Ask the average consumer where the chips in his computer, telephone or LCD television come from, and he will mention Japan, China or some other Asian country. He would be very surprised to hear that the semiconductor manufacturers in these countries – and others too - are turning to technology developed in the Brabant town of Helmond more and more often. But the reality is that one of the most prominent suppliers in the semiconductor branch is situated right here. Xycarb Ceramics markets its innovations all over the world.
Xycarb Ceramics develops and produces high-grade graphite, ceramic and quartz machine parts for the semiconductor industry and is particularly well known for its high-temperature applications. Due to its advanced manufacturing processes and modern processing methods, the company has evolved into the market leader of its sector. “We operate worldwide”, explains Peter Spit, the General Sales & Marketing Manager at Xycarb Ceramics’ head office in Helmond. “Almost 95% of our sales are generated from export and the interest is not only from Europe and America: many countries in Asia are taking notice of us too. In fact, Asia is our most important and fastest growing market - our share in the Japanese market is as much as 25 %.”
Xycarb Ceramics was established in Helmond in 1981. “You could call us a new company with a long history,” says Business Manager Michiel Festen. “We operate in a very dynamic market where continuity can’t always be taken for granted.” The company is making its mark by introducing itself as an innovative partner to its customers, who include both well-established machine manufacturers and distinguished end users. “We regard every challenge faced by our customers as our own challenge”, Michiel Festen says, explaining Xycarb Ceramics’ mission. “By examining our customers’ processes, we can build up an innovative lead. Our coatings are considered to be among the top three in the world, and it’s a well-founded reputation.”
The faith placed in Xycarb Ceramics by manufacturers all over the world became even more firmly established when the company became a division of the German Schunk Group, whose 2009 turnover was more than 800 million euros.
Peter Spit finds it only logical that Xycarb Ceramics should have selected Helmond as its business location. “The proximity of Philips and the fact that Belgium and Germany are only just round the corner were major considerations at the time.” The Helmond company makes good use of Brabant’s open innovation network, as Peter Spit explains: “We work with knowledge institutes, research institutes and of course, the companies on the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven.”
Michiel Festen heartily agrees that Brabant is a very influential region for innovation. “We have good reason to feel so at home here: our company relies on the ongoing development of products and manufacturing methods. ‘Pure Excellence’ is our guiding principle and that also applies to the Brabant labour market, which provides us excellent resources. After all, we’re expanding rapidly and this again shows that the region is essential to us.”
Peter Spit can’t see any reason why Xycarb Ceramics should relocate its manufacturing operations to Asia. “Our repair branches in Singapore and Taiwan offer our customers in the Far East the best possible service, while we have all the knowledge we need at our fingertips, right here in Brabant. Our company is the living proof that you can operate very efficiently on an international level from here.”