MKS Instruments acquires IPC

Andover, Mass. - To help it become a leading enabler of e-diagnostics and advanced process control (APC), MKS Instruments Inc. announced April 5 that it has acquired privately held, Germany-based IPC Fab Automation GmbH.


Andover, Mass. - To help it become a leading enabler of e-diagnostics and advanced process control (APC), MKS Instruments Inc. announced April 5 that it has acquired privately held, Germany-based IPC Fab Automation GmbH. The transaction is anticipated to be neutral to MKS' cash earnings for 2002. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

MKS says IPC is a leading developer and provider of web-based hardware and software that enable e-diagnostics and APC for advanced manufacturing customers. IPC's connectivity hardware incorporates intelligent multiplexing software that eliminates communication bottlenecks by enabling and prioritizing user access to multiple tool applications. By providing more than one interface from the process tool to the factory network, IPC products enable local and remote users to monitor, not only tool scheduling, but also various parameters of tool operating performance. Related IPC software applications enable overall equipment efficiency (OEE) monitoring of advanced manufacturing processes.

The IPC acquisition complements MKS' recent acquisitions that enable advanced process control for semiconductor and thin film manufacturing. 'As our semiconductor manufacturing customers transition to 300-mm wafers, each wafer becomes more valuable. Our strategy is to enable our customers to more completely monitor, analyze, and ultimately more precisely control the process chamber environment by integrating critical process components, technologies and data around the process chamber,' says John Bertucci, MKS' chairman, ceo and president. 'Today our TeNTA process controllers collect data on the process chamber environment by connecting through our DIP digital process control network products to the instruments, components and subsystems around the chamber. By adding IPC's connectivity hardware and software, we can enable the distribution of that data in real time across the factory network. We believe that more complete e-diagnostic information will help our customers make more informed decisions that could increase their tool productivity.'

Gerhard Rupp, founder of IPC Fab Automation GmbH, and now general manager of MKS' IPC Products Group, adds that, 'Many companies are finding that the standard interface linking a single process tool to a single factory network is not productive. IPC products allow multiple users to access multiple applications through one connection in a secure and prioritized fashion. As part of MKS, we can link our technology with other MKS products to better serve our customers. In addition, we can utilize MKS' global sales, support and manufacturing infrastructure to expand our market penetration.'

IPC products will expand MKS' product portfolio for controlling critical process parameters of flow, pressure, composition, energy and information for the semiconductor, thin-film and other markets. Specific product lines include Baratron pressure measurement and control products, HPS vacuum subsystem products, Mass-Flo advanced materials delivery products, Spectra process monitor products, On-Line gas and thin-film metrology products, DIP digital process control network products, ASTeX reactive gas generator products, ENI power delivery products, and TeNTA process control subsystems.

Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Jim Montague, news editor

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