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Dow Corning Plant in Auburn Expands Global Leadership in Silicon Technology

4,000 Patents Lead to Exotic Products Sold to Customers in 57 Countries

June 16, 2005       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Any doubt that Michigan industry can compete in the global high technology marketplace is dispeled by a visit to a facility in the midst of cornfields in Auburn, Michigan.

The Bay Area Chamber of Commerce toured the Dow Corning Corporation's Auburn facility recently and found a world of high technology innovation they didn't know existed. The tour was hosted by plant manager Dan Latal, and arranged by Mike Seward, Chamber president.

Almost surreal scenes were viewed:
  • Employees in "bunny suits," bouffants and booties padding in and out of "clean rooms" said to be 1,000 times more antiseptic than hospital operating rooms.

  • Products with strange names like conformal coatings, dielectrics, thermally conductives, FOX (flowable oxides) and SC wafers.

  • Blue LEDs (light emitting diodes) with the potential to change the energy demands of the nation through use in automotive and other applications.

  • Work teams with "product champions" and researchers interfacing with engineering, maintenance, production and warehouse-shipping personnel under the same roof to quickly solve problems on site.

  • A high tech warehouse in which 750 products are packaged for 20,545 deliveries shipped to customers in 57 countries across the globe.

    The company has four such facilities across the globe: Songjiang, China; Chiba, Japan: Seneffe, Belgium: and Auburn. The global range of these facilities tells a story of modern industry: global high technology is the future.

    The firm has 8,800 employees worldwide and invests six percent of its sales revenue in science and technology. Chemical engineer Stephanie Burns is president and CEO.

    Chamber members "oohed and aahed" through the spotless floors and rooms of the facility that has grown from 50,000 square feet with 33 employees in 1987 to 208,373 square feet and 226 employees today.

    The plant, named Auburn SFM (Semiconductor Fabrication Materials) is sectioned into various divisions with names like Compound Semiconductor Solutions and Advanced Engineering Materials.

    Sustainability is the watchword at Dow Corning and the firm is proud that it was named a "Clean Corporate Citizen" by the State of Michigan in 2004.

    Other recent Dow Corning highlights:

  • Joined a consortium for strategic research and development at the Cambridge University Centre for Advanced Photonics and Electronics (CAPE);

  • Emerged from Chapter 11, bringing to a close a decade-long controversy over silicone breast implants;
  • Purchased the silicone division of Nippon Unicar Co., Ltd,, consolidating operations in Japan; and
  • Dedicated the new location of the Compound Semiconductor Solutions Business consolidating people and assets from three states to Auburn.###

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    Dave Rogers

    Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
    respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
    (Contact Dave Via Email at carraroe@aol.com)

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