CHASKA, MINN. —Fluoroware Inc. of Chaska, a molder of materials-handling products for the semiconductor industry, has entered a joint venture called F.J.V. Korea Ltd., which will target the South Korean market.
Fluoroware and its partners, Jell Chemical Co. Ltd. and Nippon Valqua Industries, will manufacture products such as wafer carriers at a Yongsan, South Korea, plant.
The Korean operations will enable Fluoroware to expand its customer base worldwide, and are part of the company's global manufacturing strategy.
``The increasing prominence of semiconductor manufacturing in Korea warrants direct manufacturing in this region,'' Richard LaBute, Fluoroware's vice president of Asia-Pacific operations, said in a prepared statement.
According to market research conducted by Dataquest of San Jose, Calif., Korea's wafer fabrication equipment market was $3.1 billion in 1995, representing 84 percent growth over 1994.
Jell currently makes fluoropolymer gaskets and a variety of compression molded products for the chemical industry, and is a certified supplier to many of Fluoroware's major Korean customers. Valqua, Fluoroware's Japanese licensing partner since 1978, will have primary responsibility for manufacturing.
Fluoroware operates four manufacturing plants in Chaska, a plant in Japan in a joint venture with Nippon Valqua, and another facility in Germany.
The company molds its products using engineering thermoplastics such as DuPont Co.'s Teflon fluoropolymers, filled polycarbonates, carbon-fiber-filled polyetheretherketone and other compounded materials.
In November, Fluoroware announced a joint venture with Singapore custom injection molder First Engineering Plastic of Singapore, to make wafer carriers and other products for the semiconductor and data storage industry in Asia.