HENSOLDT expands production area for high-precision measuring devices in Oberkochen


German sensor solutions provider HENSOLDT is expanding its production space for high-precision measuring devices at its Oberkochen site. In order to accommodate the growing civilian business in the area of subcontracting for the market leader of EUV machines for the production of semiconductors from the Netherlands, the space for the production of Final Focus Metrology (FFM for short) units has been doubled. Since the current space situation does not allow for further expansion, it was possible to fall back on an area in the immediate vicinity at the company YG-1 Technology Center.

“Through a strategic partnership between the two companies and an investment of approximately four million euros, we are not only strengthening our own civilian business, but also the Ostwürttemberg region,” explains Andreas Hülle, Division Manager Optronics & Land Solutions and Managing Director of HENSOLDT Optronics GmbH. “This additional capacity will enable us to equip our customers even better and expand our presence in the civilian market.”

The partnership has also opened up future-oriented business areas for the YG-1 Technology Center. With a wide variety of components in terms of production structures and materials, innovative tooling technologies and concepts can be developed and tested and produced directly in prototype manufacturing on the new machines in the in-house test centre. “This allows us to make further investments and establish ourselves in new market segments,” says Heiko Schild, CTO & Vice President at YG-1 Technology Center GmbH.

With the help of the expansion, HENSOLDT will be able to increase the production of the FFM unit by 20 per cent, and in the following year it will be another twelve per cent. Overall, the customer of the FFM units is planning a 30 percent increase over the next five years. As a result, HENSOLDT also expects to recruit more skilled workers in the optics and optronics sector.

In March, HENSOLDT recorded a milestone with the delivery of the 333rd FFM for the chip industry. Since 2012, these control systems have been produced at HENSOLDT Optronics in Oberkochen and continuously developed further.

FFM is a high-precision measuring device in the wavelength range of ten µm. By means of high-speed position sensors, energy sensors and specially developed wavefront sensors, performance-critical process parameters of a high-energy laser, as well as shapes and positions of approx. 30µm tin droplets in a vacuum chamber are determined. On the basis of the data determined by the FFM, a control loop is closed and the performance and accuracy of a laser beam, which has to hit the tin droplets twice each to produce the extreme ultraviolet (EUV) light, is optimised, thus decisively influencing the efficiency of the light generation. The FFM functions as the decisive optoelectronic control unit, 50,000 times every second. Without EUV light, the production of today’s most powerful computer chips would not be possible.




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