Strong market demand for semiconductor manufacturing equipment and high customer demand require more production capacity
- ZEISS is building a new multifunctional factory in Dillfeld, Wetzlar, in addition to the existing SMT site in Wetzlar
- Further increase in workforce planned
Oberkochen, Wetzlar / Germany | ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology
The rapid acceleration in the growth of the semiconductor market is driving the demand for semiconductor manufacturing equipment. In order to serve the high customer demand, the ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology (SMT) segment is building a new multifunction factory in Dillfeld, Wetzlar, in addition to the existing SMT site. The construction start is currently planned for spring 2023. With a production area of more than 12,000 m², the extension building will provide space for around 150 employees, who will manufacture state-of-the-art DUV lithography systems (DUV stands for “deep ultraviolet light”), among other things.
Katrin Ariki, site manager of the ZEISS semiconductor technology segment SMT in Wetzlar, is delighted: “The acquisition of land for our new expansion building in Dillfeld is a very clear statement for our site in Wetzlar.”
ZEISS is receiving substantial support from the city of Wetzlar in the development of this ambitious project. “Zeiss is an elementary part of the core brand of Wetzlar as the city of optics. It is therefore with great pleasure that I accept the decision that Zeiss attaches great importance to the Wetzlar location for its further development and is underpinning this with a highly modern and future-oriented new building project that complements the previous company location. This commitment to the location is a very important statement for our city, especially in our challenging times. With our authorities, we will accompany the settlement in a goal- and result-oriented manner,” said Lord Mayor Manfred Wagner.
Multifunctional factory for highly sophisticated products and processes
The extension building in Wetzlar’s Dillfeld serves as a multifunction factory, offering highly flexible layouts for work areas such as optics, coating and assembly. “Manufacturing high-tech products such as lithography optics requires special conditions, which we take into account during construction. For example, we need a vibration-resistant design for the very sensitive measurement technology,” Ariki continues.
The factory is complemented by a technical operations building in which cooling, heat and compressed air can be generated, which is structurally separated from the factory for reasons of supply security. And in the office building, offices, workshops, changing rooms and social rooms are planned. In addition, a cafeteria area is to be created here on the top floor with a view of the Dill River.
New plant in Wetzlar drives global digitization forward
In order to realize the megatrends of tomorrow, such as autonomous driving, 5G or artificial intelligence, powerful microchips are necessary. Already today, more than 80 percent of all microchips worldwide are manufactured with lithography optics from ZEISS’ SMT semiconductor technology segment. The optical systems enable chip manufacturers worldwide to expose microchips with nanometer precision – including in the DUV light range with wavelengths of 365, 248 and 193 nanometers
In Wetzlar, employees of the technology company in the optical and optoelectronic industry have been manufacturing DUV lithography optics for more than 20 years. This makes ZEISS a key driver of global digitization. In addition, high-quality binoculars, spotting scopes and hunting optics are manufactured at ZEISS in Wetzlar.
Strengthening the region for today and tomorrow
The investments made by ZEISS are not only intended to strengthen the site, but also to make the region and Wetzlar as the “City of Optics” even more attractive from an employee perspective. The public will also benefit from the new expansion building. “After all, the demand for semiconductors and the rapid growth of this market are also noticeable at ZEISS in Wetzlar in terms of increased personnel requirements. While around 170 employees were employed at the SMT site until 2017, the number is now more than 350 and the trend is rising. ZEISS continues to look for new employees here,” Ariki concludes.