Air Liquide is strengthening its production units, in France at the Air Liquide Electronics site in Chalon-sur-Saône, and in the United States, in Fremont, California, in the Silicon Valley.

In order to manufacture smaller and smaller chips, with reinforced functions, the semi-conductor industry has to constantly develop more advanced chip materials. The materials of tomorrow require the use of new molecules. In this constant race towards miniaturization and improved performance, Air Liquide Electronics has developed a range of these new molecules, custom-designed for the new processes of its customers manufacturing semi-conductors. These molecules, and associated equipment, make up the ALOHA offering. Launched in 2005, it has seen growth greater than 30 per cent per year.

The company said: "In order to meet the needs of this growing market, Air Liquide is strengthening its production units. These two purification and packaging sites, dedicated to this high-tech offering will start in September 2006."

In Fremont, the site is located near Balazs, the Air Liquide subsidiary specialising in analysis for the semi-conductor industry, enabling synergies to be developed between production and analysis.

In San Francisco, from 10 to 13 July 2006, at the Semicon West show, the main worldwide event for the semi-conductor industry, Air Liquide Electronics will present the latest new products in its range.

"This investment decision is part of Air Liquide\\$quot;s commitment to anticipate and meet customer needs with tailor-made products at the leading edge of our technological know-how," said Christophe Fontaine, VP of Air Liquide Electronics. "The increased production capacities for the ALOHA offering will strengthen our proximity to our customers to help them to be even more competitive."