The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers Apple has announced the latest award from its $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Fund. Finisar, a manufacturer of optical communications components, will receive $390 million in funds from Apple. The award will enable Finisar to increase its R&D spending and high-volume production of vertical-cavity surface-emitting lasers (VCSELs). A VCSEL is a type of semiconductor laser diode. 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

At The Intersection Of Electronics And Automobiles


While we’re idling at this traffic light, let’s “blue sky” a bit. Over the course of a year, the average American driver spends the equivalent of more than seven 40-hour work weeks just sitting in a car. Crazy, right?  But who measures work weeks as only 40 hours anymore? Those 280+ hours spent driving means there’s a lot of non-productive overhead time, to borrow a term from semi... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Fab tools and test Four former employees at Applied Materials were charged by the U.S. for allegedly trying to steal the company’s own fab tool technology designs, according to a report from Bloomberg and others. The former employees were allegedly trying to sell the technology to a Chinese startup that would compete against Applied, according to the report. The former employees--Liang C... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers The 2017 top-ten rankings of foundries remain the same as last year, according to TrendForce. TSMC, GlobalFoundries and United Microelectronics Corp. (UMC) rank first, second, and third, respectively, in terms of projected sales in 2017, according to TrendForce. TSMC has a dominant market share of 55.9%. In the rankings, Samsung is in fourth place, followed in order by SMIC, TowerJa... » 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

Let’s Be Smart About Artificial Intelligence


Technology visionaries no less than Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk have called artificial intelligence (AI) the greatest threat facing the future of mankind. But unless we all wind up running for our lives from a “Terminator” killing machine, don’t the benefits of AI far outweigh the downsides? Looking past purely mathematic calculators from the abacus to Charles Babbage’s difference ... » read more

The Week In Review: Manufacturing


Chipmakers At this week’s International Wafer-Level Packaging Conference (IWLPC), Samsung disclosed details about its efforts in the panel-level fan-out market. Samsung as well as ASE, Nepes and others are developing a next-generation fan-out technology using a panel-level format. In panel-level fan-out packaging, you can put more die on a panel as compared to a traditional round wafer, w... » 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

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