Reading time: 3 minutes
Anne de Jong is a copywriter at Anne de Jong Tekst & Propositie.
How strong is an ecosystem in which all the cells are interdependent? That’s something the people at VIRO know a thing or two about. While a longtime partner of ASML, the engineering firm remains independent, which has only enhanced the quality of its services.
VIRO has enjoyed a close partnership with ASML for many years. In the past few years, the relationship has become more professional, according to VIRO programme manager Marco Storm. ‘Projects are now described in greater detail for specific orders, we’re measuring processes more, we’ve started using KPIs. Most of these are related to QLTC, which stands for quality, logistics, technology and costs.’
Storm notes that leading-edge companies are building new processors and new phones even smaller in size and faster than the ones currently available on the market. ‘They’re relying on the most advanced lithographic systems, which can produce the smallest possible circuits. Yet trends such as the Internet of Things, where you can use a simplified type of computer chip to enable, for example, microwaves to communicate with refrigerators, actually call for less sophisticated lithographic systems. In those cases, factors such as lower operating costs and superior reliability are far more important. VIRO’s added value is not just in the design process; it’s also about tying up all the loose ends on the engineering side and finding the detailed solutions needed to improve overall quality.’
Experience in other sectors
But at the end of the day, VIRO’s focus remains firmly on its core business: its flexible pool of engineering and project management professionals provide the skills ASML uses to build its semiconductor lithographic systems. Whenever ASML’s demand for staff exceeds the supply of new (as-yet-untrained) workers, VIRO steps up to the plate. Storm says: ‘We have the resources to assemble strong teams within a short period of time, because many of the people we employ at our various sites across the Netherlands have previously worked for ASML. We can adapt quickly to any situation, while keeping high quality levels throughout and without ever compromising our own business continuity.’
Another major benefit is that many VIRO engineers are also experienced in sectors other than the semiconductor industry. This makes it easier for them to deliver innovative and creative solutions for ASML. As a result, they occasionally come up with cost-saving innovations.
Two German-based equipment manufacturers are supplying key components for ASML’s new generation of EUV machines. These companies also happen to be VIRO clients. This demonstrates how important it is for the engineering firm to retain its unconditional independence.
‘We know ASML well and are aware of what they expect from their suppliers,’ Storm says. ‘VIRO doesn’t actually own any intellectual property rights itself. Based on our knowledge of both ASML and these suppliers, we can provide them with optimal, impartial advice to help them develop and deliver the solutions they need.’