Manz: A Total Process Solution


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At CPCA Show 2015 in Shanghai, China, I had the pleasure of speaking with Alex Liu, of Manz AG. Manz has focused on creating a process from direct imaging to wet processing. With more entrants into the direct imaging arena, Liu feels that this approach gives both Manz and their customers an advantage.

Barry Matties: Alex, please tell us what Manz does, exactly.

Alex Liu: Manz is a listed company in Germany, founded 27 years ago. They started in automation—in the integration of machine systems. They used to be very strong in the solar business, but after 2008, acquired a couple of companies. One of those is Intech Taiwan, which specializes in wet processing—chemical processes. They serviced the display business and also the PCB business. We were then able to integrate the dry processes with the wet processes to become a total solution provider.

Matties: So now you're in the direct imaging and wet processing equipment business, from start to finish. Laser direct imaging is a pretty competitive sector, isn’t it?

Liu: Yes, and we have a different strategy. First, we offer a total solution—a super fine-line solution. We have an integrated process line, from imaging through wet processing, with each process harmonious with the next. We cooperate with a company called KLEO in Germany, to provide the exposure units. The advantage is that we have a complete process.

As another integration example, we announced last year the metallization solution, as we call it. We’ve built this line for more than 15 years, and we have market share of more than 75%. Last year, we launched our first horizontal plater, so that customers do not need to take out the panel from PTH to the VCP [vertical continuous plating] line, because they are directly, horizontally connected. This meant no excess handling and all from one supplier. For the customer’s benefit, it's easier to process.

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Matties: So they buy the equipment and then you do all the service, installation and maintenance. Do you charge a service fee for your equipment service?

Liu: We try, but in China it is always difficult. The preventive maintenance contract is tricky in China. China customers are always expecting something for free, especially maintenance, but we sell differently. We have a free preventive maintenance program that we're offering—a free service during which we inspect and then from time to time we recommend which spare parts need to be replaced. So we offer equipment service/maintenance in a different way.

Matties: Let's talk about the plating process. You are not producing chemicals, only equipment, right? Do you work with chemical suppliers specifically?

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