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Aquest Systems Offers Risk-Free Fab Productivity Improvement Solution.

FabEX(TM) No-Wait-Productivity(SM) Improvement Solution Enables an Automation 'Highway' for IC Manufacturers

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Nov. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Aquest Systems, a developer of innovative automation solutions for the global semiconductor industry, today announced the availability of its new FabEX(TM) No-Wait-Productivity(SM) Improvement (NPI) solution. Leveraging the FabEX Transporter Aquest announced in May of last year, the FabEX NPI solution optimizes material movement in an existing fab by eliminating bottlenecks and congestions that impact IC manufacturers' fab productivity. The solution quickly, easily and without risk enhances fab productivity, as it connects without any changes to the IC manufacturers' existing automated material handling systems (AMHS).

Addressing the widely-found areas in a typical fab where existing AMHS with overhead transport (OHT) vehicles cannot keep up with IC fab productivity improvement requirements, FabEX eliminates unnecessary delays and reduces the load on already-installed systems. By adding Aquest's patented FabEX Transporter to their existing AMHS, IC manufacturers are able to circumvent the congestion using an alternative route or 'highway' to move front opening unified pods (FOUPs) at high speeds (>3 meters/second) between various critical locations in the fab. In turn, chipmakers see a reduction in FOUP delivery times, as well as an increase in fab-wide transport capacity.

"Introducing NPI reaffirms our commitment to developing a new genre of IC fab automation solutions that delivers on our promise of 'No-Wait-Manufacturing'," said Aquest founder and CEO Mihir Parikh. "Our corporate strategy is based on enabling IC manufacturers around the world to dramatically reduce delays in the IC fab, as well as improve both productivity and profitability. NPI accomplishes this by integrating into their current automation systems, thereby assuring risk-free productivity improvement."

Enhancing fab productivity, while also removing risk, this advanced solution works in tandem with existing automated systems. The FabEX NPI connects to installed stockers, OHT vehicles and material control systems (MCS), without requiring any changes to the existing AMHS. With proper planning, Aquest's NPI solution does not require a fab to slow down or stop production. In fact, the NPI can be expeditiously integrated with any fab's current AMHS without mechanical or software modifications, reinforcing Aquest's No-Wait-ManufacturingSM vision of enhancing fab ROI by boosting fab productivity.

Commenting on the launch, Michael Brain, Aquest's vice president of technology and marketing, added, "NPI is the only solution in the industry that fully integrates with existing, installed AMHS to solve numerous productivity challenges in a fab. For example, as reported in July this year, Aquest has integrated the FabEX 'highway' into Powerchip Semiconductor's current AMHS, which is designed to provide additional capacity to move 8,000 FOUPS per day at high speeds between their two fabs, 12A and 12B, with average delivery times of less than 140 seconds."

FabEX NPI is available now, and Aquest is planning significant installations in existing IC fabs worldwide.

Aquest's No-Wait-Manufacturing ('NWM') Vision

NWM is a vision for a family of products and services that provide IC manufacturers with a solution to significantly reduce or eliminate the unnecessary 'waits' or delays that affect manufacturing productivity in an IC fab. Some common causes of 'waits' in today's fabs are:
 -- The vehicle-based architecture of today's Automated Material Handling
 Systems (AMHS)
 -- Scheduling complexity due to changes in priority, caused by the
 introduction of 'hot' lot and equipment down situations
 -- Equipment front-end connectivity and availability, especially for
 smaller lots





As a pioneer and leader in the NWM vision, Aquest will provide IC manufacturers with a value-add solution to address each of these waits or delays through a phased introduction of unique products and services-designed to significantly enhance fab productivity and increase the flexibility of fab layout and expansion.

About Aquest Systems

Founded in 2004, Aquest Systems is the pioneer of No-Wait-Manufacturing (NWM) automation technologies for the worldwide semiconductor industry. A truly global company, Aquest employs a worldwide organization to efficiently leverage talent and resources in the United States, Japan, Taiwan and India. The company is privately held and headquartered in Sunnyvale, Calif. More information can be found at http://www.aquestsystems.com/.

No-Wait-Manufacturing and No-Wait-Productivity are service marks of Aquest Systems.

FabEX is a trademark of Aquest Systems.

CONTACT: Carol Higgins of Aquest Systems, +1-408-530-2503, chiggins@aquestsystems.com; or Kelly Picasso of MCA, +1-650-968-8900, ext. 127, kpicasso@mcapr.com, for Aquest Systems

Web site: http://www.aquestsystems.com/
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 12, 2007
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