Week In Review: Manufacturing, Test

ATE meets analytics; EUV resist deal; new fab; EU semi funding; rare earths.


Packaging and test
Advantest and PDF Solutions have launched their first jointly developed offering since forming a partnership in 2020. The new product is called the Advantest Cloud Solutions Dynamic Parametric Test (ACS DPT) solution. It integrates PDF Solutions’ Exensio portfolio of data analytics with Advantest’s V93000 Parametric Test System.

The ACS DPT solution is designed to optimize parametric testing on the V93000 test platform with real-time performance and minimal human interaction. Test flows within ACS DPT are designed to be adjusted dynamically to improve test coverage, enhance the characterization of aberrant measurements, and more efficiently collect additional data to support root-cause identification and downstream analytics.

Licenses are now available for customers. “By integrating PDF Solutions’ Exensio advanced data analytics with our proven V93000 Parametric Test System, we are elevating our customers’ problem-solving capabilities,” said Keith Schaub, vice president of technology and strategy at Advantest. “We believe ACS DPT will help customers achieve improved product quality, manufacturing yield and cost efficiencies.”

“One of our goals in partnering with Advantest was to broaden the accessibility of advanced analytics and enable highly beneficial systems and solutions through tighter integration with test,” said Kimon Michaels, executive vice president of products and solutions at PDF Solutions. “The analytics power provided by Exensio is designed to enable ACS DPT to significantly shorten a customer’s time-to-data and accelerate root cause analysis during test operations, resulting in substantial savings of both time and money for users.”


ASE has been named as a recipient of the Cisco 2021 Excellence in Technology Enablement Award. Cisco unveiled the award winners at its annual Supplier Appreciation Event (SAE). This award recognizes ASE for delivering its technology and providing a value proposition for Cisco.

Fab tools
JSR has signed an agreement to acquire Inpria, a developer of resists for extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography, for $514 million. In 2017 and 2020, JSR participated in Inpria’s funding rounds which resulted in JSR owning 21% of the company’s shares. Through this deal, JSR will acquire the remaining shares and Inpria will become a subsidiary of JSR. The execution of the acquisition is subject to several conditions, including the receipt of regulatory clearance, and is expected to be completed by the end of October 2021.

Gigaphoton, a manufacturer of light sources used in semiconductor lithography, has announced that it will double its production capacity of excimer laser light sources by 2023. To meet increasing demand, Gigaphoton is constructing a new facility, which will open in 2022.

Bruker has launched the Q4 POLO, a compact Spark Optical Emission Spectrometer (OES) with analytical performance for a multitude of applications across the metals industry.

Edwards, a supplier of vacuum and abatement equipment to the semiconductor manufacturing industry, has opened a chemical laboratory at its Innovation Center in Hillsboro, Ore. The lab will solve critical problems in materials and manufacturing processes.

Lam Research recently achieved a product milestone with the shipment of its 10,000th single wafer clean chamber. This marks a journey from the SP100 single chamber product first shipped in 1991 to the state-of-the-art EOS 16-chamber tools shipped today.

Brewer Science is hosting a virtual Manufacturing Day featuring local Missouri manufacturers through videos and a live Q&A discussion. This free event is open to students, job seekers, and anyone interested in learning more about manufacturing.

Onto Innovation has announced that Karen Rogge has joined its board of directors. Rogge is the founder and president of the RYN Group LLC, a management consulting business. She has held various executive positions at several companies. Recently, she joined the board of directors at Rambus.

Revasum has announced the appointment of Rebecca Shooter-Dodd to the roles of president and chief executive as well as executive director. Shooter-Dodd is currently the company’s chief financial and operating officer. Karey Holland has been named CTO of the company, which develops silicon and silicon carbide wafer processing equipment.

Infineon Technologies officially opened its new 300mm fab, which will make power semiconductors. At 1.6 billion euros, the investment made by the semiconductor group represents one of the largest such projects in the microelectronics sector in Europe.

At its technology event, GlobalFoundries has rolled out its technology roadmap in chip design for smart mobile devices, data center, IoT and automotive. In addition, GlobalFoundries and Qualcomm are extending their collaboration on 5G multi-Gigabit speed RF front-end products.

AI semiconductor startup Axelera AI has closed a seed investment round of $12 million. The round was led by Bitfury and Imec. The funding will support the company’s development of its AI technology.

Government policy
The European Commission continues to work on a plan to make the European Union (EU) more competitive in semiconductors. The EU is working on a new European Chips Act. “The aim is to jointly create a state-of-the-art European chip ecosystem, including production. That ensures our security of supply and will develop new markets for ground-breaking European tech,” said Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, who was quoted in a report from Reuters.

Taiwan has launched an initiative to develop IC design startups on the island. The Industrial Development Bureau (IDB) under the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) is supporting the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) and Arm in providing resources to make IC design accessible to startups in the region through a new initiative called the IC Design Platform for Startups.

The AI on Chip Taiwan Alliance (AITA) and the UCLA Center for Heterogeneous Integration and Performance Scaling (CHIPS) have formed an alliance. This is expected to add depth to cooperation between Taiwan and the U.S. in supply chains and launch new business opportunities for AI chips.

Market research
Global semiconductor equipment investments for front end fabs in 2022 are expected to reach nearly $100 billion, according to SEMI. “The new fab equipment spending records will mark a rare three consecutive years of growth that began in 2020, bucking the historical cyclical trend of a one- or two-year expansion followed by a year or two of tepid growth or declines,” according to SEMI. “The semiconductor industry last saw more than two consecutive years of growth in the mid-1990s.”

Roskill recently hosted a webinar on rare earths. “The webinar highlighted the growing demand for rare earth permanent magnets in key high growth applications, including electric vehicles and wind turbines, in which demand is forecast to increase by roughly 14%py and 5%py respectively,” said David Merriman, an analyst at the research firm. “The growing importance of the magnet industry in the demand story for rare earths is expected to see a tight supply environment be maintained by key REE elements, principally neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr), but also dysprosium, which continues to be a vital component of high performance NdFeB magnets.”

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