The Changes in our Industry

Michael McCallion

When I first started with Compugraphics way back in September 1984, I was 17, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers had just released their first album, Apple had just launched their famous Macintosh commercial and CMOS was the technology of the time as its low power usage made it particularly popular for use on boards with a battery backup. Nowadays we have all kinds of new uses for our Photomasks from MEMS to Photonics and there are new applications opening up all the time.

I have been with Compugraphics for 30 years now. You might think that is a long time to be in the same industry, however, at Compugraphics the landscape changes constantly and therefore so does my job.

My roll encompasses a wide variety of tasks which bring unique challenges in both learning and understanding. I never imagined that a Photomask would be used to create a chip that uses light to transfer data or that we would be able to build tiny mechanisms in silicon using Photomasks. Our Customers are constantly finding new uses for Photomasks, the challenge is to understand their requirements and supply them with the Photomasks they need. Technology plays a part in this but innovation and reuse of older technology is very exciting and relevant to the European and US markets.

Tools that are obsolete for CMOS have now found a new purpose in the MEMS and other emerging markets. The trick is to understand what is required to get these tools to make the product you need, this is where the expertise of the Photomask manufacturer comes to the fore. Compugraphics has worked with a variety of tools over the years which has given us knowledge of their limitations and their capabilities.

We help our customers to understand what they really need and have the experience to help them generate the right Photomasks to fulfil those needs.

These new aspects are exciting and challenging, the tools we use were never meant to make curves and circles but we have adapted the technology so we can give our customers what they need. I get to work directly with the customers and their new innovations so it is always exciting. I think it’s the kind of job everyone should want to do!

What will the next 30 years bring? That is a question on every designers’ mind. The killer product, the new technology, the lightbulb idea. I have my own thoughts but maybe I will just wait to hear what the customers decide. One thing for sure, it is not going to be boring.

Written by Michael McCallion, Business Development Manager

Michael McCallion

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