1 December 2010

GT wins first sapphire furnace orders since buying Crystal Systems

GT Solar International Inc of Merrimack, NH, USA (a provider of polysilicon production technology as well as sapphire and silicon crystalline growth systems and materials for the solar, LED and other specialty markets) has received its first orders for sapphire crystallization furnaces since July’s $57.8m acquisition of privately held large-area sapphire substrate growth firm Crystal Systems Inc of Salem, MA.

Totaling more than $84m, the two orders come from Jiangsu Jixing New Material Co Ltd and Jiujiang Sapphire Tech Co Ltd (affiliates of two “highly valued long-term photovoltaic customers”) for their new production facilities. Total annual production capacity of the two orders is about 8 million two-inch equivalents (TIE) of sapphire substrates.

“The response to our sapphire equipment strategy from customers has been very positive,” says president & CEO Tom Gutierrez. “We continue to talk with other potential customers in the Asia region for our sapphire crystallization systems, and believe we are on track to meet our projected $100m in revenue in our fiscal year 2012 from sapphire crystallization equipment sales,” he adds.

The two orders represent GT Solar’s entry into the LED equipment market, which it stated it would pursue on acquiring Crystal Systems. Both Jiangsu Jixing New Material and Jiujiang Sapphire Tech are positioning themselves to capitalize on the expected growth of the LED market over the coming years by building the capacity to produce high-quality, large-area sapphire substrates. These initial customers will be targeting the high-brightness LED market segment, says GT Solar.

“Our advanced sapphire crystallization systems are built on a highly scalable and reliable architecture that lets customers quickly ramp to volume production with a lower capital investment compared with other competing crystallization technologies,” claims Gutierrez. “The combination of our technology and the depth of our regional service and installation expertise deliver compelling value to our customers by reducing the risks of equipping and commissioning a new manufacturing facility,” he adds.

The two orders, in combination with other DSS (Directional Solidification System) and polysilicon orders, bring GT Solar’s bookings for the current quarter (fiscal Q3/2011 to date) to more than $245m, strengthen the firm’s view for a strong fiscal 2012 (based on the pipeline of orders still under discussion with customers).

Tags: GT Solar Crystal Systems Sapphire crystallization furnaces

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