“Erich Reitinger was quite a visionary when he founded ERS in 1970, at a time when IBM’s aim to include temperature differences during wafer probing was still science fiction,” says Laurent Giai-Miniet, CEO of ERS electronic GmbH alongside Klemens Reitinger, who is a nephew of the founder and the majority shareholder of the company. Since the thermal chuck was invented, some 7,000 of them have been sold, and 80% to 85% of them are still in use. The CEO adds that they are very proud that their technology is really robust.
“I have 25 years of experience in the semiconductor industry and one of the reasons I fell in love with this company is that every customer I talked to was proud of using ERS technology,” he adds. “ERS is a master in micromechanics, electronics and thermodynamics, all within a single spot; and in the semiconductor and electronics industry we are serving such a highly demanding sector!”
In the past, wafer probing was done at ambient temperatures, but testing at much lower and higher temperatures is more and more becoming mainstream. At a time when temperature management and thermal regulation is becoming more important for the semiconductor industry, ERS is providing the right solutions.
The company provides modular thermal chuck systems allowing for very low and very high temperatures during testing, such as its AC3 patented air-only chuck system. In case of the ERS thermal chucks, very low to very high temperatures means down to -65 degrees Celsius and up to 500 degrees Celsius. In addition to this, ERS offers machines related to the so-called fan-out wafer and panel level packaging (FOWLP/FODPL) technology, like the manual debonding system MPDM700 featured to the left. ERS offers a range of standardized options, while 20% of its turnover is made in customized production.
“We can make systems with properties that suit special requirements, such as exceptionally high temperatures, very high voltages or anti-magnetic environments,” Mr. Giai-Miniet explains. “When things get really challenging and people need to push the limits, even our competetors come to us.”
ERS is a master in micromechanics, electronics and thermodynamics, all within a single spot. Laurent Giai-MinietCEO & CSMO
In its patented technology ERS uses only air to cool and heat the wafers, since moisture is one of the enemies in the semiconductor industry, while compressed air is readily available in every manufacturing facility. Over 90% of the company’s products are exported. Two-thirds of these are sold to Asian companies, especially in the mainland of China.
“We see a shift of our business to China, and this meant we attracted employees in China and Chinese natives here in Munich,” the CEO observes. “Today, we have about twenty different nationalities among our staff, and we all travel a lot.”
Obviously, recruiting new talents is another challenge for ERS. The company found a good solution in attracting up to ten interns from all over the world every year. In a relatively small company like ERS, they learn a lot faster than in a large corporation. In addition to this, the company is in close contact with several universities.
“We doubled our turnover in the last two years. We will continue to make our customers happy with our philosophy that is all about evolution, innovation and invention,” concludes Mr. Giai-Miniet.