Over the last years, demand for remote working and thus for PCs, laptops, monitors, faster data transfer and higher storage volumes in cloud storage has constantly increased and the COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated this trend. This and the general increase in demand for more semiconductors for IOT applications, e-cars or the new 5G standard have triggered the increased expansion and construction of new semiconductor production facilities. As the global market leader in high performance vacuum valves, VAT is involved in all these new semiconductor fabrication plants. The majority of these semiconductors are fabricated in Asia and besides the construction of new plants, there are substantial investments in the expansion of the already existing fabrication plants. To supply our customers in Asia quickly and comprehensively with the valve solutions they require, VAT is constantly ramping up its factory output at its plant in Penang, Malaysia.

With over 23,843 square meters of floor space, VAT has designed its Penang plant for growth. Since the opening in 2012, VAT has started its strategy to supply its global customers faster with closer support. "Short innovation cycles in the semiconductor industry as well as a sharp increase in demand in the short term also require us to respond faster in the development and production of vacuum valves" Paraveen Singham, General Manager of the VAT plant in Malaysia explains. "In recent years, we have risen to become a reliable and important partner for semiconductor manufacturers and are now increasingly obliged to give our customers not only innovative products but also the supply security they need under changing market conditions." In 2020, Penang crossed the CHF 100 million factory output for the first time and is set to continue growing over time towards its full capacity potential of about CHF 500 million by 2025.

This means two things: in addition to ramping up output, the Penang factory also relieves the burden on the Haag site in Switzerland by taking over existing production lines and expanding the design area.  With this move, VAT also secures the business continuity for our customers, if something happened in one of the production locations.

With its OneVAT strategy, VAT is not only expanding its global manufacturing, but is also building on a network of design sites. "The production of high-performance vacuum valves is to a high degree determined by tailor-made solutions that are designed exactly for the respective customer plant. Sufficient engineering capacity is therefore just as crucial as production capacity," adds Yves Beer, Head of Product Management responsible for setting up product management and product line transfer. "We want a worldwide network of development sites where we can support customers everywhere locally with the full VAT know-how."

In the USA, these capacities already exist and will be further expanded there. The same applies to Japan, where VAT will move into a larger site by the end of 2021.