Consider the smartphone. A portable telephone that can connect two people on opposite ends of the globe, a mini-television that entertains and informs, a virtual shopping haven that conjures goods and services before you at a mere tap of the finger – how is it that a device the size of the palm of our hand can come to life with the single press of a button, transforming the way we live?
The answer: the mobile chip. A small processor the size of our fingernail, made to precision with a bevy of components, including tiny, intricate circuit boards – circuit boards that may very well be manufactured by one of Canon’s large industrial machines.
Introducing Mr. Hans Kameyama, the Senior Director of the Industrial Products Centre (IPC). Hans joined the Canon family in 1984. Having been to 13 Canon offices worldwide, he now heads a team that comprises of more than 50 staff.
Our team at Canon Singapore had the honour to meet Hans and find out more about his lesser-known department, and what his job scope entails.
Electronic devices are an essential part of our society today. From our mobile phones and credit cards to the vehicles we drive, there’s something in these equipment that many don’t know about or often take for granted: the Integrated Circuit (IC) Chips. These chips are manufactured by our department amongst other things we sell in at IPC, which include storage equipment, the flat panel display aligner, and the semi-conductor manufacturing stepper/scanner. In a nutshell, our machines not only shape the future, they also help integrate the future into our lives.
The stepper/scanner acts like a microscope copy – but in reverse. A microscope magnifies microscopic objects; our machines, on the other hand, shrink large complex circuits into minuscule entities and print. They become so tiny that it’s hard to discern with the naked eye. We need a special equipment called the Scanning Electron-Beam Microscope (SEM) to see them.
The life-cycle of a machine lasts more than 20 years, and the machine can cost up to USD$15 million. Our largest machine is about as high as a small shophouse, standing at 6 metres tall, and weighs 126 tonnes. Isn’t it fascinating that a colossal machine produces such tiny integrated circuits?
Challenges often come during the post-sales service. Because of the complex nature of the industry, our machines are designed to work 24 hours, 7 days a week. These machines are very complicated, and our customers often have difficulty troubleshooting the equipment by themselves. They are highly dependent on our service team and we have to be ready to help them at any time.
It’s our responsibility to be available at all times for the customer. There are no exceptions. We pride ourselves with sky-high standards: our technicians are expected to maintain an uptime of 97-98%.
We often operate non-stop for more than a month before retiring. In order to ensure that they are in good working order, 40 out of 50 Canon technicians are stationed at our customers’ site. Providing good service is one of our key core values, and we make sure that our customers can enjoy undisrupted business processes with well-maintained and performing machines.
Technological advancements are progressing globally. With more smart devices on the market, there is an increase in the demand for IC chips, translating into a forecast of unprecedented sales. And this is all thanks to digital innovations like the Internet of Things (IoT), Autonomous Driving, Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI). I look forward to seeing what else is in store!
Canon continues to dominate the market for industrial products, which in large part is due to our emphasis on well-supported businesses and after-sales service. Follow Canon Singapore on LinkedIn, as we showcase more of our valued staff and lesser-known but important departments in the months ahead!