designed to offer unprecedented particle cleanliness, as well as unmatched interoperability and ease-of-use capabilities, to meet the exacting requirements associated with the industry's transition to 300mm equipment.

The established leader in both 200mm and 300mm tool-interface solutions, Asyst developed the innovative G3 FOUP as part of its ongoing efforts to help further industry requirements by providing user-oriented functionality for the 300mm market. Through close collaboration with a number of 300mm customers around the world, including chip manufacturers, OEMs and industry consortia, Asyst created the new FOUP with the advanced features these customers most need: superior interoperability, error-free operation, mechanical interfaces with unprecedented accuracy, and a seamless automation upgrade path. As a result, four major 300mm customers -- leading IC manufacturers based in the United States, Europe and Taiwan -- have already selected the G3 FOUP as a best-of-breed solution.

Fully compatible with Asyst's other 300mm product offerings, the G3 FOUP features a newly integrated bottom conveyor groove designed to facilitate high-speed conveyor transport on the tool loader/buffer module for Asyst's FasTrack(TM) automated material handling system (AMHS), which is based on the company's patented continuous-flow technology. The new, lightweight G3 adds key performance and reliability enhancements to its predecessor, Asyst's industry-leading, field-proven Gen 2 FOUP. Among these new features are: a metal-free door (to prevent corrosion) with fail-safe 300mm load port docking; enhanced particle performance to help boost yield; faster cleaning times to improve FOUP throughput; integrated ID tracking compatible with Asyst's auto-ID product line; and improved protection against electrostatic discharge (ESD). Volume shipments of the G3 FOUP from Asyst's new world-class FOUP manufacturing facility in Newberg, Oregon, began in September 2001.

According to Wayne Nobles, vice president and general manager of Asyst's Wafer and Reticle Carrier Business Unit, this new product will further augment the company's established leadership in 300mm FOUPs. "Our collaborative work with key 300mm customers to develop the G3 FOUP has yielded an advanced pod that offers a broader range of industry-required features than any other FOUP currently on the market," stated Nobles. "We are particularly pleased to announce the G3 product at SEMICON Japan. Our customers in this region, and around the world, are reaping the ultimate benefit of Asyst's tradition of innovation and market leadership in isolation technology: high productivity in their 300mm fabs."

The Asyst SMIF-300FL Series 3-EP 300mm load port enables OEM tools to meet or exceed industry's toughest cleanliness requirements (better than ISO Class 2) and leads the industry in interoperability with a variety of FOUPs (including both Asyst's industry-leading Gen2 FOUP and new G3 model). Designed to set a new industry standard in reliability, the Series 3-EP Front-Load is flexible and custom-configurable, featuring new options for bar-code reading, programmability and other AMHS requirements, and complies with the full range of applicable SEMI standards. As with the G3 FOUP, Asyst worked closely with customers and industry consortia to develop and refine design improvements for the new load port, which is scheduled to begin shipping to customers in Q1 2002.

Offering a complete line of automated product solutions for the isolation, protection, tracking and transport of 300mm wafers, Asyst holds a significant share of the emerging 300mm automation market. The company's most recent successes -- reportedly achieved on the basis of product performance and reliability, low cost-of-ownership and positive responses from OEMs regarding Asyst's superior regional service and support -- include recent major competitive wins in Europe, Asia and North America. Asyst believes that its comprehensive solutions (including a simple, efficient transition path to future 300mm production for customers upgrading 200mm fabs from open cassettes to SMIF technology) give the company a strong competitive advantage over other automation vendors being considered to equip newly built 300mm fabs in various regions around the world.

Asyst is demonstrating its full range of 200mm and 300mm automation solutions, including the G3 FOUP and SMIF-300FL Series 3 EP, in Booth No. 6-B201 at SEMICON Japan, December 5-7, Makuhari Messe, Chiba, Japan.

Except for statements of historical fact, the statements in this press release are forward-looking. Such statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the statements made. These factors include, but are not limited to, general economic conditions, semiconductor industry cycles, risks associated with the acceptance of new products and product capabilities and other factors more fully detailed in the Company's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

About Asyst: Asyst Technologies, Inc. is a leading provider of integrated automation systems for the semiconductor manufacturing industry, which enable semiconductor manufacturers to increase their manufacturing productivity and protect their investment in silicon wafers during the manufacture of integrated circuits, or ICs. Through its "Value-Assured Fab" strategy, Asyst offers a broad range of 200mm and 300mm solutions that enable the safe transfer of wafers and information between the process equipment and the fab line throughout the IC fabrication process, while reducing IC damage caused by human, environmental, mechanical and chemical factors. Encompassing isolation systems, work-in-process materials management, substrate-handling robotics, automated transport and loading systems, and connectivity automation software, Asyst's modular, interoperable solutions allow chipmakers and original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, to select and employ the value-assured, hands-off manufacturing capabilities that best suit their needs. Asyst's homepage is http://www.asyst.com.

Note to Editors: SMIF, SMIF-300FL and FasTrack are trademarks of Asyst Technologies, Inc.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 4, 2001
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