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ASML Utilising AR Technology for Lithography Customer Support

ASML, a semiconductor equipment maker, has recently released information about new solutions to combat the challenges of COVID-19 whilst incorporating adequate safety measures.

The Dutch company, based out of Veldhoven, is a major player in the domain of sophisticated semiconductor lithography systems. It has hinted at estimates of sales revenues almost 50 percent during the ongoing quarter. The company’s executives did break the news that sales for Q1 of 2020 were low at €2.44 billion, compared to the earlier estimates of €3.2 billion.

The COVID-19 pandemic might be to blame for the loss of sales and is being strongly considered as a factor. It has negatively impacted the company’s supply chain. Recovery is expected in the next quarter, but everything depends on how world governments implement to tackle the crisis. ASML executives are optimistic about the demand for lithography systems.

Roger Dassen, the CFO, said that demand was still high, pointing to the company’s €3.1 billion order intake figure for Q1 2020. He also pointed out the absence of any cancellations and pushouts during the ongoing year. Dassen, accompanied by CEO Peter Wennink, attended a remote conference call with investors, emphasised their goals of safeguarding employees and their close ones, and providing customer service by maintaining the steady supply of lithography tools.

ASML is ensuring safety for workers by having access to some of the most hygienic industrial spaces across the globe. Moreover, it has also introduced isolation procedures between shifts. Movement restrictions and unavailability of employees did have a negative impact on the company. But it has devised a new and innovative way of continuing support for installations and customers, according to Wennink.

ASML has relied on augmented reality (AR) headsets to facilitate engineering support remotely, across long distances. The CEO remarked that this approach was effective despite a few ASML employees being able to travel to sites to help customers due to special visas.

Wennink stated that regardless of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, ASML is able to continue its operations. He acknowledged the grit and creative focus of the company’s employees. On being asked whether ASML would face declining demand for its lithography equipment following the current period which can lead to a recession. Wennink said that there were no plans for a crisis scenario, whilst acknowledging the unpredictable nature of the ongoing scenario. He revealed that the customers kept chip fabs at normal operations.

The company is expected to send 35 EUVs to customers in 2020, a plan that has not been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company is preparing to take measures for saving cash, a part of which will go towards helping suppliers affected by the global crisis. It is imposing restrictions on capital and operational spending and halting its buyback plans for shares. The company will also hold back on making any major workforce expansions in 2020. It is expected to continue focusing on further developments in the near future.

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