Coxem: A global leader of all-in-one SEM-EDS system

[INQ. NO. 1504E18] As a professional company possessing nano-measuring technology, Coxem has been leading the global market of all-in-one SEM-EDS based on its specialized technology background of manufacturing of scanning electron microscope (SEM) developed in 2008 by the company. With such market leadership, countless creative moves are being made by the company. The following contents are based on an interview with the company’s CEO Lee Jun-hee and will help people who are interested to know more about the company’s remarkable achievement in the global market and to understand the secrets behind its successful growth.

Coxem is a specialized company of nano-measuring technology. It was established in 2007 as a technologyindustrialized company of a national research institution in Daedeok Valley, based on technology of Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) developed by the Korea Research Institute of Standards and Science (KRISS) over more than six years.

Coxem has succeed in releasing of the first edition of ‘CX-100’, a console type of normal SEM in June, 2008 by utilizing its own technologies, making South Korea the world’s fifth country to commercially manufacture electron microscope, following Germany, the U.S.A, the Czech Republic, and Japan.

While selling normal type SEMs, Coxem released an allin-one SEM-EDS, an integrated type of EDS (Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscope) that analyzes the material components demanded by customers. Accordingly, the company applied to acquire patents for the product and succeeded in registering the patent. However, it soon realized it had to gain technologies to develop and commercialize the so-called integrated SEM-EDS products in overseas markets.

Coxtem could thus take an opportunity to initiate an international joint R&D project with the U.S.-based Princeton Gamma Technology (PGT) in 2012, boosted by support from the Korean government.

However, PGT was, one year after the start of cooperation with Coxem, merged and acquired by the global No. 1 research equipment and analytical equipment company, Thermo, in 2012. After the M&A, Coxem had to conclude a contract for the project again with Thermo and consequently successfully carried out the project. During the project, for the development of the integrated scan system of SEM and EDS, Thermo was responsible for the development of the small-sized EDS for the integration, while Coxem took charge of the development of the integrated operating software by installing the product in the SEM. After completion of two years of product development, Coxem commercially released and started selling the EM-30AX model, the world’s first product with the integration system of EDS and SEM.




Microscopio electrónico de barrido Benchtop

 Coxem has enjoyed significant sales growth by satisfying customers’ requirements, with the commercialized all-in-one SEM-EDS product by joint development resulting in nearly 20 percent price reduction. Through the cooperation, Coxem could acquire the development know-how and procedures from the advanced company, and could thus accumulate the capacity to independently develop advanced analytic equipment.

With the release of the integrated form of SEM and EDS, Coxem could exert market leadership more than ever in a favorable way for itself thanks to the increased level of the product’s maturity through the cooperation with Thermo. For example, until that time, customer companies had to buy the tabletop type SEM and the EDS separately, but, with the integrated product, customers could enjoy the benefits that each of the two previous items provided at the same time with integrated form. Actually, the sales ratio of the integrated product increased from the existing 9 percent to 45 percent and this trend is being maintained.



Coxem has gained multiple intellectual property rights by registering a local patent, applying a PCT, and applying for foreign patents (the USA, Japan, and Europe). In particular, through a patent applied for PCT – Combined Apparatus for Scanning Electron Microscope and Energy Dispersive X-ray Sepectroscopy, Coxem could enter such advanced markets as the USA, Japan, and Europe, taking an opportunity to take the lead in competition with enterprises in advanced countries.

With the successful result of the international joint R&D project, Coxem has received high recognition among industrial circles for the jointly created technology that dramatically lowers the production cost while elevating the performance and the accuracy of the microscope. In August 2014, Coxem succeeded in acquiring NET (New Excellent Technology) certification from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE), proving its advanced technology again.

Based on this advanced technology, Coxem’s sales reached 3 billion won ($2.8 mil.) in 2012, 4.4 billion won ($4 mil.) in 2013, and 4 billion won ($3.7 mil.). For the year of 2015, Coxem planned to boost sales to 8 billion won ($7.4 mil.) and plans to lift its sales to 20 billion won ($18.5 mil.) by 2017 by increasing the number of overseas partner countries to more than 20 nations. Through this, Coxem aims to become one of the global top-six companies manufacturing electron microscope.

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