A History of Innovation
From its early days pioneering DC electrical measurement techniques for post-World War II lab researchers to today's solutions for advanced semiconductors, wireless, and nanotechnology applications, Keithley Instruments has built a worldwide reputation among engineers and scientists for advanced electrical measurement performance.
The company, founded in 1946 by Joseph F. Keithley in a Cleveland, Ohio, workshop, has consistently led the industry in developing test and measurement solutions for emerging measurement needs. Its products in the early days were designed for government and university physicists and scientists, who came to depend on the company's unique expertise in ultra-low-level voltage and current measurement. In fact, throughout the company's history, Nobel Prize winners relied on their Keithley test instruments as important tools in their research.
During the ensuing decades, as the world's demand for semiconductors, cell phones, portable wireless devices, and consumer electronics grew, the company's measurement portfolio expanded beyond sensitive DC instruments to include pulse measurement techniques and AC test equipment. Its products today are found in use far beyond the research lab, though that remains a core strength of the company. Keithley's measurement tools are as vital on the designer's bench as on the production floor for high-volume automated test applications. The ability of Keithley's solutions to make even the most demanding, low-level measurements with precision enables Keithley customers to improve their products and processes, and to accelerate their R&D and time-to-market cycles.
The company recognized the globalization of the electronics industry earlier than most, signing on its first overseas distributor in Japan in 1956 and expanding aggressively into Europe with its first overseas office in 1963. Keithley's history of global investments meant that by 2003, 60 percent of company sales originated outside the United States. Keithley Instruments products today are sold in more than 80 countries, along the way earning industry accolades for its new technologies with numerous R&D 100 Awards, along with product honors from Semiconductor International, Solid State Technology, Electronic Products, Test & Measurement World, and Electronics Manufacturing Asia, among others. Many of these achievements are fueled by the company's historic emphasis on continuous re-investment; Keithley routinely spends more than 10 percent of its global revenues on R&D.
The company has long maintained a core value of close customer collaboration that has not only deepened the applications insight and understanding it provides but has led to numerous breakthroughs in measurement technology. Its ability to develop and share this deep applications knowledge and expertise enables Keithley Instruments to continue to develop test technology that provides a measured difference.