PIB visits VDL ETG - visitors Report
8 October 2015
Report on the Precision-in-Business Day: VDL ETG
On October 8th, VDL Enabling Technologies Group (ETG) in Eindhoven hosted a well-attended (65 people) Precision in Business (PIB) event organized by DSPE.
A few times each year, in the context of the Precision in Business theme, a company opens its doors to allow the DSPE network to have a look and learn about each other's activities. This peek in each other's kitchen is instrumental in keeping our precision network alive and healthy to support our joint objective of staying world class by sharing experiences.
Following a general introduction on the history of the company and its current activities, CTO Guustaaf Savenije spend time to discuss the implications of a major transition that ETG is currently in the midst of: a move from offering Built-To-Print (BTP) services as a contract manufacturing company, to also providing design services and even Life-Cycle Management (LCM) as a tier-1 supplier to its customers. This transition will allow ETG to increase its value proposition in a changing marketplace.
Taking the semiconductor equipment market as an example, equipment suppliers (the OEMs) have consolidated extensively and in semiconductor manufacturing 50% of capital expenditures is now done by the top-three of semiconductor manufacturing companies: Samsung, Intel and TSMC. OEMs need to focus on cost-of-ownership for their customers and take responsibility for the functionality of their equipment – they move up towards their customers. In turn, contract manufacturers like VDL ETG need to climb up as well, and take function ownership for some of the modules for the OEMs. This poses challenges in terms of longer horizons for the total lifecycle of a module, as well as a responsibility to be pro-actively involved in the development of new technologies.
After Guustaaf's presentation, the group was divided up in four smaller groups for the factory tour. Four dedicated topics were prepared. At the first stop, visitors were shown some of the ongoing developments in de ETG parts production department: new, fully automated equipment, equipment with integrated functionality like cutting and turning, and a large new machining center. The second stop showed the clean-room assembly- and integration activities. A large vacuum system for a plasma source was highlighted as an example of the activities in the large clean room. The third stop was in the development department and focused on robotics for handlers, including robot control and new materials for end effectors. The fourth and last stop was in the thermal lab, where experiments are conducted to develop solutions for temperature control down to mK level non-uniformity.
After the tours, there were three, more detailed presentations:
• Technology roadmapping, connecting design and manufacturing technologies, by Ton Peijnenburg.
• The use of carbon fiber material for grippers by Hans Steijaert
• High-Voltage technology by Paul Blom.
In the good tradition of PIB, drinks were then served, over which people could reflect on the program and impressions, and share updates on other topics. The precision network in the Netherlands is (still) strong and by organizing events like PIB, we can keep it like that!