The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Fab equipment and test VLSI Research has released its top 10 semiconductor equipment supplier ranking in terms of sales in 2016. Applied Materials topped the list again, achieving a growth of 18%. ASML was second, followed by Lam Research, TEL and KLA-Tencor. Fig. 1: Ranking based on 2016 sales. Source: VLSI Research. Unic Capital Management, a Chinese-based private equity fund, announ... » read more

Looking Back at Board Test


Printed circuit board testing has been around as long as printed circuit boards, also known as printed circuit assemblies and printed wiring boards. PCB technology started in the early 20th century with Thomas Edison and other inventors. As boards shrink to fit inside wearable gadgets and other products with compact form factors, PCB test equipment vendors are addressing new challenges. Boar... » read more

A Brief History of Test


The history of semiconductor test systems is the subject of this blog post. We’ll turn to printed circuit board testing at another time. Boston-based Teradyne sold its D133 diode tester to Raytheon in 1961. Five years later, it introduced the J259 integrated circuit tester, which had a minicomputer to run the test programs. For many, this marks the beginning of automatic (or automated) tes... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Fab tools Applied Materials has officially rolled out the Producer Selectra system, a selective etch tool. The system falls under the loosely defined category called atomic layer etch (ALE). Applied’s technology addresses a number of challenges. Today’s advanced chips have complex structures. They may also have deep and narrow trenches. One of the challenges is the inability of wet ... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Cypress Semiconductor has made a bid to buy U.S. memory maker Integrated Silicon Solution Inc. (ISSI). In fact, Cypress may have started a bidding war against a Chinese consortium to buy ISSI. In March, a Chinese consortium of investors led by Summitview Capital entered into a definitive merger agreement to acquire ISSI. The proposed transaction values ISSI’s equity at approximately $639.5 mi... » read more

ATE: The Road Ahead


Watching the ATE market is like having a front-row seat to watch the semiconductor industry's ups and downs, with none of the hype to confuse you. So 2014 was a very good market for SoC test, and it likewise a good year for SoCs. As we head into the latter half of this year and into 2016, however, a projected downturn in the mobile arena will likely put a crimp in those earnings. The prob... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


The profile of a "tech geek" is typically a male. The label itself has transitioned from a negative to a positive connotation, according to new data from Crucial.com. In fact, almost half of women (45%) identified tech entrepreneurs as the most desirable potential spouse, compared to only 5% of women who would prefer a football player for a spouse. More than one in three women want a significan... » read more

Fab Tool R&D And Ramen Noodles


The semiconductor equipment and materials industry has always been a tough business. Over the years, vendors have been under pressure to develop new technologies for a shrinking but demanding customer base. And as a result, many vendors could not keep up, or elected to exit the business, causing a massive shakeout in the industry. It isn’t getting any easier, though. Today, tool and... » read more

How To Test IoT Devices


At a recent event, test experts said the IC industry needs a new paradigm in testing chips for the [getkc id="76" comment="Internet of Things"] (IoT). The message was fairly simple to interpret. Existing automatic test equipment (ATE) is well suited to test today’s digital, analog, and mixed-signal chips, though it may be ill-equipped or too expensive to test IoT-based devices. But wha... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


China’s Jiangsu Changjiang Electronics Technology (JCET) has made a bid to acquire STATS ChipPAC for $780 million, according to reports. This year’s top-20 chip ranking includes two pure-play foundries--TSMC and UMC--and six fabless companies, according to IC Insights. GlobalFoundries is forecast to be replaced in this year’s top 20 ranking by fabless IC supplier Nvidia, according to t... » read more

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