We have helped shape the industry by driving innovation through our collaborative research and development (R&D) models. Our success is largely dependent on our ability to develop new products and new materials, and to continuously improve existing products and materials. Achieving this requires a large commitment to R&D. In 2018 and 2017, our R&D investments were €125 million and €114 million respectively. As of year-end 2018, 544 employees were employed in R&D, representing 25% of our total staff.
As a global company, we carry out research and development (R&D) on different continents, giving us access to the smartest professionals working in the semiconductor sector today, and bringing our R&D closer to our customers. In our research centers in Belgium, Finland, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea, and the United States we are active at all stages of our innovations’ life cycle, from developing the basic chemistry and materials to implementing improvements on our equipment at our customers’ production sites. We also work with specialists across a wide array of disciplines to develop our future products, including scientists from research institutes, universities, and suppliers.
With our R&D activities chiefly conducted in the principal semiconductor markets of the world, we are able to draw on innovative and technical capabilities internationally. Each geographical center provides expertise for specific products or technologies, and interacts with customers on a global scale. This approach, combined with structured and managed interactions between the individual centers, enables the efficient allocation of resources during development and new product introductions.
Under the umbrella of our global product development policies, our local activities are directed both towards expanding and improving existing product lines to incorporate technology improvements and reduce product cost and total cost of ownership, as well as developing new products for existing and new markets. These activities require the application of physics, chemistry, materials science, electrical engineering, precision mechanical engineering, software engineering, and systems engineering.
A global platform engineering group addresses the needs for common platforms and software for the various products in our product portfolio. This helps us drive standardization of hardware and software through the organization. A corporate R&D group consisting mainly of resources in Leuven, Belgium and Helsinki, Finland addresses common needs for advanced process and materials development, and process integration work for the 5nm, 3nm and 2nm nodes, and even beyond.
|Location||Number of R&D employees as of December 31, 2018, exclusive of temporary workers|
|Almere, the Netherlands||36|
|Phoenix, Arizona, United States||180|
|Dongtan, South Korea||132|
With our customers, we co-create and jointly develop technology roadmaps, to timely develop the new processes and materials our customers need for their next generation products. The diversity in collaborations, ranging from early research to pilot production, helps us reduce risk as early as possible in the innovation life cycle.
As part of our R&D activities, we are engaged in various formal and informal arrangements with customers, suppliers, research institutes and universities.
We have specific bilateral research activities with several key academic groups at universities in Asia, Europe, and North America, typically centric to our core R&D focus on new equipment, material and process developments.
We contribute to several process and equipment development projects at the major Dutch technical universities through the Dutch NWO (Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research) funding organization in the domain TTW (covering Applied and Engineering Sciences), and in Belgium we participate in the industrial users group for several projects supported by the Flemish funding organization VLAIO (Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship).
We participate in select publicly-funded programs to research and develop technology for semiconductor devices with line widths of 5nm and below, and in ‘More than Moore’ technologies. We are also involved in several cluster development programs in the Eureka initiative, as a member of the AENEAS (Association for European NanoElectronics Activities) as mentor or reviewer, and in road-mapping activities.
And finally, we occasionally cooperate with other semiconductor capital equipment suppliers in complementary fields, in order to gain knowledge on the performance of our own deposition processes, in cooperation with other processes, either in bilateral or consortia projects.
We expect new deposition technologies and chemistries to be a major driver for new intellectual property (IP) in the future. Patents give us a right to protect our products or aspects thereof, and enable us to speak more openly about our inventions and share ideas in the marketplace that benefit our customers.
We understand that a failure to adequately protect our IP and/or leakage of our IP could result in the loss of our competitive advantage and adversely impact our financial performance.
We have implemented a program that protects IP for us, our customers, our suppliers and our partners. We train all employees not only on the importance of IP protection, but also on how to recognize and report possible IP infractions. This training is provided to all new hires, and employees are given regular refresher training.
Our patents are usually registered in the principal countries where semiconductor devices or equipment are manufactured and/or sold. Our vision is to increase our value to our customers and shareholders by using our IP in a way that differentiates our products, influences the market, and provides additional monetization opportunities.
Our technologies, innovations, IP, products and process data, as well as the sensitive information about our customers, suppliers, and employees, are valuable assets. Any breach of our information systems could adversely affect our finances and operating results, as well as our reputation. Information security is a material aspect to us and our stakeholders, and requires the proper controls to protect it.
Our approach to information security management includes developing and sustaining a proper global IT security management framework with a policy, processes, and controls to protect against unauthorized system access and loss of valuable information, regardless of location.
In 2018, we continued to assess our position on network security and took steps to enhance the security posture of our global network, improved employee education, and awareness on cyber security/safety, and made infrastructure modernization enhancements.
Over the past 50 years we have grown to become a leading global supplier
of semiconductor wafer processing equipment. A company that develops
innovative process solutions for our customers, and manages itself in the best
interests of our investors, our employees, society, and other stakeholders.
Yet now is the time to enter a new era of innovation, to embark on the next
phase of growth. We understand that this requires commitment and strength
across many areas. From innovation in R&D, to advancing new technologies
and addressing new applications. From developing our people, to creating
even stronger relationships with key customers.
This is how we will take the next leap forward.
ROADMAP TO THE FUTURE
Our roadmap to the future will enable us to not only
achieve our next phase of growth, it will ensure we
can continue to help our customers achieve their
technology roadmaps for next-generation devices.
Our technology helps drive innovation, increasing the number of scientific breakthroughs, many of which are achieved from our advanced process equipment that deposits new materials with precision and productivity, positively benefiting society in sectors from healthcare and education, to transport and energy.
For semiconductor manufacturers, scaling chips
to smaller dimensions is an ongoing challenge.
Our innovations and equipment are vital in helping make many of these transitions happen.
Striving for efﬁciency ensures that our
customers get the products, services,
and results they expect. Intensifying
our focus on efﬁciency will make us a
stronger company, ready to take the
next leap forward.
We are a multinational company that
embraces diversity in every sense
of the word. With 29 different
nationalities working across the
company, we combine our talents
to drive innovation.
Achieving our ambitions takes intelligence, knowledge, skill,
determination, and dedication. And it is this combination of
qualities that we nurture in our people.
Our goal is to impact tomorrow’s generation
as positively as we’ve impacted today’s.
Making this happen takes the xtraordinary
talent of our people, who work together
to drive innovation and deliver excellence.
Collaboration is fundamental to our
continued success; from working
with our customers to optimize our
equipment and processes to enable
their technology roadmaps, to
creating partnerships on cutting-edge
research and development.
Operational excellence is one of the essential
pillars of our strategy, which enables us to provide
our customers with the high-quality, leading-edge
products and services they demand.
R&D is central to our development,
leading to new device architectures,
new materials, and new processes
that strengthen our competitive
positioning and enable our customers
to deliver the next-generation chips.
By extending our technological scope with a
more diverse product portfolio, we can help our
customers continue to advance their business
while growing our own in new market segments.
We create long-term value for our
stakeholders in a variety of ways.
From working with our customers
to develop innovative solutions, to
ensuring value creation growth
and positive investor returns.
We are committed to positively
contributing to society and
reducing our impact on the
environment. Only then can
we truly say we are helping
create more with less.
We believe sustainability takes many forms.
From developing sustainable technology
roadmaps for our customers, to creating
a sustainable living environment for all.
Safety is a front-line requirement,
which is why our ZERO HARM!
policy outlines our vision on product
safety, and our CR policy lays out
our commitment and expectations
towards health and safety.