EETimes: France-based Ulis announced a 20M euros ($24M) investment in a new 200mm wafer fab near Grenoble, France, to penetrate emerging high volume markets such as automotive and low-resolution sensors. The initial capacity will be 200,000 units per annum. Ultimately, the capacity is expected to reach up to 1,500 units per annum.
Ulis uses amorphous silicon microbolometer technology (aSi). For the first time, Ulis said it will introduce to the market a series of low cost IR sensors. Jean-François Delepau, managing director of Ulis, said: "There is a huge market demand now, and Ulis' offer meets market expectations in terms of cost, performance and reliability. Existing offers based on alternative technologies cannot meet market expectations. For example, these low image-resolution IR sensors require a real technological breakthrough in terms of low power and low cost technologies. Ulis owns the competitive advantage here."
These high-volume, low cost IR sensors will use new packaging technologies, such as Pixel Level and Wafer Level Packaging technologies (PLP and WLP), Ulis noted.
Founded in 2002, Ulis said it has recorded double-digit compound growth each consecutive year, with the exception of 2009. Revenues amounted to 45 million euros in ($55M) in 2011. The company began operation with 35 employees and one product. In 2012, the French company employs 140 people with two product lines covering applications from thermography to the automotive market.