ASML history files

ASML’s first customer

René Raaijmakers
Leestijd: 5 minuten

He isn’t on the lists of leaders, brilliant technicians and ASML heroes, but Cees Krijgsman gave the young company a push at decisive moments in the 1980s. Behind the scenes, he put the pre-ASML stepper team in contact with its first customer. Later, he himself signed the contracts for the first litho machines from Veldhoven.

In the summer of 1984, Gjalt Smit and George de Kruiff both had a problem. ASML director Smit was waiting for the green light from his shareholders Philips and ASM International for 50 million dollars in financing. Commissioner De Kruiff had the task of convincing senior Philips management to cough up half that amount.

That wasn’t obvious as De Kruiff didn’t have a convincing story. At Elcoma, where Philips had housed its chip activities, they were never satisfied with the home-made steppers. The other joint venture partner, ASM International, had a bad reputation amongst the management of the chip factory in Nijmegen. Smit had gone there for a coffee in the summer and had gotten the door slammed in his face. The largest European site for semiconductor production had told him that they preferred to buy American litho equipment. The Perkin-Elmer machines were running just fine there. They weren’t interested in ASML’s steppers.

This article is exclusively available to premium members of Bits&Chips. Already a premium member? Please log in. Not yet a premium member? Become one and enjoy all the benefits.


Related content