Vacuum components for high-end applications
Ronald Pschenitschnigg: Issues can be summarized as to bring the vacuum equipment to the next performance level. And the trends are higher temperatures, higher cleanliness, higher yield and finally optimized total cost of ownership. The main driver is the continuous increase of device complexity and efficiency, all that drives manufacturing technology to hold up with the demand to economically produce such nano-devices.
Urs Gantner: The main trends are consolidation of a few key players, continuous growth in the market, expansion in new fields of application. For typical vacuum sectors as semiconductors the purity of wetted components and the contamination in operation are the critical factors in order to overcome the challenges of the next node sizes, whereas for R&D application the rising temperatures and ultra-high vacuum conditions remain challenges. Amongst the main drivers are electronics and Internet of Things, which demand new logic, memory, displays, sensors, data storage; synchrotron and space simulation for R&D; photovoltaic and uranium enrichment for energy sector.
Ronald Pschenitschnigg: VAT’s core competence lays in the field of vacuum sealing technology. By strictly focusing on innovation, development and manufacturing of vacuum valves, VAT has become the market leader. The strength of the company is it’s know how, reliability and capability to fulfil market and customer requirements.
Urs Gantner: VAT is IP-driven company, focusing on emerging high-end applications, a global player with a complete product portfolio. Local sales, engineering, manufacturing and service in all relevant regions (Asia, USA and Europe) are strong points of the company.
What is the structure of sales of vacuum products of VAT?
Ronald Pschenitschnigg: VAT has own sales and service organization in all primary regions, and in this regions all markets are served.
Stefan Pleier: Major markets for VAT are Semiconductor, Flat Panel Displays and Photovoltaics. The major relevant market regions are the USA; Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Singapore representing Asia Region as well as Western Europe with Germany, UK and Switzerland. Our representatives cover rest of the world.
How will be affect on market positions acquiring of VAT by Capvis and Partners group?
Ronald Pschenitschnigg: VAT holds up to its value proposition in the field of vacuum valves. On top of that, the VAT Group strives for growth in Global Services, Modules and Bellows, meaning the overall company will strengthen its market position.
Stefan Pleier: VAT continues its market strategy to be globally present and be market leader within the major market segments and the regions. Capvis and Partners group fully support the market strategy of VAT.
What are the prospects of the Russian market in your view?
Ronald Pschenitschnigg: VAT continues to collaborate with representatives to support the Russian market. The Internet of Things boosts the secondary equipment and application industry. Russia could build up device manufacturing capacity with secondary (used and refurbished) equipment to play a role in this market. Besides the Semiconductor secondary equipment market, VAT sees some potential within the research area.
What innovations by VAT you can particularly note?
Ronald Pschenitschnigg: In fact, VAT has been developing a variety of valve innovations, which are patented. VAT is known for the MONOVAT, VATLOCK and VATRING technology.
Stefan Pleier: Additionally VAT has a very strong market position in the field of all-metal-valve sealings and the according actuator design.
How are changed the requirements of users of vacuum equipment?
Ronald Pschenitschnigg: The key word is speed of execution, everything which is needed is needed fast. Furthermore, latest semiconductor device manufacturing technology requests highest cleanliness and particle-free operation.
Stefan Pleier: The vacuum equipment components will be equipped more and more with state-of-the-art communication interfaces. Users generally trend into the direction of Industry 4.0, which results in an attempt to implement "condition monitoring" into the vacuum equipment devices.
What projects in Europe are most significant for the nanoindustry?
Stefan Pleier: In Europe one main driver for the nanotechnology development is the IMEC institute, focusing on implementation of nanotechnologies in the area of life science and medical applications. What is currently missing is a synchronized and more broad approach to build up an European axis which can act equally to the core players in the US and the Asian market.
Thanks for the interesting interview.