“With our new Innovation Center in Shanghai we are moving towards the future”

In October 2018, Heraeus Electronics opened an innovation center in Shanghai, which now covers an area of over 600 square meters. With an R&D team of more than 10 people, it offers comprehensive engineering services and competitive tailor-made material solutions for customers. Dr. Zhang Jing, head of innovation and engineering service China, talks about how the center has developed over the past two years, what new added values have been created for customers from China’s electronics industry, and what are the new focuses.

What role does the Innovation Center play for Heraeus innovation in China?

Dr. Zhang Jing, Head of innovation and engineering service at Heraeus Electronics in China
Dr. Zhang Jing, Head of innovation and engineering service at Heraeus Electronics in China

Several years ago, Heraeus launched a new strategy to transform from a traditional supplier of electronic packaging materials into a solution provider. The opening of the Innovation Center is a key step in implementing that strategy.

The Center offers engineering services to our customers, which allows us to keep in very close contact with customers and to give them our advices at a very early stage of new product development so that we can understand their latest needs, what new products they are going to develop and the market response. This helps us identify the focuses of our future research to provide our customers with turn-key solutions.

What's more, it facilitates the implementation of our “China for China” strategy by building up the core competencies of Heraeus to support existing businesses. With improved competencies, we will continue to explore more advanced areas of application. For example, we will introduce world-leading technologies to lay a solid foundation for local production.

As an industry-leading facility, the center has cutting-edge equipment and experienced scientists, and offers more comprehensive materials and technical support for power electronics and semiconductor customers.

What are your current R&D focuses?

One of our current focuses is to support our customers to advance in the area of third-generation semiconductors.

The Chinese semiconductor industry has gone through three stages. Each generation is associated with specific materials. The first generation is represented by silicon, the second by gallium arsenide, and the third by gallium nitride, silicon carbide, zinc oxide, alumina and diamond.

In contrast to the first two generations, the third-generation semiconductors, thanks to their high efficiency, density and reliability, have played an important role in new energy vehicles, communications and household appliances, just to name a few.

We are very active in the development of third-generation semiconductors. For example, we have established extensive and in-depth cooperation with lots of domestic silicon carbide semiconductor and power electronics packaging companies. A number of our latest innovations have been applied to some customers' electric vehicles, which greatly boosts the advancement of the industry.

In addition to your customers, what partners does the Center work with to become part of the innovation ecosystem?

Cooperation with universities is also key to our innovations.

We have worked with many top universities, including Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Fudan University and Shanghai University. They have theories and findings on current research developments as well as knowledgeable professors and students, while the Innovation Center has advanced industrial equipment that the universities do not have.

We are closer to the industry and more application-oriented, while the universities focus more on fundamental research with better infrastructure. In short, the Center and the universities can benefit from each other and share results.

What is the roadmap of the Center?

The facility focuses on developing and testing of material and material systems for electronics. The reason we located the Innovation Center in Shanghai, China, was to better serve the Chinese market – by staying close to our customers for a quicker response to their desires.

The Chinese semiconductor industry is flourishing and entering a new period of rapid growth. As for national strategy, China has invested a lot of capital and resources in third-generation semiconductors and done lots of solid work. Therefore, we are very optimistic about the prospect of the industry. And these semiconductors will find a wide range of applications, including in some emerging areas, especially smart grids, high-speed rail and electric vehicles. For example, the new-generation semiconductors are more resistant to voltage surges with higher efficiency, which means savings in energy. Our customers are very ambitious, and we are also confident that our materials and technical support will help them achieve greater success.

The Innovation Center will be further expanded in the future. I would like to thank our customers and partners for their support and trust. I look forward to working with them to drive the development of China's electronics industry.