South Korean tech equipment firm Wonik IPS spent 51.3 billion won on R&D in the first half of this year. This was more than the 40.6 billion won of operating profit it raised during the same period.
The R&D expenditure accounted for 15.5% of the company’s sales, which was higher than the average 14% that the world’s top five equipment makers spent of their revenues on R&D.
“We need to think very hard about why we have yet to witness the birth of a top-tier, comprehensive equipment maker in the country,” Wonik IPS CEO Lee Hyeon-deok at a panel discussion in August this year. “One of the main reasons is the lack of investment into new technologies.”
For its part, Wonik IPS has established a diverse portfolio in terms of production lineups in the areas of displays and semiconductors. To gain further prowess, the firm merged with its affiliate Wonik Tera Semicon in February, bringing the total number of its employees to 1,305 as of June.
The merger was designed to create a synergy effect for pursuing sustainable growth, according to Wonik IPS executives. “There will be explosive expansion, along with increased financial stability and streamlined managerial strategies,” they added.
The firm’s mainstay chip equipment is the GEMINI PECVD deposition system that is for anti-reflective coating and hardmask dielectric. “We provide on-par performance with ALD,” said a Wonik IPS official. “In fact, the hardmask dielectric made with the GEMINI PECVD is regarded to have unmatched uniformity,” he said.
The products also boast high productivity and low repair rates, which translate into smaller overhead for the users.
Further, Wonik IPS has successfully entered the market for mass production mold procedures – a key part of 3D NAND flash manufacturing – and for the 10nm DRM high-k.
In display equipment, the firm has the lead in dry etchers. Since 2007, the firm has been mass producing dry etching equipment for LCD TFT procedures. Five years later, it entered the OLED dry etcher market, and is now expanding into China.
“We are now in the process of developing key PECVD equipment for TFE, and also for QD-OLED,” said the company official.
With the merger with Wonik Tera Semicon, the firm has now widened its lineup to include heat-treatment equipment, which is capable of handling heat of between 100 and 1350 degrees Celsius.
The lower heat-treatment equipment is for copper annealing and alloy, while the mid-levels is for thermal oxidation, annealing and flow. The highest heat level is for well-drive-in and densification.
Wonik IPS’ most prominent heat-treatment equipment is PI Curing, which is used for manufacturing PI film for flexible OLEDs.
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