"cleanroom market bouncing back faster than originally predicted, says online forecast"

In February, the McIlvaine 2006 world forecast for cleanroom hardware and consumables was$9.1 billion.

This has just been revised in the McIlvaine online Cleanrooms: World Markets upward to $10.7 billion. These revised figures still represent a growth rate of just 6 per cent annually for the period since 2000. This is below the historic double digit annual increase experienced by the industry from 1960 to 2000.

The semiconductor segment has been dominant but is recovering from a big slump while growth is accelerating in other segments.

World semiconductor cleanroom hardware sales were $1.9 billion in 2000, representing 50 per cent of the total industry. This dropped to 31 per cent in 2001 and will still only be 44 per cent in the boom year predicted for 2006.

Biotechnology has moved from the laboratory to the large manufacturing facility.

Aseptic processing must not only be incorporated during the final finish fill steps but is also necessary at various points in bulk biological active ingredient manufacturing.

These bulk manufacturing facilities are frequently as large as 200 000 ft2 with cleanroom investments of $50 million or more.

The biotechnology sub segment is driving high growth in the pharmaceutical/biotech cleanroom segment.

Microeletromechanical systems (MEMS) technology is expanding to a wide range of applications from storage to photonics.

Many semiconductor companies are finding that they can leverage their manufacturing and R&D skills and apply them to the MEMS market. It is likely that within the next 20 years the MEMS cleanroom revenues will be larger than for traditional semiconductors.

The flat panel display segment is also booming. Already some of the world's largest cleanrooms are utilised for these displays.

High-brightness LEDs are leading the sector. There was spectacular growth in 2002 which was led by increased use in mobile phones, including both backlighting for full-colour LCD screens, and keypad backlighting.

There is significant growth potential in the hospital sector due to SARS, bioterrorism, and other homeland security issues.

There is also a big potential market in providing cleanrooms within public buildings as part of the homeland security initiative. However, the present forecast does not include this segment.

China will experience the highest rate of growth, according to the forecast.

Cleanroom hardware sales will grow by 12 per cent per year over the next three years compared to a 10 per cent growth in consumables. Semiconductors and pharmaceuticals are the cleanroom growth engines in this country.

The SARS problem has accelerated growth of the domestic harmaceutical industry.

As a huge consumer of chips with very little domestic capacity, the market for new semiconductor facilities is substantial

Other forecasts made in the onlinbe report include:

* Sales of cleanroom consumables will exceed $5 billion worldwide in 2006.

* Glove sales will comprise 20 per cent of the total followed by disposable clothing, reusable clothing and wipes and swabs.

* Special laundries are needed for processing reusable clothing. This business alone will generate revenues to $1 billion in 2006.

For more information, visit www.mcilvainecompany.com/cleanroom.html

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