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ATS receives CDN $14.8 million in repeat automation systems orders from leading medical diagnostic customer

September 28, 2004 | General
TSX: ATA

CAMBRIDGE, ON, Sept. 28 /CNW/ - ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc. today announced it has received an additional follow-on automation systems order valued at US $11.4 million (CDN $14.8 million) from a world-leading manufacturer of self-use medical diagnostic products.

This latest assignment will use the resources of ATS's automation systems facilities in Canada and Germany to manufacture a number of virtually identical fully automated production lines for use in one of the customer's European manufacturing plants. The first system under this new order will be delivered in the summer of 2005 and the last is scheduled for delivery in the spring of 2006.

The systems to be supplied under this new order are also virtually identical to automation systems previously purchased by the customer during the past year. The first of these previously ordered systems is being installed at the customer's facility in the next few weeks. This newest assignment is part of a comprehensive program that began in May 2003 and has resulted in several orders including those announced by ATS on August 5, 2004 valued at US $10.7 million. All of the production lines will feature high speed motion control, vision inspection and rapid cycle rates and will support accelerating demand for the customer's leading proprietary self-use medical diagnostic products.

"A key element of our business strategy is to develop and grow a diverse market base which now includes automotive, computer-electronics, consumer products and, more recently, healthcare customers," said Klaus Woerner, ATS President and Chief Executive Officer. "This newest high-value assignment for ATS is another strong endorsement of our strategies of targeting the healthcare market for additional growth. It also shows the value of securing long-term relationships with industry-leading customers who buy from us repeatedly. In fact, this customer has now purchased approximately US $32 million dollars in automation systems solutions from ATS in the past year alone. This growing strategic relationship clearly demonstrates the power of our specialized knowledge and global capabilities."

ATS cannot disclose the name of the customer and specific project details because of strict confidentiality agreements.

About ATS in Healthcare
ATS is continuing to generate considerable momentum in healthcare, medical device and pharmaceutical markets since first targeting the industry five years ago. ATS has generated more than $300 million in healthcare revenue generated in the five fiscal years to March 31, 2004. During the first quarter of fiscal 2005 (three months ended June 30, 2004), ATS's healthcare revenue doubled to $30 million and automation systems backlog in healthcare tripled to $92 million compared to the levels a year earlier. Today's orders from this customer will be included in second quarter (three months ended September 30, 2004) order bookings and backlog. Orders announced August 5, 2004 were included as part of first quarter backlog.

ATS has automated a number of different self-use diagnostic production systems over the past four years. Industry research suggests the market for handheld or point-of-care diagnostics used to test blood glucose, pregnancy and cholesterol is projected to grow 10% to 15% on a compound annual basis to approximately US$5 billion over the next five years.

To create more opportunities and to increase adoption of automation in the important and attractive high-growth healthcare industry, ATS recently created ATS Compliant Solutions(TM), which provides consulting services to help customers assess, plan, implement and qualify their automation projects to meet rigorous regulatory standards. ATS is also in the process of developing several standard process modules for healthcare. These include the world's first robotic platform for a variety of aseptic pharmaceutical manufacturing applications and a family of high-speed vision inspection systems for vial, plastic ampoule, IV bag and pre-filled syringe packages.

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 is also an emerging leader in the rapidly growing market for solar energy cells and modules. ATS employs approximately 4,100 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 growth prospects for the business and the impact of changes in management. 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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For further information:
Ron Jutras, Executive Vice President, C.O.O. and C.F.O.
(519) 653-6500