ICOS was founded in 1982 as a spin-off from the K.U. Leuven Image Processing Laboratory, under the leadership of Professor Dr. Ir. Oosterlinck who has become president of the university and is still an active member of the Board of Directors.
After performing various inspection tasks in various industries, ICOS decided in 1985 to concentrate entirely on the back-end semiconductor and electronic assembly industries. We landed some of our first OEM contracts which are still in place today and started a period of rapid growth, resulting in ICOS becoming a world-wide leader for inspection systems for IC packages and packaging processes and materials.
Since 1982, ICOS has introduced several important innovations to the market, like a true greyscale vision system for IC placement and several of the world's first inspection systems for integration in various types of back-end semiconductor equipment. By the early nineties, ICOS had become a leading choice of OEM's for inspection systems in the semiconductor back-end arena.
ICOS then adopted a strategy of vertical integration and started to build more complete inspection systems. We expanded our product line, starting from our original board-level inspection modules to system-level modules (including cameras and illumination systems) and finally into stand-alone inspection systems, of which it introduced its first version in 1992.
In the process of specializing in semiconductor package inspection, ICOS embarked on a geographical expansion. In 1986, we established a subsidiary in the USA, followed by a subsidiary in Japan in 1991, two years after recording our first sales in this important market. Following these early successes, we entered other markets in Asia, opening a branch office in Hong Kong in 1995 and in Singapore in 1996. The operations of both branches were transferred to newly incorporated subsidiaries in 2003. In 2004, we also set up an office in Korea.
In 1997 we listed our stock on the Nasdaq Stock Market in an initial public offering, adding a dual listing on the European technology stock market, Nasdaq Europe, in 1998. In 2003, we exchanged our Nasdaq Europe listing for a listing on Euronext Brussels, so that we currently have a dual listing on NASDAQ (USA) and Euronext Brussels.
We have continued to expand our technology platform and broaden our line of inspection machines. In 1998, we acquired Qtec, a German leader in IC inspection equipment for very specific stages in the IC production process. Today ICOS GmbH, the former Qtec, serves as a research and development department for the company. During 2002, we acquired the gravity handling technology and product rights from IC Equipment Pte Ltd. in Singapore and we opened our R&D center in Hong Kong, concentrating on mechanical design. During 2004, we acquired our production plant in Shenzen, China, right across the border from and closely working together with our R&D center in Hong Kong and we took over the 2D Wafer Inspection technology of Siemens AG. With this acquisition, ICOS enters the market of 2D Wafer Inspection and expands its addressable market for inspection of semiconductor packacagin processes. – less–ZoomInfo