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Thomas West Inc.

TWI Press Releases

TWI Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary


SUNNYVALE, Calif. – August 21, 2008 – Thomas West (TWI) celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Tom West, founder and president, is the third generation of a family that’s been involved with textile-based consumables for industrial use. West’s version of the family tradition places him in Silicon Valley supplying polishing pads to integrated circuit (IC) manufacturers and polishing, texturing and wipe tapes to hard disk drive (HDD) manufacturers.

West began his business by selling high-quality wipers to the avionics industry for use in cockpit development and manufacturing. In 1983, he began an alliance with Exclusive Design Company (EDC: San Jose, CA), a manufacturer of machines to polish and texture disks for storage devices. West developed the textile tape that ran through EDC’s machine, delivering a polishing or texturing slurry solution to the disk surfaces. Within a few years, TWI sold thousands of these tapes to most of the biggest HDD including IBM and Komag.

In the mid-1990’s, TWI entered the burgeoning market for polishing pads for use in Chemical Mechanical Planarization (CMP) in the IC industry. CMP has many applications in the semiconductor industry including metal (Copper & Tungsten), dielectric & Shallow Trench Isolation (STI). As the consumer electronics market demands smaller, lighter and higher functioning devices, CMP becomes more and more important. The market for CMP pads alone approaches $600 million dollars.

With only one major supplier of CMP pads in the 1990’s, semiconductor process engineers and purchasing professionals were looking for an alternate supplier.

In 1995, SEMATECH, a research consortia of chipmakers, partially subsidized by the federal government, invited TWI to participate in a benchmark study of polishing pads for use in tungsten CMP. That study concluded that the TWI pad performed better than the industry standard. Since that time, TWI has become the world’s largest supplier of CMP pads for tungsten CMP, successfully in production in Taiwan, China, Korea, Malaysia, the United States and Europe, on all major polishing equipment systems.

After investing in a brand new $12-million pad production facility in Sunnyvale, California, Mr. West hired a team of high-tech veterans to establish a solid position in the CMP market and bolster the business in polishing tapes for the HDD industry. The new team strengthened its network of domestic and overseas distributors and shed the company’s cleanroom supply business in order to focus on the more specialized markets for polishing products. The new team also achieved third party certification to the ISO 9001 international quality system standard.

Since 2000, the company has since quadrupled its revenues. TWI has been profitable 24 of its 25 year history.

About TWI : Located in Silicon Valley, TWI, incorporated in 1981, is a leading supplier of polishing pads for Chemical Mechanical Planarization (CMP) in semiconductor manufacturing, and polishing, texturing and wipe tapes for HDD. TWI is ISO 9001: 2000 certified. For more information, please contact skirtley@thomaswest.com.

Photos Available Upon Request.

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