KLA-Tencor exits solar inspection business


U.S.-based KLA-Tencor which, among other products, offers inspection and metrology tools for the photovoltaics industry, has told pv magazine it will no longer be manufacturing its ICOS Series of solar inspection modules, including A2 / MVS / PVI-6. It will also discontinue producing its FabVision Solar yield management product.

The decision will take immediate effect, and a company spokesperson says all affected employees and customers have been informed of the solar exit. They did not, however, say how many employees had been affected.

KLA-Tencor will still offer customer support until the end of 2013, and has introduced a last-time buy opportunity until this December 31. Meanwhile, spare part availability will be guaranteed until the end of 2017.

"As a result of this decision KLA-Tencor will increase the focus of the ICOS division on its IC Component Inspector (CI) and Wafer Inspector (WI) businesses to drive new areas of growth, explained the spokesperson.

They added, "KLA-Tencor employees have received notice of their new assignments. Timing of actual reassignment will depend on an employee’s role in the business exit process and business need in the new assignment."

On October 25, KLA-Tencor announced its Q3 2012 financial results. Overall, it recorded revenues of US$721 million – down slightly from the $796 million recorded in Q3 2011. Net income for the period, meanwhile, slipped from $192 million to $135 million.

KLA-Tencor is a leader in yield management and process control solutions for semiconductor manufacturing. In 2008, the company diversified into the solar manufacturing business to address emerging demand for photovoltaic cell and wafer inspection technologies at different stages of the production line.