Intel names little-known Kitchener software company one of the best in the world

KITCHENER — The influence of a software company housed in a former factory on Victoria Street South spans the globe.

And for the first time, the company, PEER Group Inc., can speak publicly about the work it does for the world’s largest computer chip maker, Intel.

Intel named Peer Group an “Epic Outstanding Vendor”. Only six suppliers out of more than 9,000 appear on this list.

PEER Group writes the software that controls machines during a crucial step in chip manufacturing – the etching of integrated circuits onto the surface of silicon with lasers. This is called photolithography and it must be accurate to within five nanometers, or five billionths of a meter.

“All lithography tools run our software,” said Doug Suerich, Chief Marketing Officer at PEER Group. “We believe that every computer chip on the planet is touched by equipment that runs our software.”

PEER Group’s software is used in some of the world’s largest microchip factories in Taiwan, South Korea and Germany. The company’s software connects computers in the office to automated tools in the factory.

“The big semiconductor factories are all run by robots. They have very few operators in the field, and that’s where our hardware absolutely shines,” Suerich said.

The little bits of plastic, metal, and silicon that slip into computers come out of the most demanding environments. The lasers that etch the circuits on the chip are at the cutting edge of manufacturing technology.

“The newest and the biggest, and the newest of the new, lay down patterns that are five nanometers in diameter. It’s like 20 atoms in diameter. They draw little lines that are 20 atoms wide,” Suerich said. “It’s crazy what happens to make it work.”

Intel’s recognition, and accompanying co-branding and co-marketing, will help PEER Group recruit new talent, Suerich said.

Next week, it is opening an office in Toronto and expects to have 40 employees there by the end of the year — software developers, quality assurance specialists and project managers. It has 190 employees in the Kitchener office at 72 Victoria St. S. and 50 in Dresden, Germany.

The global chip shortage caused by the pandemic has led to massive investment in production, further boosting PEER Group’s business. He made over $48 million in revenue in 2021. He expects that to grow to $58 million or more in 2022.

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