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Samsung establishes new plant in Austin
Samsung has established the largest-ever 300mm NAND memory wafer-manufacturing plant in Austin, TX. The 1.6 million-square-foot building will produce 300mm NAND flash memory wafers for use in electronics. The facility, which is nearly as large as nine football fields, is valued at around $3.5 billion. Production will commence after June 2007, and production levels are expected to reach around 60,000 wafers per month by the year 2008. This investment marks the largest foreign investment Samsung has made in Texas. NAND flash memory chips are used in a number of electronic products, such as mobile phones, digital cameras, and MP3 players.

WPCS to acquire Max Engineering
WPCS International Wireless, Inc. (WPCS), a wireless network service provider based in Exton, PA, recently signed an agreement to acquire Max Engineering, LLC, for $800,000. CEO of WCPS Andrew Hidalgo stated that this acquisition will strengthen the company's design abilities, allowing it to pursue additional project revenue. Max Engineering is a Texas-based engineering firm that generated $1.5 million in revenue and around $328,000 in pretax earnings and taxes in 2006. Founded in 2000, it specializes in designing special communications systems and wireless infrastructures for sectors such as telecommunications, oil, gas, and wind energy. It is also licensed to work on engineering projects in 45 U.S. states.

Report reveals manufacturers' ignorance regarding costs of customized orders
A report released by Jim Wilson, the program director of leading software maker Cincom Systems, mentions that manufacturers who are unable to determine the costs of manufacturing customized products risk taking on unprofitable orders. Manufacturers also often do not understand the costs of selling, making strategic decisions about product mixes, and targeting market segments. Many manufacturers begin work on product strategies despite their lack of information about costs. The survey indicates that customized engineering products have become increasingly popular over the last five years. The report also anticipates a growth rate of 25% to 50% over the next 24 months.

Novel method developed to convert waste glycerin to ethanol and other products
Researchers at Rice University have discovered a possible method for converting waste glycerin to ethanol and other valuable products. Waste glycerin is a major byproduct of biodiesel manufacturing. The solution lies in a strain of E. coli that can ferment glycerin to produce ethanol. The operational costs of this method are 40% lower than those of conventional existing methods. Due to rapid growth in the biodiesel industry, there is a glut of glycerin on the market. Because of this, major producers like Dow Chemical and P&G have been forced to discontinue production. However, researchers at Rice University and other institutions are focusing on ways to convert glycerin into other useful products using a variety of biomolecular engineering processes.
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