Press Release

ZEISS expands in Wetzlar: Additional plant in Dillfeld

OCT 12, 2022 · 4 min read
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Press Contact

Jeannine Rapp

Photo of Jeannine Rapp
Press Contact

Jeannine Rapp

  • Strong market demand for semiconductor manufacturing equipment and high customer demand require more production capacity
  • ZEISS is building a new multifunctional factory in Dillfeld, Wetzlar, in addition to the existing SMT site in Wetzlar
  • Further increase in workforce planned

Oberkochen, Wetzlar / Germany | ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology

The rapid acceleration in the growth of the semiconductor market is driving the demand for semiconductor manufacturing equipment. In order to serve the high customer demand, the ZEISS Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology (SMT) segment is building a new multifunction factory in Dillfeld, Wetzlar, in addition to the existing SMT site. The construction start is currently planned for spring 2023. With a production area of more than 12,000 m², the extension building will provide space for around 150 employees, who will manufacture state-of-the-art DUV lithography systems (DUV stands for "deep ultraviolet light"), among other things.

Katrin Ariki, site manager of the ZEISS semiconductor technology segment SMT in Wetzlar, is delighted: "The acquisition of land for our new expansion building in Dillfeld is a very clear statement for our site in Wetzlar."

ZEISS is receiving substantial support from the city of Wetzlar in the development of this ambitious project. “Zeiss is an elementary part of the core brand of Wetzlar as the city of optics. It is therefore with great pleasure that I accept the decision that Zeiss attaches great importance to the Wetzlar location for its further development and is underpinning this with a highly modern and future-oriented new building project that complements the previous company location. This commitment to the location is a very important statement for our city, especially in our challenging times. With our authorities, we will accompany the settlement in a goal- and result-oriented manner," said Lord Mayor Manfred Wagner.

Multifunctional factory for highly sophisticated products and processes

The extension building in Wetzlar's Dillfeld serves as a multifunction factory, offering highly flexible layouts for work areas such as optics, coating and assembly. "Manufacturing high-tech products such as lithography optics requires special conditions, which we take into account during construction. For example, we need a vibration-resistant design for the very sensitive measurement technology," Ariki continues.

The factory is complemented by a technical operations building in which cooling, heat and compressed air can be generated, which is structurally separated from the factory for reasons of supply security. And in the office building, offices, workshops, changing rooms and social rooms are planned. In addition, a cafeteria area is to be created here on the top floor with a view of the Dill River.

  • ZEISS

    Visualization draft of the new multifunctional factory with the optics, coating and assembly areas. The new ZEISS SMT factory building in Wetzlar Dillfeld will provide space for around 150 employees on a production area of more than 12,000 m². The start of construction is planned for spring 2023.

New plant in Wetzlar drives global digitization forward

In order to realize the megatrends of tomorrow, such as autonomous driving, 5G or artificial intelligence, powerful microchips are necessary. Already today, more than 80 percent of all microchips worldwide are manufactured with lithography optics from ZEISS' SMT semiconductor technology segment. The optical systems enable chip manufacturers worldwide to expose microchips with nanometer precision - including in the DUV light range with wavelengths of 365, 248 and 193 nanometers

In Wetzlar, employees of the technology company in the optical and optoelectronic industry have been manufacturing DUV lithography optics for more than 20 years. This makes ZEISS a key driver of global digitization. In addition, high-quality binoculars, spotting scopes and hunting optics are manufactured at ZEISS in Wetzlar.

Strengthening the region for today and tomorrow

The investments made by ZEISS are not only intended to strengthen the site, but also to make the region and Wetzlar as the "City of Optics" even more attractive from an employee perspective. The public will also benefit from the new expansion building. "After all, the demand for semiconductors and the rapid growth of this market are also noticeable at ZEISS in Wetzlar in terms of increased personnel requirements. While around 170 employees were employed at the SMT site until 2017, the number is now more than 350 and the trend is rising. ZEISS continues to look for new employees here," Ariki concludes.

About ZEISS

ZEISS is an internationally leading technology enterprise operating in the fields of optics and optoelectronics. In the previous fiscal year, the ZEISS Group generated annual revenue totaling 7.5 billion euros in its four segments Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology, Industrial Quality & Research, Medical Technology and Consumer Markets (status: 30 September 2021).

For its customers, ZEISS develops, produces and distributes highly innovative solutions for industrial metrology and quality assurance, microscopy solutions for the life sciences and materials research, and medical technology solutions for diagnostics and treatment in ophthalmology and microsurgery. The name ZEISS is also synonymous with the world's leading lithography optics, which are used by the chip industry to manufacture semiconductor components. There is global demand for trendsetting ZEISS brand products such as eyeglass lenses, camera lenses and binoculars.

With a portfolio aligned with future growth areas like digitalization, healthcare and Smart Production and a strong brand, ZEISS is shaping the future of technology and constantly advancing the world of optics and related fields with its solutions. The company's significant, sustainable investments in research and development lay the foundation for the success and continued expansion of ZEISS' technology and market leadership. ZEISS invests 13 percent of its revenue in research and development – this high level of expenditure has a long tradition at ZEISS and is also an investment in the future.

With over 35,000 employees, ZEISS is active globally in almost 50 countries with around 30 production sites, 60 sales and service companies and 27 research and development facilities. Founded in 1846 in Jena, the company is headquartered in Oberkochen, Germany. The Carl Zeiss Foundation, one of the largest foundations in Germany committed to the promotion of science, is the sole owner of the holding company, Carl Zeiss AG.

Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology

With its product portfolio and expertise, the Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology segment of ZEISS covers a variety of key processes in the production of microchips. Its products include semiconductor manufacturing optics – notably lithography optics – as well as photomask systems and process control solutions for semiconductor manufacturing. Thanks to ZEISS technology, microchips are becoming increasingly smaller, more powerful, more energy-efficient and more affordable. The electronic applications of these ongoing enhancements enable global progress in many disciplines such as technology, electronics, communication, entertainment, mobility and energy. Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology is headquartered in Oberkochen. Other sites include Jena, Rossdorf and Wetzlar in Germany, as well as Bar Lev (Israel) and Dublin, CA and Peabody, MA (USA).

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