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Thomas West Inc.

TWI History

TWI in Silicon Valley

TWI is proud of its achievements of over 25 years of operation. The company’s dedication to its knowledge of textiles and process applications has made its success possible and its future unlimited.



Building on a career in aviation and a family background in textiles, Thomas West launched a business (TWI) in the early 1980’s aimed at the growing microelectronics industry in Silicon Valley. Soon, his company had developed several innovative commercial textile products including clean room wipes and swabs.

In 1982, TWI teamed with toolmaker Exclusive Design Co. (EDC; San Jose, CA) to develop a textile cleaning tape for floppy discs, and three years later TWI introduced a tape for texturing rigid disks. This product became especially important as the industry switched to thin film coatings, and needed to put a fine finishing polish on various film layers.

In 1994, TWI launched a new product line aimed at chemical mechanical planarization (CMP), a process in integrated circuit manufacturing. The company developed a softer and more porous polishing pad that allowed more efficient use of slurry than the industry norm. In 1995, SEMATECH (Austin, TX) formally recognized this product by awarding TWI a spot in a benchmark study, and later funding from six other research programs.

Following the SEMATECH studies, TWI rapidly gained market share in W CMP with the 813 and later the 711 pads. These pads are still used today worldwide.

In 1997, TWI opened a new $12-million pad and tape production facility and corporate headquarters in Sunnyvale, California. In 2000 TWI hired a team of veteran IC industry executives to reconfigure TWI to better serve its customer base.

In 2002, TWI’s business & quality systems at the Sunnyvale facility achieved third party certification to the ISO 9001 international quality system standard.

In 2006 TWI introduced the 312 pad for W, Cu, oxide, and STI CMP applications. This pad rapidly achieved a commercial success, and is currently being evaluated worldwide.


2009 TWI re-certifies to ISO 9001-2008 standard.
2008 TWI launches new website which features an industry RSS feed.
2007 TWI hires three CMP engineers for sales and applications team.
  TWI hires two industry veterans for Asia sales and applications support TWI introduces PMR polishing tapes for HDD.
2006 Thomas West gets recertified for ISO 9001-2000.
  TWI gains first customer for its new 312 CMP pad
2005 TWI wins first CMP accounts in China
  Company hires AMAT executive to head CMP effort.
  TWI introduces microdenier nylon and poly tapes for advanced LMR texturing
2004 TWI Obtains Global Window License from Applied Materials
2002 TWI business & quality system certified to ISO 9001 international quality system standard. (TUV CERT# 02-1115)
  TWI Quality System Goes Electronic
2001 WS21 Tape becomes industry standard for LMR texturing
2000 New Management Team comes aboard.
1997 TWI 813 CMP pad chosen for IPEC/SEMATECH Gaard Tool Benchmark. IPEC uses TWI pads for tool qualification.
  TWI moves administration, R&D and manufacturing into new Sunnyvale, California headquarters building.
1996 TWI establishes CMP laboratory with Strasbaugh 6EC CMP tool as test bench.
1995 East Coast Materials Research Division established.
  SEMATECH Benchmark S112 awarded.
1994 TWI and Milliken develop GOLDSORB®, an EPA-compliant, non-solvent based wiper.
  TWI introduces Zonal Texturing Tapes for thin-film media.
  TWI starts CMP materials development.
1993 First polishing pads for thin-film media sold.
1992 TWI launches CMP program with thin-film free abrasive texture tape program.
1985 Developed with EDC textile substrates for free abrasive texturing in the Thin-Film Rigid Disk Industry. EDC becomes the "tool of choice" for thin-film media texturing.
1984 Developed with Milliken the ANTICON® Wipe, now the worldwide leader in cleanroom wipes.
1982 Developed with DuPont a reduced chloride Sontara 8003 disk processing tape.
  Worked with Exclusive Design Company, Inc. (EDC) to introduce textile cleaning tape for floppy disks.
1981 First cleanroom "low lint" materials introduced, now the industry standard.