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Leading through innovation

As already reported at the end of 2021, two innovation awards rounded off the last year for AP&S. But what exactly is behind the success and the focus on innovation at AP&S? Let's look behind the scenes.

As a supplier of wet process equipment for the semiconductor industry, AP&S was very busy in 2021. The order volume has been better than ever, the workforce grew by 40 employees in the past year, another 20 job vacancies have been announced, 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 above-average investment in research and development, we would not be where we are currently. Regardless of the increasing demand for semiconductors," explains Tobias Bausch CMO & CTO at AP&S. "For our customers, it is crucial that the production equipment delivers a high throughput, ensures maximum reliability in the process and thus a high yield, and offers a high degree of flexibility in the use. In other words, all of these requirements have to be met. For example, customers can process different sizes and thicknesses of wafers (the raw material for microchips) on our machines without any modifications. This means that AP&S customers can react quickly, flexibly and efficiently to the demand for microchips and produce quickly and reliably. This is what distinguishes our wet process solutions. 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 base 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 80% charged in 30 minutes. This is simply not possible with chips made of silicon, the classic raw material for chips. Since AP&S has successfully implemented customer projects and has the corresponding experience, other customers are now building on this know-how and benefiting from the rapid introduction of these processes in their production.