SANTA ROSA, Calif., June 15, 2011 – Thermal Technology’s Model K1 sapphire crystal grower at Hefei Crystalbridge Optoelectronic Materials Co. Ltd. produced China’s first commercial grade sapphire crystal of nearly 100kg. Crystalbridge estimates these crystals will yield 4,000mm of “two inch equivalent” (TIE) rods, or about 5,700 high quality 2-inch substrates.

Crystalbridge grew the crystal in only 14 days. This signifies an increase in productivity of more than 25 percent compared to most other Chinese producers. “Achieving this milestone only one month from equipment move-in demonstrates our ability to operationally execute and to become a key supplier in the global LED market,” said Chen Jun, General Manager of Crystalbridge.

Thermal Technology’s Model K1 sapphire crystal grower offers unmatched capital productivity and crystal quality levels in volume production. It is now in start-up with multiple customers in China. The K1 utilizes a modified kyropoulos (KY) technology. This technology combines the proven high crystal quality of kyropoulos with proprietary seeding, automation and process control capability. As a result, the K1 has the highest productivity levels available.

“We researched multiple crystal growth technologies prior to making our selection,” said Chen. “We chose Thermal Technology’s K1 because its technology yields very high quality substrates and is in successful production at a majority of the largest sapphire producers in the world. The K1 cycle time is 25 to 30 percent faster than other alternatives. So each of our systems can produce 25,000 to 30,000 substrates more per year than our competitors using HEM or other alternatives.

Chen expects to be producing LED substrate at a rate of greater than 1 million pieces annually by the end of 2011. Afterwards, they will expand to more than 5 million pieces annually by the end of 2012. “We are very pleased that our team and our partners achieved this first in China’s honor,” he says.

We are pleased that Crystalbridge chose us as their strategic partner,” says Matt Mede, president and CEO of Thermal Technology. “Our K1 system has achieved notoriety in Taiwan for production performance and ease of technology transfer. We anticipate the same success with our entry into the Chinese market.”

Thermal Technology designs and manufactures crystal growing systems. They also manufacture high temperature vacuum and controlled atmosphere furnaces for the advanced processing of metals, ceramics, glass and quartz. Thermal Technology has 60 years of experience with more than 3000 installations in 40 countries.