Key Facts & History

Heidelberg Instruments

About Heidelberg Instruments

Heidelberg Instruments designs, develops, and manufactures maskless laser lithography systems for the fabrication of micro-structures, serving the global photolithography community in both the direct writing field and in photomask production. Application areas include MEMS, micro-optics, advanced packaging (3DIC), IC, flat panel displays (FPD), micro-fluidics, sensors, and other analog and digital electronic components. Our systems are used in more than 50 countries in Research and Development, rapid prototyping, and industrial production.

In 2018, Heidelberg Instruments was joined by SwissLitho, a young and innovative high-tech company with an expertise in Scanning Thermal Probe Lithography (STPL), a technology realized with their NanoFrazor systems. Together, Heidelberg Instruments and SwissLitho are now able to provide customers with an additional choice of tools and options in the Nano- and Microlithography field. In the NanoFrazor, heatable silicon tips are used for direct patterning of arbitrary 2D and 3D nanostructures and for simultaneous imaging of the tiny resulting nanostructures.


  • 1984

    Foundation Year

  • 250

    employees worldwide

  • 36

    years of innovation

  • 10


  • 7


  • 3

    Process and Application Labs


of Heidelberg Instruments


A Modest Beginning
Researchers from the University of Heidelberg and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) establish Heidelberg Instruments GmbH with focus on biomedical optics, confocal microscopy as well as wafer patterning and inspection.


The company becomes independent with new ownership and is renamed Heidelberg Instruments Mikrotechnik GmbH. The company shifts its core business towards lithographic patterning tools for the semiconductor industry.


The first DWL System
The company sells its first direct write laser lithography system, the DWL 200.


The DWL 66
The company launches the direct write laser lithography system DWL 66, a tool specifically designed for low-volume, high-precision direct patterning for scientific research.

1996- 2000

OEM Agreement
Heidelberg Instruments and Gerber System Corporation launch their long-term development cooperation for large-area exposure systems.

1997- 2001

First Steps Beyond National Borders
Heidelberg Instruments expands to Asia and North America. First subsidiaries are founded to supply the emerging markets.

2002- 2005

Continued Growth
The company increases its exports and production capacity to meet higher demand. In 2005, a new 2,500-square-meter-production building is inaugurated in Heidelberg.


Smaller Footprint
The µPG 101 is rolled out. The company’s first tabletop direct-write lithography system is designed to provide an easy and fast way to create microstructures for universities and research institutes.


Expanding the Portfolio
Heidelberg Instruments introduces the VPG line of large-area lithography systems in response to growing demand for high-end photomask production. In 2013, the company adds the VPG 200/400 family of systems to its product range.


500th Installation
The 500th system leaves the production line.


Process and Application Lab
The company establishes an additional Process and Application lab in China in addition to the primary location in Heidelberg, Germany.


New Partner
RAG-Stiftung Investment Company acquires 100% of Heidelberg Instruments. The company invests into specialized medium-sized companies in the fields of mechanical engineering, automation and industrial technologies serving international growth segments.


MLA Series
The product range grows again with the introduction of high-performance maskless aligner systems called the MLA series. The tools are designed to be a direct alternative to mask aligners, eliminating the need for photomasks.


Heidelberg Instruments buys the majority stake in the Swiss-based nanotech company SwissLitho, a manufacturer of nanolithography systems. The worldwide workforce grows to around 250 employees.


Product Portfolio Grows
New products are introduced: The NanoFrazor Explore (now equipped with a laser writer module), the new µMLA table-top maskless lithography system, and the economic semiconductor mask writer ULTRA.


The MLA300 is launched
The very successful Maskless Aligner Technology is now available in a system designed for a high-volume production environment in industry.


Get in touch with us for more information about our products and services, answers to questions about our technology and everything else about Heidelberg Instruments.

Send request