Click here to see full-size image. Edwards recently announced that—despite a turndown in the semiconductor vacuum market in the final quarter—the International Statistics on Vacuum Technology (ISVT) working group's report indicated that the vacuum component market grew 12 percent in 2007 at a value of almost $5 billion. The ISVT working group represents and collaborates with members of several regional vacuum associations, including: • The Association of Vacuum Equipment Manufacturers International (AVEM). • The European Vacuum Technology Association (EVTA). • The Japan Vacuum Industry Association (JVIA). • Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI). “This year we saw the acceleration of demand for vacuum components in the manufacture of solar cells, so-called ’photovoltaics,’ as well as some recovery of their use in the flat panel sector. The overall level of activity in Asia has held up well, particularly in Japan,” comments Dr. Stephen Ormrod, ISVT working group spokesperson and EVTA chair. These statistics are based on a world-wide data collection program, which has been run by regional vacuum associations since 2002 and independently collated by external auditors. The working group believes that the data represents about 85 percent of the total vacuum components market. To close the gap, the ISVT group is developing links with other Asian trade associations so that full data for these regions can be included in the statistics. The vacuum components market consists of pumps and pumping packages, instrumentation, hardware including valves and couplings, and value-added services, such as spare parts and service. According to Edwards, more detailed market data is available to participating association members.