Sofradir plans new factory to mass produce third generation IR detectors

Nov. 7, 2006
November 7, 2006, Veurey-Voroize, France--Sofradir, a developer and manufacturer of advanced infrared detectors, announced that it received building permission to construct a new factory near Grenoble, France allowing the company to practically double its production surface, and enable it to mass produce third-generation infrared (IR) detectors.

November 7, 2006, Veurey-Voroize, France--Sofradir, a developer and manufacturer of advanced infrared detectors, announced that it received building permission to construct a new factory near Grenoble, France allowing the company to practically double its production surface, and enable it to mass produce third-generation infrared (IR) detectors.

The new factory gives Sofradir the opportunity to introduce a state-of-the-art manufacturing process, Molecular Beam Epitaxy (MBE), which upgrades Sofradir from 2- to 4-inch mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) wafers. Sofradir is the first European manufacturer to produce IR detectors using MBE technology and the only company, worldwide, to exploit this cost-efficient process on an industrial scale.

"We are excited about getting the green light on our building plans," said Philippe Bensussan, CEO of Sofradir. "The new factory will bolster our product lines, satisfy customer demand through increased capacity, and better position us for longer term growth."

Sofradir, known for producing IR detectors based on mercury cadmium telluride (MCT) technology, is ranked number two for deliveries of second and third-generation MCT IR detectors worldwide. Its products are used in thermal imagers, missile seekers, satellites, and other surveillance, targeting and homing infrared equipment. The investment in a new factory comes at time when the market is looking for larger format IR detectors, more complex features, such as bi-color, dual-band or laser imaging, and products that are more competitively priced.

The surface area of the plant will extend from 5500 to 9000 square meters, of which one third will be comprised of clean rooms. In addition to increasing its production capacity, a portion of the new facility will be devoted to enhancing customer support by providing demonstration rooms and additional testing facilities. The number of new jobs that it will create has not been announced. But Sofradir aims to maintain its current annual hiring rate of 20 - 30 staff for the next three years. Sofradir anticipates that the factory will be operational at the end of 2007.

For more information, visit www.sofradir.com.

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