CyberOptics New AMS Sensor Featured in StarTribune

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A New Sensor from Golden Valley-Based CyberOptics Will Advance Digital Gadgets
by Evan Ramstad

CyberOptics’ latest product ultimately will make digital gadgets better, cheaper

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At an annual conference of chip equipment makers, Golden Valley-based CyberOptics Corp. will unveil a sensor product that lets chipmakers measure the vibration, leveling and humidity inside the machines turning plain silicon wafers into chips. It’s an advance from a previous product that combined two measurements.

For chipmakers, that means slightly less time in a production run needs to be spent taking measurements, and more time can be devoted to making chips. It’s a jump in efficiency that is one of the reasons that digital gadgets keep getting better and cheaper.

For CyberOptics, it’s an addition to a lineup of semiconductor sensors that is the fastest-growing product segment in the company, which has about $45 million in annual sales. “What we are good at is taking different types of sensors and putting them together,” said Subodh Kulkarni, the company’s chief executive.

The company’s new product adds humidity sensors into the multi-sensor package. Keeping track of humidity inside the machines that make chips has become more important as the distance between circuits has shrunk, the innovation that allows more circuits to be put on a chip.

CyberOptics sold about $8 million worth of advanced sensors for chipmaking last year. It doesn’t break out profitability of such products but, in a filing to securities regulators, it said that its newest products, including semiconductor sensors, “have more favorable margins compared to products we have sold in the past.”

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