Test Floor Automation – is it finally due, after years of talking?

While semiconductor front end automation took place years ago, the backend test floor material handling is still barely automated. After decades of just talking about backend automation, there are now signs on the horizon that customers are getting serious about their backend test floor automation. This blog will analyze what mechanisms are driving this trend to automation and what conditions changed to generate first momentum.
May 23, 2017/by Andy Nagy

Flat Probe Technology for RF Test

Today the semiconductor test market is very competitive. This is especially true in the consumable contactor market.
Low operating costs and low average selling prices create low barriers to entry. Micro-organizations plants themselves next to their sole customer and provides fast turn times at competitive prices and onsite support. Although this is acceptable for some it is a risky business model. Furthermore the depth of knowledge of the product and therefore the value add from these micro-organizations is limited.
May 9, 2017/by Barbara Loferer

MEMS sensor testing challenges and requirements

Andreas Bursian, Director InStrip & InMEMS Products, authored an article for Chip Scale Review Magazine, in which he elaborates on the question of what the test requirements for MEMS sensor devices will be in the future. Before he goes into detail, he describes in general what our world will look like in the future shaped by IoT and Industry 4.0
April 25, 2017/by Barbara Loferer

What, when, where – the move to 5G

We recently attended the MWC in Barcelona. It is clear 5G is going to happen; it is just not clear on when it will arrive, and what it will actually consist of when it does. In terms of when, some industry players stated 5G will be earlier than 2020, while others stated later than 2020. Those that ‘want’ it earlier, justified it as ‘the technology that is being used is well understood’; i.e Defense/Mil/Aero have used these technologies, in most cases having either invented or made the technology(ies) viable to manufacture and deploy – albeit in smaller quantities and much higher price points and footprint than what the consumer market for Wireless can support.
April 11, 2017/by Tom Vana

2.5D Adds Test Challenges: Advanced packaging issues in testing interposers, TSVs

OSATs and ATE vendors are making progress in determining what works and what doesn’t in 2.5D packaging, expanding their knowledge base as this evolves into a mainstream technology. Most experts believe that full 3D packaging is at least five years away from mainstream deployment. 2.5D, in contrast, already has made inroads in markets where price sensitivity is low and demand for throughput to memory is extremely high, such as networking, server and graphics applications. Andy Nagy, Senior Director Marketing HG & TCI Operations at Xcerra, recently highlighted the challenges in test handling in an interview with Semiconductor Engineering. The article compiles thoughts of the key players in this market.
March 21, 2017/by Barbara Loferer

Sensor Technologies Will Be Increasingly Important in the Future

According to Alexander Everke, Chief Executive at AMS, sensors are already all around us. With new applications constantly being developed, they’re only going to become more pervasive. Semiconductor giant AMS has set some aggressive growth plans for the coming years. Achieving them will rely on a workforce with a will to win and out-of-the-box thinking.
March 9, 2017/by Barbara Loferer

Choosing the Right Spring Probe for ICT and FCT Testing

How do I select BaseMaterial / Plating, Spring Force, and Tip Selection? In the world of spring probes, choices abound when it comes to selecting materials and platings for plungers, barrels and springs. Choosing the right options can greatly impact yield, probe life and cleaning frequency. This post elaborates on details to be taken into consideration for making the most appropriate product selection.
January 24, 2017/by Tony DeRosa

5G: Plunging into open-ended test requirements

Mobile broadband technology is beginning to crawl from commonly known 4th Generation Wireless (4G) transmission standards to fifth generation wireless IMT2020 standardization, also known as 5G. This 5G network technology will influence semiconductor test in two directions, an evolutionary track and a revolutionary paradigm shift.
September 21, 2016/by John Shelley

Is a final test solution for WLCSP devices needed?

Andy Nagy, Senior Director of Marketing for the Handler Group at Xcerra has recently published on article about final test of WLCSPs in Chip Scale Review. He describes the short-comings of the established test process for WLCSPs particularly with the wider adoption of these package types to critical applications.
June 22, 2016/by Barbara Loferer

Embedded Components in “Bare” Boards

In the past, the electrical test of bare printed circuit boards (PCB) and the test of populated boards were separate subjects and performed by very different types of test systems. With mobile products and wearables becoming more sophisticated and the internet of things, boards have become smaller and, as a result, board space is more limited than ever. This forces designers to embed some of the circuitry inside the PCB itself to maximize PCB surface area while creating as small a package as possible. As a consequence, bare board testers now have to include features previously only found in in-circuit testers.
May 3, 2016/by Sebastian Gehring

Exploring Semiconductor Test Equipment Business Cycles

This article is intended to explore what drives semiconductor test equipment sales cycles. Are the cycles of the past gone forever? Are we in a period where seasonality rules the day? Are there any opportunities for sustained growth? What should companies be doing in this “new normal”?
If you are going to try and figure out where we might be in a cycle the first thing you have to evaluate are the levels of influence of the different variables. The overriding factor influencing the semi cycles has been the transition from an industry that in the 1980s and 1990s was driven by corporate investments in computers and telecommunications to a shift in the early 2000s of an industry driven primarily by the consumer. This shift has increased the consumption of semiconductors to astronomical unit volumes while at the same time creating a constant pressure on manufacturers for smaller, higher performance, less expensive products.
April 19, 2016/by Rich Yerganian

Forecast based on GDP growth?

Today, everybody in the semiconductor industry is aware of the substantial influence of the consumer. Behavior of end consumers in turn heavily influences the performance of the overall economy, which statistically is measured in the GDP. Recently IC Insights published a bulletin, which describes their findings examining the worldwide GDP growth and its impact on the 2016 IC market growth.
March 22, 2016/by Barbara Loferer
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