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ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. wins US$8 million order from world leading biochip company

July 16, 2001 | General
TSE Symbol: ATA

CAMBRIDGE, ON, July 16 /CNW/ - ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. today announced it has secured a strategic order, valued at approximately US$8 million, to supply a number of specialized production process tools to a world leading US biochip company.

The complex automated tools or systems will be used by the customer to expand production of their innovative biochip products. The first shipments under this new order will begin in September 2001 and continue through January, 2002. These tools, which ATS designed co-operatively with the customer, are being produced on a single-source basis by the ATS facility in Corvallis, Oregon.

"We consider this a highly strategic order for two reasons," said Klaus Woerner, ATS President and Chief Executive Officer. "First, it provides strong evidence that ATS's deliberate thrust into new high-growth healthcare markets for automation is working. Second, because this is a significant follow-on order from an existing customer, it demonstrates that these new market sectors offer sustainable, long-term opportunities for ATS to apply its advanced technologies and capabilities."

The customer, who wished to remain anonymous for confidentiality and security reasons, has previously purchased multiple biochip production tools from ATS valued at approximately US$7 million. Sometimes referred to as DNA chips or labs-on-a-chip, biochips are fabricated using glass or plastic wafers and are used in geonomics - the science of discovering, locating and characterizing human genes.

"We believe the biochip sector is an excellent market for ATS," said Mr. Woerner. "Not only do industry forecasts point to rapid growth in the use of biochips for geonomics research over the next 10 years, this growth will create fundamental demand that ATS is uniquely positioned to meet as a single source supplier. With the knowledge we're accumulating through our early market penetration, coupled with our automation and advanced manufacturing capabilities, we believe ATS can make a major contribution to the biochip industry's drive for higher efficiency and yield."

Mr. Woerner said the Company's objectives going forward are "three fold. "Expand our presence in this multi-million dollar market which industry experts expect to grow at annual rates approaching 50% this decade. Expand the value-added services we can offer biochip and all healthcare customers on an outsourced basis. And deliver value for this particular customer so ATS can remain well positioned for additional follow-on orders which are likely in the future."

Corporate Description

ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. (www.atsautomation.com) 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. ATS employs approximately 3,400 people at 26 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' products, technologies, customer requirements and other risks detailed from time to time in ATS' periodic reports filed with Canadian regulatory authorities.

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For further information:
Ron Jutras, Chief Financial Officer
(519) 653 6500