Microchip Technology, a Chandler-based semiconductor company, said Thursday it has shipped its 3 billionth microcontroller less than two years after reaching the 2 billion mark.
The company produced its 1 billionth microcontroller in the fall of 1999 after 10 years of operation. The 2 billionth was delivered less than 30 months later in the spring of 2002, and the 3 billion milestone was reached in 21 months, the company said.
CEO Steve Sanghi called the latest milestone "a remarkable achievement" because it came during the worst recession in the history of the semiconductor industry.
The sales advance also is an indication that Microchip’s products are continuing to gain acceptance by electronics customers, said Steve Drehobl, vice president of the security, microcontroller and technology development division
"We are seeing more people finding ways to utilize them than ever before," he said.
A microcontroller functions as a miniature computer, processing an information input and directing the device that contains it to perform in a certain way. A simple and common example is keyless car entry systems in which the driver pushes a button, and the microcontroller sends out a radio frequency signal to lock or unlock the car.
The 3 billionth chip was shipped to a plant in Taiwan operated by Rhode Islandbased American Power Conversion to be installed in an uninterruptable power supply unit. The units are used as battery backup systems for personal computers and other products that need to continue running if the regular power supply is interrupted.
In addition to its headquarters operations in Chandler, the company operates a chip manufacturing plant in Tempe.