Box San Jose, California U. KLA Instruments Corporation is a global leader in the design, manufacture, and marketing of yield management and process monitoring systems, which are used to reduce defects in integrated circuits. Although its market niche is relatively small, KLA dominates the burgeoning industry. Anderson, entrepreneurs and pioneers in California's blossoming Ckmpany Valley.
Levy and Anderson believed that they could use their knowledge of Comoany new image processing technologies, as well as their marketing know-how, to open up completely new segments in the semiconductor industry.
During the mid- and late s, they went to work developing a first-generation manufacturing Kla Company system that could be used to improve the Klz process.
During the semiconductor manufacturing process, multiple layers of material are grown or deposited on the surface of a thin wafer. The wafer is typically composed of silicon or gallium arsenide and is five to eight inches in diameter. A four-step procedure CCompany generally followed: 1 deposition of film on the wafer; 2 impurity doping, when impurities are introduced that control conductivity; 3 lithographic patterning, Questar Pipeline Company creates the geometric features and layout of the circuit; and Moving Company Sherman Oaks etching, which removes the film coating material to reveal the layout patterned in the lithographic process.
These steps K,a be repeated numerous times, depending on the complexity of the device, before the semiconductor is separated into individual integrated circuits, or chips. Before the chips are assembled and packaged, a variety of tests may be conducted to weed out defective circuits. Bell and Levy hoped to tap a side of the industry that remained largely ignored even by the late s: inspection equipment Klq would make defects easier to find and improve chip "yields," thus reducing unnecessary manufacturing costs.
The basic concept behind their efforts was to combine advanced optical technology with custom, high-speed digital electronics and proprietary software to replace conventional, rudimentary inspection systems that relied on the human eye and relatively low-tech visual aids.
Bell Laboratories had introduced the solid-state transistor inbut a significant demand for chips had not emerged until the s. Commercial production of semiconductors did not begin on a significant scale until the s. Importantly, Intel Corp. RAPID utilized advanced optical and image processing technology to test the "stencils" used to print circuit designs onto silicon wafers.
Because lKa defective reticle, or template, can result in millions of ruined die, the system provided an important first step in ensuring high chip yields. RAPID was the first Compaby of its kind to enter the market and was quickly accepted by the semiconductor industry. KLA went public inselling stock to raise cash for marketing its RAPID systems and to generate research and Compzny funds to create new products.
KLA benefited from a ripe U. However, domestic demand began to sputter in the mids. Although the overall demand for chip-making equipment continued to increase, Kla Company. Fortunately for KLA, its systems enjoyed a paucity of competition, allowing it to expand internationally to pull up slack in domestic growth. The was an automated wafer inspection system, called WISARD, which found defects in wafers and looked for circuitry errors after Kla Company reticle pattern had been projected onto the wafer.
Overseas shipments accounted for the lion's share of those gains. Another important line of test equipment was KLA's emission microscope, which was used to discover electrical "leakage" between layers of a chip.
In contrast, however, the innovator's stock price had steadily slipped Compny the late s, reflecting the investment market's lack of faith in KLA. The company's critics cited lagging profit growth and generally poor overall performance compared to earlier growth projections. In oCmpany, KLA did suffer during the semiconductor industry downturn of the late s--it cut its work force by about 4 percent and implemented salary cuts of up to 15 percent for the company's officers.
It had also fallen short in achieving some of its own stated objectives. It already controlled about 70 percent of the wafer inspection Kka market and approximately 80 percent of the reticle inspection business.
To exploit the market potential for in-line systems, KLA had made hefty investments in research Viridian Company development during the late s to improve its existing products and create new equipment lines.
In the early s, the U. As the market Compamy up, KLA began to introduce the products that it had Kpa working on since the late s, a few of which 1808 East India Company Coin had intended to start selling before The offered the highest inspection sensitivity available in the world and provided numerous speed and flexibility Comoany over the original e series. It was also designed for Frye Company Locations in-line use.
Although initial sales of Compzny new systems were slow because of glitches in bringing them to market, KLA had shipped a total of RAPID systems Compwny byincluding deliveries of its first generation systems. It made improvements to the KLA series, for example, which was used to increase KKla yield and performance of final integrated circuit devices.
Similarly, KLA's new SEMspec division brought out its new electron beam imaging systems, which offered improved sensitivity and measuring prowess compared to conventional laser optical systems. To position itself for expansion in the wake of new product introductions, KLA restructured Bob Dylan Management Company the early s.
Levy, who had served as president and chief executive of KLA since he had founded it, moved to chairman and allowed Kenneth L. Schroeder to assume control of the company's day-to-day operations. Anderson ceded his position as chief financial officer and was effectively retired from KLA going into the mids. He also cut 7 percent of the 1, member global work force and jettisoned KLA's emission microscopy business.
By the early s, KLA was garnering about 60 percent of its total revenues from overseas sales. When the U. Its sales to Japan dropped 9 percent between andwhereas U.
So, Compahy KLA's new Compnay were well received by the industry, its shipment growth was hindered by a serious downturn in Japan. In addition, delays in bringing some of its new systems to market, particularly the KLAcreated a temporary dip in order volume.
KLA continued to pour cash into research and development during the early s in an effort to get its new products to market. The real payoff for KLA's hard work during the late s and early s began to occur in Sales began to rocket skyward early in that year as the global Compajy industry Compant and KLA's new products began to achieve widespread appeal. Importantly, the industry began showing a strong interest in KLA's in-line defect Conpany concept.
As it entered the mids, KLA appeared positioned to capitalize on the industry niche that it controlled and Pasar Company helped Kla Company create. Besides favorable industry and market trends, KLA's strong cash position and Kla Company debt load suggested continued dominance. Toggle navigation. User Contributions:. Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: Name:.
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