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Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers TSMC posted its results for the quarter and confirmed its long-awaited plans to build a fab in Japan. It’s not a leading-edge fab, but rather a plant for 28nm/22nm processes. “The company confirmed plans to build a new fab in Japan for 22nm + 28nm,” said Aaron Rakers, an analyst at Wells Fargo, in a research note. “An average 22/28nm fab costs ~$4-5B range per 45k wspm. Fab ... » read more

PCB And IC Technologies Meet In The Middle


Surface-mount technology (SMT) is evolving far beyond its roots as a way of assembling packaged chips onto printed circuit boards without through-holes. It is now moving inside packages that will themselves be mounted on PCBs. But SMT for advanced packages isn’t the same as the SMT we’ve been used to. “Many systems include multiple ASICs, a lot of memory, and that's all integrated i... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Market research For some time, the semiconductor industry has experienced acute shortages. The automotive industry has suffered the most. When will this all end? “Shortages have become more acute for many products in the near term because the growth in demand is greater than the increase in wafer and packaging capacity that was anticipated by the foundry and semiconductor vendors. To date... » read more

Making Test Transparent With Better Data


Data is critical for a variety of processes inside the fab. The challenge is getting enough consistent data from different equipment and then plugging it back into the design, manufacturing, and test flows to quickly improve the process and uncover hard-to-find defective die. Progress is being made. The inspection and test industry is on the cusp of having more dynamic ways to access the dat... » read more

5G Chips Add Test Challenges


The advent of chips supporting millimeter-wave (mmWave) 5G signals is creating a new set of design and testing challenges. Effects that could be ignored at lower frequencies are now important. Performing high-volume test of RF chips will require much more from automated test equipment (ATE) than is required for chips operating below 6 GHz. “MmWave design is a pretty old thing,” said Y... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers and OEMs Intel wants $9.7 billion in subsidies for use in building a leading-edge fab in Europe, according to a report from Reuters. As reported, in March, Intel re-entered the foundry business, positioning itself against Samsung and TSMC at the leading edge, and against a multitude of foundries working at older nodes. Eighteen members of the European Union recently launched an ... » read more

Preventing Chips From Burning Up During Test


It’s become increasingly difficult to manage the heat generated during IC test. Absent the proper mitigations, it’s easy to generate so much heat that probe cards and chips literally can burn up. As a result, implementing temperature-management techniques is becoming a critical part of IC testing. “We talk about systems, saying the system is good,” said Arun Krishnamoorthy, senior... » read more

Why Data Format Slows Chip Manufacturing Progress


The Standard Test Data Format (STDF), a workhorse data format used to pull test results data from automated test equipment, is running out of steam after 35 years. It is unable to keep up with the explosive increase in data generated by more sensors in various semiconductor manufacturing processes. First developed in 1985 by Teradyne, STDF is a binary format that is translated into ASCII or ... » read more

Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test


Chipmakers and OEMs Apple has launched a new Apple Watch and iPad. Missing from the announcement was the iPhone 12, which may appear next month, according to Krish Sankar, an analyst at Cowen. What was interesting about this week’s announcement? Apple unveiled the iPad Air with the A14 Bionic, Apple’s most advanced chip. “Apple revealed the new 8th gen iPad (starting at $329) powered by ... » read more

New Data Format Boosts Test Analytics


Demand for more and better data for test is driving a major standards effort, paving the way for one of most significant changes in data formats in years. There is good reason for this shift. Data from device testing is becoming a critical element in test program decisions regarding limits and flows. This is true for everything from automotive and medical components to complex, heterogeneous... » read more

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