Switch maker HT MicroAnalytical Inc. is entering a sharp growth curve thanks to the Rosenberger group of Germany, which acquired a 51 percent stake in the Albuquerque startup.
HT Micro, which launched in 2003 with technology from Sandia National Laboratories, makes miniaturized metal relays and switches on wafers that can turn things on and off in electronic devices. Rosenberger, which until now was an HT Micro customer, is a global company that makes electrical connectors for telecommunications, automotive electronics and other high-tech industries.
Terms are confidential, but HT Micro President and CTO Todd Christenson said the Rosenberger investment will finance a new 18,000-square-foot facility for high-volume manufacturing.
“We’re now producing about 10,000 components a month at our present (12,000-square-foot) facility,” Christenson said. “The new facility will have 100 times that capacity.”
The company is renovating an existing building at 4301 Masthead NE. off Jefferson NE, which previously housed Assaigai Analytical Laboratories Inc. Work will conclude in July.
“We’re installing new equipment … where before we were processing one wafer at a time, we’ll now process 100 wafers at a time,” Christenson said.
HT Micro began seeking funds for high-volume manufacturing in 2011, after it hit production capacity and revenue peaked at $1.5 million. The Journal included HT Micro in its 2010 Flying 40 list of fast-growing companies with under $10 million in revenue.
The company previously received about $1.25 million from angel investors. It sought a $3 million venture investment last year at the Technology Ventures Corp. Deal Stream Summit.
Demand is growing for HT Micro switches, which are more than five times smaller than conventional devices, because modern technology, such as cellphones, need micro-electromechanical systems with ever-higher frequency. HT Micro’s metal switches provide more conductivity and reliability than silicon-based switches.
And, by making them on chips, HT Micro can produce a lot more at lower cost than in typical processes.
Bernhard Rosenberger, one of three brothers in the Rosenberger family business, said the merger with HT Micro will help his company offer more powerful electrical connectors to customers.
“It will help us really push the wall of technology in the electromechanical connection field,” he said.
— This article appeared on page B01 of the Albuquerque Journal