CEO Talk: Martin Sallenhag, RoodMicrotec

February 15, 2020, anysilicon

This interview was held with Martin Sallenhag, CEO, RoodMicrotec N.V.



Tell me a bit about your background? How did you first get started with RoodMicrotec?


After my master’s degree in electrical engineering at Lund University, I joined the mobile phone division of Ericsson where I designed mixed signal ASICs for the newly launched GSM phones. In 2001, I joined Dialog Semiconductor where I held various positions from product marketing to head of engineering for the camera module business. The next step was to join a privately funded company in Stockholm, Sweden that developed WLAN chips for the mobile phone market. Being a part of the management team, I was involved in selling the company to Samsung Electronics and thus, we became part of the System LSI group. In 2015, I got the chance to join RoodMicrotec in southern Germany as CTO and became CEO in mid 2016.


Tell me about RoodMicrotec?


The company started under the name Signetics in Nördlingen in 1969 as a test house for memory chips. In 1976, Rood was founded in the Netherlands and listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange in 1986. In 1991, Rood took over the operations in Nördlingen and in 2008, Rood took over the company Microtec in Stuttgart. From that day, RoodMicrotec was active and offered its services to the electronics industry. The company is still listed on the Amsterdam stock exchange with two operational locations in southern Germany. With many years of experience, the company offers supply chain management services for its customers in the automotive and industrial markets as well as test development, wafer & final test, qualification, and failure analysis.


How was the role/offering of RoodMicrotec changed during the recent years?


We have put more focus on offering full turn-key solutions to our customers. This enables us to ensure a better planning certainty and also a better relationship with our customers, since we are part of the main flow of goods during mass production. It is a benefit for our customers to have one partner who handles all the topics needed to bring a product to the market or during the volume production phase. With full-turn key projects, we can take responsibilities from product definition through design, qualification, and test development up to full production. Our additional strength is our very experienced failure analysis team that can identify problems and help the customer to find a solution if there are problems with a device.


Which market segment seems promising to you? And why?


We are mainly active in the automotive and industrial market segments. Both of them look very promising for different reasons. The automotive segment is in the midst of a revolutionary change with electrical vehicles as well as autonomous driving. This requires much more electronics in the cars, both high power for battery management as well as high frequency for communication between vehicles. RoodMicrotec is offering solutions in both areas and therefore, we see a potential for a fast growth.


In the industrial sector, we see a move towards custom solutions (ASICs) for machinery, especially in the electronics area with Industry 4.0 and IoT. The need for different machinery to communicate with each other and a server landscape in the background will increase the electronic content significantly.


What is a typical customer for RoodMicrotec?


We have a broad customer base ranging from big semiconductor companies over industrial machine manufacturers to small start-ups with great ideas. The industrial customers are normally not that focused on electronics, but here, we can help by offering a solution for turning an idea into mass production. RoodMicrotec offers a one-stop-shop for them to get into the next level of integration to save space and costs and to protect intellectual property better. The small start-ups are normally design houses with very good engineers who can design a device at a level no one else has been able to do before. However, they often don’t have the know-how and interest to handle the back-end of the production flow. For these steps, RoodMicrotec is an ideal partner, as we can handle qualification, test development, and production in a professional way so that they don’t need to build this up themselves.


Customers are focused on time-to-market, first-time-right, price, etc. Do you see a change in customer behaviour in recent years? Where is the focus today and why?


Yes, we see changes in the speed of the market. A couple of years ago, developing a project was a linear process, where you started with the definition phase, then developed the design (with possible redesigns) and evaluated the device before starting to devise the infrastructure for volume production. Today, all of these phases are running in parallel to shorten the time to market. This of course puts additional requirements on all parties in the chain to communicate much more with each other and it also requires a different type of organization and engineering knowledge. RoodMicrotec has changed over the last years to adapt to this new market and we are very well positioned to be a reliable partner for our customers.


Are you currently hiring? What type of jobs?


We are always looking for talented people to strengthen our teams in Nördlingen and Stuttgart. Right now, we are looking for test engineers, technicians for our production floor, and failure analysis engineers with know-how in testing of components.


What is your #1 advice for people who want to work for RoodMicrotec?


Get in contact with us, we are like a family and enjoy going to work in the morning to take on the new challenges that might arise during the day.


Where can one find more information?


Our website is the main communication platform where you can find much more information about the company, what we offer, and open positions. Please also give us a call if you have any questions or if you need help with your future projects.  www.roodmicrotec.com


 What is the best moment in your day?


When I manage to help either a colleague or a customer to solve a difficult problem, then the day is successful and rewarding.


How do you keep yourself energized and engaged during the day?


In this industry, there are no dull moments, things happen very fast and you never know what comes next. This keeps me energized and on top of things.


How do you spend your time outside working hours?


I’m a passionate golfer and skier, these things keep me fit and enable me to relax and think about other things besides work. After a round of golf or after a nice day on the slopes, I come back to work with new energy and can solve upcoming tasks more easily.

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