As already reported at the end of last year, two innovation awards rounded off the year 2021 for us at AP&S. But what exactly is behind the success and innovation focus at AP&S? Let's take a look behind the scenes.
As a supplier of special equipment for the semi-liter industry, AP&S had its hands full in 2021. The order situation is better than ever, in the past year alone the workforce grew by 40 employees, a further 20 jobs have been advertised and a third manufacturing plant is under construction in Donaueschingen. The high microchip demand worldwide driven by increasing digitalization, electromobility and rising networking (Internet of Things), is creating a boom in the semiconductor industry and has a direct impact on AP&S. AP&S customers, the international semiconductor manufacturers, are massively expanding their manufacturing capabilities. AP&S wet process equipment, which is used to manufacture microchips, is in high demand.
"Without a long-term innovation strategy and an above-average investment in research and development, we would not be where we are currently. Rising demand for semiconductors or not," explains Tobias Bausch CMO & CTO at AP&S. "For our customers, it is crucial that the production equipment delivers high throughput, ensures maximum reliability in the process and thus a high yield, and offers high flexibility in the application. That is, these requirements must be met. For example, customers can process different sizes and thicknesses of wafers (the starting material for microchips) on our systems without any conversions. This means AP&S customers can react quickly, flexibly and efficiently to the demand of microchips and produce quickly as well as reliably. This is what distinguishes our wet process equipment. Picking up on technological trends in good time and always being able to meet increasing demands - that is the key to our success and means innovation for us," Tobias Bausch CMO & CTO continues.
An AP&S best practice example: Several years ago, AP&S already invested heavily in the research and development of the project "Processing of the innovative raw material silicon carbide (SiC)". Why was this crucial? This raw material is becoming increasingly important as a starting material for microchips. This is because SiC is used to produce chips that are much more efficient, particularly with regard to electric cars. SiC makes it possible, for example, for a battery to be charged to 80 % in 30 minutes. This is simply not possible with chips made of silicon, the classic starting material for chips. Since AP&S can demonstrate successfully implemented customer projects and corresponding experience in this area, other customers are now building on this know-how and benefiting from the rapid introduction of these processes in their production.