Newport, United KingdomSPTS Technologies, an Orbotech company, and a supplier of advanced wafer processing solutions for the global semiconductor industry and related markets, today announced it has won the ‘Partnership Award’ with Swansea University for their collaboration into the manufacturing of microneedles and other BioMEMS devices. This award recognized the most impressive partnership between industry and academia, taking into account the extent of co-operation and mutually beneficial outcomes.

SPTS Technologies and Swansea University (College of Engineering & the Centre for NanoHealth) have been working together in the development of micro-needles for bio-medical applications. Funded through the Technology Strategy Board under the Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), this project has supported a post-doctoral researcher, Dr. Yufei Liu, at Swansea University, who has also spent a significant amount of time working at SPTS’ factory in Newport, within the company’s in-house R&D Department. The KTP’s Final Report on the collaboration work was assessed as achieving “Grade A (Outstanding)” by the Technology Strategy Board.

Paul Rich, SPTS’ vice president of etch & deposition product engineering, explained, “While MEMS is an extremely important served market for SPTS, accounting for approximately 30% of our equipment sales, the company’s experience is mainly in the manufacture of established high volume MEMS products like silicon gyroscopes and accelerometers for automotive or smartphone applications. This project gave us extra resources to investigate and demonstrate results within the emerging BioMEMS market which is forecast to become a key driver of MEMS industry growth over the next decade.”  

Dr Owen Guy, associate professor at the College of Engineering at Swansea University, added, “Swansea has benefitted hugely from the KTP in terms of access to SPTS’ “state-of-the-art” etch and deposition tools and the expertise of SPTS’ technical teams. This has led to novel developments of BioMEMS devices with enhanced functionality. The capability of these devices has been instrumental in forging links for future commercial development of BioMEMS products.”

Although this initial KTP funding has come to an end, collaboration between SPTS and Swansea has continued and expanded to include researchers from Cardiff University, with a view to fully commercializing BioMEMS devices and technologies. Yole Développement, a leading market research company, last year forecast that “The BioMEMS market is expected to grow rapidly, from $1.9B in 2012 to $6.6B in 2018”[1].

[1] http://www.yole.fr/iso_upload/News/2013/PR_BIOMEMS_YOLE%20DEVELOPPEMENT_February2013.pdf

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About SPTS Technologies

SPTS Technologies, an Orbotech (NASDAQ:ORBK) company, designs, manufactures, sells, and supports etch, PVD, CVD and thermal wafer processing solutions for the MEMS, advanced packaging, LEDs, high speed RF on GaAs, and power management device markets. With manufacturing facilities in Newport, Wales, Allentown, Pennsylvania, and San Jose, California, the company operates across 19 countries in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific. For more information about SPTS Technologies, please visit www.orbotech.com/spts

Company Contact: Destanie Clarke, Tel: +44 7951 203278, Destanie.Clarke@orbotech.com  

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