ATS Secures 5 Year Contract Equipment Agreement with BOC |

ATS Secures 5 Year Contract Equipment Agreement with BOC

July 142003
CAMBRIDGE, ON, July 14 /CNW/ - ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. today announced it has sold the intellectual property and key operating assets of its Eco-Snow(R) Systems Inc., division to The BOC Group for US$6.4 million (Cdn$8.7 million) as part of a new strategic alliance between the two companies.

As part of the transaction, BOC (NYSE:BOX) also entered into a five year preferred contract equipment manufacturing agreement with ATS that will see ATS continue to develop and manufacture Eco-Snow equipment for various high volume production applications.

BOC intends to use its global market presence and industry leadership to expand the markets for Eco-Snow, an innovative and proven carbon dioxide (CO2) precision cleaning technology that ATS has applied successfully in a broad range of applications including semiconductor, flat panel displays, photo masks and disk drive manufacturing.

"BOC and Eco-Snow(R) Systems have worked together under a joint development agreement for the past five years and BOC has acted as an exclusive distributor for Eco-Snow throughout Asia since last summer, said
Neil Greenfield, Senior Vice President of BOC. "This experience has taught us that there are many key applications for CO2 cleaning technology in our core markets - applications that are attractive to us. By acquiring Eco-Snow, we've added to the strength of our substantial technology portfolio, giving us another valuable customer solution that we intend to market globally and aggressively. The preferred contract equipment supply agreement we now have with ATS will ensure we have secure access to world-leading automation design
and automated equipment that will allow us to quickly and fully implement the technology as part of a total solution in high volume manufacturing areas."

In commenting on the announcement, Klaus Woerner, ATS President and Chief Executive Officer said: "When we acquired Eco-Snow in 1997, our goal was to turn it into a commercially viable technology and then use that technology to penetrate, what at the time were new automation applications for ATS. We've successfully accomplished both of these goals and believe the time is right
for Eco-Snow to gain broader market penetration. This transaction is ideal because BOC has a worldwide gas distribution, sales, and service network with
a unique combination of expertise in electronics processes and CO2 applications, meaning they will accelerate adoption of Eco-Snow based cleaning systems. ATS will therefore benefit because we retain the opportunity to produce Eco-Snow systems for BOC on an attractive, contract equipment
manufacturing basis. ATS has targeted contract equipment manufacturing as an
important area for future growth, so we consider this agreement very strategic.

"We believe this strategic alliance should have a powerful multiplier effect for both BOC and ATS."

The Eco-Snow team of nine employees, based in Livermore, California will now join BOC and the transition will be completely seamlessly for existing Eco-Snow customers - a key consideration for both BOC and ATS. ATS said the transaction has no impact on its earnings.

About Eco-Snow(R) Technology
Eco-Snow Systems, Inc. ( is a pioneer in the use of state-of-the-art precision surface processing technology for high-tech rigid disk industries, compound semi-conductor, photo-mask repair, flat panel
display and MEMS manufacturing applications. As a leading innovator of dry CO2 technology - with more than 20 patents - Eco-Snow Systems' unique cleaning method is cost effective, non-destructive, waste and residue free, and eliminates staining and corrosion without recontamination. As such, it offers substantial competitive advantages over conventional cleaning methods.

Eco-Snow(R) technology will be on display at SEMICON West (booth 418) in San Francisco ( from July 14 to 16, 2003.

About BOC
The BOC Group (NYSE:BOX), the worldwide industrial gases, vacuum technologies and distribution services company, serves two million customers in more than 50 countries. It employs 46,000 people and had annual sales of some $6 billion in 2002. Further information about The BOC Group may be
obtained on the Internet at

About ATS
ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. ( is the industry's leading designer and producer of turn-key automated manufacturing
and test systems, which are used primarily by multinational corporations operating in a variety of industries including: automotive,
computer/electronics, healthcare, and consumer products. The Company also makes precision components and sub-assemblies using its own custom-built manufacturing systems, process knowledge and automation technology. This includes a line of advanced thermal management devices used by computer
manufacturers to cool high-speed processors. Through Photowatt International S.A., and Spheral Solar Power Inc., ATS is an emerging leader in the rapidly growing market for solar energy cells and modules. ATS employs approximately 3,500 people at 25 facilities in Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia-Pacific. The Company's shares are traded on The Toronto Stock Exchange under
the symbol ATA.

Certain forward looking statements are made in this news release, including statements regarding possible future business. Investors are cautioned that such forward-looking statements involve risks and
uncertainties, including, without limitation, continued acceptance of ATS's
products, technologies, customer requirements and other risks detailed from
time to time in ATS's periodic reports filed with Canadian regulatory authorities.
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