First Sensor AG as we know it today was established as Silicon Sensor GmbH in 1991. Shortly after the reunification of Germany, Dr. Bernd Kriegel took the risk of setting up his own business with 21 former employees of VEB Werk für Fernsehelektronik in the tradition-steeped industrial quarter of Berlin-Oberschöneweide. Their vision was to supply the reunified technology market of Germany with innovative sensors. At the time, nobody would have guessed that more than 25 years later the start-up would become a global company generating millions in sales with expertise along the entire value chain from sensor chips and sensors to complex sensor systems.
Even if they had the will and technical expertise and grasped the significance of sensors in the near future, suitable machinery, clean rooms, financial resources and customers were still lacking at the beginning. However, the combination of ambition, expertise and vision quickly helped Silicon Sensor GmbH achieve success. The company acquired its first customers and the development of sales began together with partners from Munich. In 1992, sales activities already expanded to the United Kingdom and the USA. Production also made progress. The first production line for four-inch wafers was commissioned in 1995. In 1996, it produced a batch of 300 wafers per month. In the following years, the company continued to grow both with regard to the number of customers and the number of employees.
To ensure its competitiveness on a highly frequented market, Silicon Sensor International AG went public in 1999. With the capital it had collected, the foundations were laid for sustained growth and the company’s transition from a start-up to a medium-sized enterprise began. At the time, sales amounted to €2.97 million per year (DM 5.8 million).
From 2000 to 2010, the company grew along the value chain thanks to the targeted acquisition of national and international companies in the field of sensor technology. This could also be seen in the ongoing rise in sales from €5.7 million in 2000 to €45.2 million in 2010. Expertise that was lacking in the areas of structural design and connection technology, packaging and MEMS technology was developed within this period.
After 20 years of rapid development and expansion of services, the company’s success was celebrated with a new company name in 2011. Since then, the company has been known as First Sensor AG. In the same year, First Sensor AG acquired the Sensortechnics Group with subsidiaries in Germany and abroad. These acquisitions not only increased sales, but also allowed First Sensor AG to develop from a manufacturer of customer-specific silicon-based optical sensor components into an integrated, international industrial company. From that moment on, customers were provided with customized sensor solutions, from sensor components and modules to sensor systems. With the acquisition of Sensortechnics, First Sensor AG’s sales rose from €65.1 million to €111.9 million.
In 2015, First Sensor AG merged its subsidiaries under a joint umbrella brand. In addition to a uniform brand identity, this encompassed a joint website and a new name for the subsidiaries that did not have "First Sensor" in their names yet.
Today First Sensor AG is one of the leading providers of sensor technology worldwide with over 1,000 employees. This success is the result of the company’s innovative strength, aspiration to provide excellence and proximity to customers, employees and partners. By focusing on technology-driven target markets – namely, the Industrial, Medical and Mobility markets – First Sensor can ensure sustained growth and is involved in trends that reshape the future of the economy and society, such as Industry 4.0, the miniaturization of medical technology and autonomous driving. We are continuing our success story as part of TE Connectivity.
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