2017: A Good Year for ATE


The rising revenue enjoyed by automatic test equipment vendors in 2017 translated into soaring stock prices for some publicly held companies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 25% for 2017. Advantest’s shares traded on the Tokyo Stock Exchange had a 2017 low of 1,787 yen (about $15.85 at the year-end currency exchange rate) and a 52-week high of 2,698 yen ($23.92), up 51% from the... » read more

Changes Ahead For Test


Testing microprocessors is becoming more difficult and more time consuming as these devices are designed to take on more complex tasks, such as accelerating artificial intelligence computing, enabling automated driving, and supporting deep neural networks. This is not just limited to microprocessors, either. Graphics processing units are grabbing market share in supercomputing and other area... » read more

That Was The Year That Was In Test


Looking back on the year about to end, one deal stands out, because it is in legal limbo – the proposed $580 million acquisition of Xcerra by Hubei Xinyan Equity Investment Partnership. At this writing, the transaction has not been completed. Both parties said they planned to sew up the purchase by the end of 2017, so a few weeks remain to make that happen. The deal is in the hands of t... » read more

2017 ITC Wrap-up


Advantest was among the exhibitors and corporate sponsors at last week’s 2017 International Test Conference in Fort Worth, Texas. The automatic test equipment company also presented papers, took part in sessions, and provided posters during ITC’s technical program. In the booth, Advantest demonstrated its on-demand CloudTesting Service. It also showed off its EVA100 analog/mixed-signal IC t... » read more

Memory Test Challenges, Opportunities


The semiconductor capital equipment market is on fire, and the memory chip test equipment sector is no different. But it is getting much more difficult on the memory side. Memory test vendors are contending with next-generation devices, such as 3D NAND flash memories, HBM2 chips, low-power double-data-rate DRAMs, graphics DRAMs, phase-change memories, magnetoresistive RAMs, and resistive RAM... » read more

The 2017 International Test Conference


Machine learning is a hot topic at many technical conferences this year. It will be true at the upcoming International Test Conference, which opens near the end of this month in Fort Worth, Texas. On Sunday, October 29, there are two tutorials devoted to machine learning. Monday, October 30, will have one tutorial related to the topic. The conference gets fully under way on Halloween, wit... » read more

Is It Safe To Assume That All “Passed” Die Are Actually “Good” Die?


In a world where Quality and Brand Protection is King, as certainly is the case for the automotive and medical device industries where strict minimal DPPM (defective parts per million) requirements are a common constraint, new methods for “escape” prevention and outlier detection are constantly being evaluated and implemented by semiconductor vendors to prevent any defective or marginal par... » read more

Whither Xcerra?


Trade tensions between the People’s Republic of China and the Trump Administration could sink a big transaction in the automatic test equipment business. Xcerra, a supplier of semiconductor test systems, board testers, and electronic interconnects, announced in April that it had accepted an offer from Unic Capital Management, an affiliate of Sino IC Capital, to acquire the company for $10.... » read more

A Tale of Two Testers


David Tacelli, president and CEO of Xcerra, was excited. His company’s reception for customers (and the press) at the Trou Normand restaurant in San Francisco’s hip South of Market neighborhood was going very well. Gourmet salames and other tasty foods were on offer, along with fine wines and craft ales and beers. He gleefully pointed out to editors that the product to be introduced at t... » read more

Testing IoT Devices


Internet of Things devices present new challenges in testing. Some devices can be tested the same way as standard semiconductors are now tested, but others call for different approaches. Microcontrollers and other chips that go into safety-critical applications — medical devices, military/aerospace systems, and automotive electronics — need their own kind of testing to make sure they wil... » read more

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