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AT&S CEO Andreas Gerstenmayer and COO Heinz Moitzi presented the investment programme at a joint press conference with Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs Margarete Schramböck, Provincial Governor Hermann Schützenhöfer and Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, provincial government member for economic affairs: Over a period of four years, up to 120 million euros will be invested in the location in Leoben-Hinterberg, of which about 20 million euros will be dedicated to R&D and roughly 100 million euros to machines and processes. Up to 25 percent of the investments will be funded by the EU programme “IPCEI on Microelectronics."
In a first step, approximately 44 million euros will be invested by February 2021.
“IC substrates have been the central element of our corporate strategy for several years,” says AT&S CEO Andreas Gerstenmayer. “IC substrates are connecting elements between the printed circuit board and the chip; they ‘translate’ the nanostructures of the chip to the micrometre structures of a printed circuit board.” The innovative technologies of the cores produced in Leoben, together with other innovations at our Chongqing site, enable a leap in performance of the processor systems. “This allows us, for example, to reduce the energy consumption in the package and to massively increase data transmission speed,” says AT&S COO Heinz Moitzi. Innovations of this kind make many technical revolutions and digitalisation possible in the first place. They also provide the basis for achieving high speed in processors (5G).
With this investment, the production capacity for IC cores can be increased by 50 percent. The facility at Leoben-Hinterberg currently produces 225,000 panels per year, which is equivalent to an area of 56,000 square metres or nearly eight football fields. After the technology upgrade, the production capacity will increase to nearly 340,000 panels.
“Neither our plants in China nor in Austria would exist if our experts did not work together perfectly and pool their know-how across borders,” says CEO Andreas Gerstenmayer. “We use these synergies. Many European companies in our industry have lost their importance. In contrast, we are not only one of the global market leaders in the high-end printed circuit board industry, but we continue to grow.”
The technology upgrade will be carried out as part of the IPCEI on Microelectronics project, which was initiated by the EU and adopted by the Austrian Council of Ministers on 8 July. AT&S is one of three Austrian companies that can expect additional funding as part of the IPCEI-Microelectronics project in autumn. IPCEI (Important Projects of Common European Interest) strengthens and enables the support of investments in strategically important key technologies within the EU in global competition. Overall, 29 companies in Europe are supported with a total of 150 million euros.
“The investments boost at AT&S is an important signal that innovation cannot be stopped, despite the crisis,” says Federal Minister Margarete Schramböck. “The COVID-19 pandemic is currently showing us how important digitalisation is in all areas of life – from industry and the economy to education. The fact that there is an Austrian company that works with renowned international partners on driving digitalisation proves just how much know-how we have in Austria.”
“With a research and development rate of 4.91%, Styria holds a top position in Europe. The future of our economy lies in innovation and technological progress. I am very proud that we have internationally operating companies like AT&S, which also invest in times like these,” says Hermann Schützenhöfer, Provincial Governor of Styria. “Because what we need most of all right now is confidence – to ensure that our economy picks up again as quickly as possible and as many jobs as possible are secure.”
“AT&S is a key leading company in Styria. With its products and research activities, the company makes a significant contribution to Styria’s position as Austria’s number one region in innovation and research and in Europe’s top group. The positive development of the microelectronics core field in the south of Austria is also inseparably linked with AT&S. The current investment is a future project that signals a positive mood, especially in the situation we are currently experiencing. I would like to thank Andreas Gerstenmayer and the entire AT&S team for this strong commitment to Styria as a business location,” says Barbara Eibinger-Miedl, member of the provincial government responsible for economic affairs.