Strategy execution on track
Enabling digitalization for a sustainable, connected future.
We live in an ever more complex and interconnected world, one that relies on semiconductors. As a supplier of critical technologies, Comet helps its customers manufacture the necessary ever-smaller and more powerful components of this digital world more efficiently and in ways that conserve more resources. Comet is on track in the implementation of its focus strategy formulated at the end of 2019. As a preferred partner to our customers in the semiconductor and electronics industries as well as the automotive, aerospace and security sectors, we want to grow side by side with our customers, shareholders, partners and employees and contribute to a sustainable future.
Times of change: further digitalization and rapid adoption of artificial intelligence
The conflict in Ukraine, trade restrictions, COVID-19, supply chain problems, rising prices, energy shortages, climate change – life and business have become more complex with the events of 2022. While digitalization cannot prevent global warming or geopolitical conflicts, it is an important pillar for a more sustainable, better future. And it is everywhere: from cars to wireless headphones, from smartwatches to game consoles – modern life is hardly conceivable without the microchips inside everyday objects.
Thanks to increasingly powerful computers, the use of AI technologies is also on the rise, helping to manage disasters (such as with DeepEye), select suppliers more efficiently (e.g., with Scoutbee) or provide essential information for protecting forests (e.g., GreenCityWatch). AI applications such as the chatbot ChatGPT and art generators Stable Diffusion and DALL-E have also shown in 2022 that AI not only analyzes large amounts of data at blazing speeds but can generate images or videos, and tell jokes – in a word, AI can be creative.
All this is leading to a further enormous increase in the volumes of data exchanged and processed, to the expansion of data infrastructure and (despite the market’s current, temporary correction) to structural growth in demand for semiconductor components. We live in the age of semiconductors. They are so essential that governments in Asia, Europe and the USA are investing in local supply chains and onshoring innovation and manufacturing processes to ensure long-term access to such vital chips.
Comet’s technology enables critical manufacturing processes
Semiconductor chips and sensors are the key building blocks of our digital world. In their production, Comet’s technologies play a critical role. The ever-advancing digitalization therefore continues to offer Comet great growth opportunities in its two core technologies of plasma control and x-ray: both technologies safeguard the efficiency, quality and reliability of customers’ highly complex manufacturing steps in the respective applications.
The market demands high-performance chips with faster processing speeds and lower energy consumption in ever shorter development cycles. The fabrication of these powerful microchips requires even more precise, reliable and stable production processes. This manifests itself in rising demand for plasma technology-based equipment for the production of 3D chip structures, advanced memory (3D NAND) and also of new microprocessors.
Comet’s products: essential in the manufacture of advanced chips and components
As the global market leader in vacuum capacitors and RF matching networks, Comet already enjoys a strong market position. By bolstering our product portfolio, we aim to provide semiconductor equipment manufacturers and chipmakers with cutting-edge technologies for solving their growing challenges, and thus plan to expand our market. Comet intends to participate in this growth through the new Synertia® radio frequency system, which supports data-driven process analysis and has generated great interest from customers since its market launch in summer 2022, and through other innovations, such as the newly introduced RF match controller.
For the Group’s x-ray businesses, the trends in the semiconductor and electronics market hold rich potential. Electronics firms are increasingly automating the production of critical components, building them additively, making them smaller and with less material. Individual “chiplets” are combined into high-performance multi-chip modules. Their inspection is demanding and requires the increased use of x-ray technology. In addition, to ensure the quality and safety of their products, manufacturers throughout industry are placing growing emphasis on high-volume series testing and the automated improvement of their processes.
Data analysis and digital services are therefore fast gaining in importance for Comet. As the market leader in high-performance x-ray tubes and one of the top vendors of 3D inspection systems for electronic components, the Comet Group is very well positioned with its two x-ray divisions. Thanks to joint development projects and workflows realized with the subsidiary Object Research Systems (ORS) acquired in 2020 (a specialist in 3D visualization and analysis software for sophisticated 2D/3D imaging studies), Comet is enabling its x-ray system customers to identify defects in complex microchips even more quickly and reliably (see video: How are microchips built?). With the successful expansion of the portfolio of high-performance x-ray tubes by the addition of the MesoFocus and FXE series, Comet’s modules business is also making inroads in the semiconductor, electronics and battery markets. In fact, these will become the IXM division’s largest markets by the end of 2025.