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ZEISS SMT Expanding Production and Research To Meet High Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment Global Demand

Zeiss has announced that the Aachen, Germany site of Philips Engineering Solutions (PES) will become part of the ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology (SMT) segment. The company specializes in equipment and special machine construction.

Megatrends such as artificial intelligence, autonomous driving and Industry 4.0 require microchips that are ever smaller, ever more efficient – and above all ever more powerful. A key factor in the modern production of integrated circuits involves the use of increasingly precise optical systems for wafer scanners – the machines used to manufacture microprocessors.

More than 80 percent of all microchips worldwide are manufactured with optical systems from ZEISS, and the trend is rising. “We want to play an active role in shaping digitalization – while enabling the semiconductor industry to make new technological leaps,” declares Andreas Pecher, member of the ZEISS Executive Board and President & Chief Executive Officer of the SMT segment. “With the acquisition of Philips Engineering Solutions (PES) Aachen, we’re expanding our capacities in the area of research and development. Aachen itself is a really attractive and strategically important location for us.”

A Passion For Precision Connection

The two companies have been working closely together for years. “We’re familiar with each other and value each other’s individual expertise,” says Dr. Hans-Michael Solowan. Dr. Solowan, who holds a doctorate in physics, will be in charge of the Aachen site and will be responsible for staff development there. PES has proven itself above all as a supplier for optical measurement technology in semiconductor production. “The production of microchips is all about precision in the nanometer range. This calls for the utmost precision from every measuring machine in the production cycle,” explains Solowan. “PES boasts an outstanding track record as a highly experienced and reliable supplier to us – so much so that we’ve been able to push the boundaries of what’s technically feasible. We share a common understanding of precision and innovation. Logically, then, it’s the next step for PES in Aachen to become a new location for ZEISS SMT – thereby laying foundation for further growth in the region,” Solowan sums up.

Around 40 employees currently work at PES in Aachen – all having received a takeover offer from ZEISS. “We’re planning to boost the workforce to more than 100 at our new location in future,” states Solowan. The proximity to the colleges and universities currently cooperating which ZEISS should also help in the search for specialists. Other suppliers and partners are also located nearby. These include ZEISS’ strategic partner: the manufacturer of microchip lithography machines ASML in Veldhoven, the Netherlands, around 100 kilometers away.

Part of ZEISS SMT’s global growth strategy

ZEISS SMT remains firmly committed to its long-term growth strategy. “As a region abounding in modern technology, Aachen offers us space for fresh ideas and growing teams,” says Andreas Pecher. This is because the Semiconductor Technology segment is growing at all locations worldwide. “The demand for our technologies is high. That’s why we’re investing in people, machines and infrastructure – so as to remain a reliable partner for the semiconductor industry,” declares Pecher. Both companies have agreed not to disclose the purchase price.

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