Companies that produce test handlers are constantly working to improve their offerings. Fortunately, technology keeps improving along with these market factors, making it possible to develop innovative approaches to handling tests.
Devices are becoming smaller yet thinner, and if they have leads at all, their leads are becoming thinner as semiconductor package design improves. In today’s times, industries rely on an updated semiconductor test system that makes the testing faster and more accurate.
Higher performance tests
These days, test requirements are typically several gigahertz. The limitations of traditional handling and touching techniques are thus tested while testing at these frequencies.
High-frequency contactors can be created in a variety of methods. Maintaining close proximity between the device being tested (DUT) and the tester’s electronics is the simplest design principle to implement. Therefore, instead of using a contactor, where the device may be several inches away from the electronics, an advanced semiconductor test system should plunge-to-board or present the DUT directly to the test-head electronics.
Improved semiconductor yields
Prior to recently, ATE semiconductor testing focused more on boosting productivity—the number of excellent devices the tester system can process in a given length of time—than on increasing yields, which is the number of good devices in a batch or lot. Now, this is drastically changing.
The fabrication yields have increased during the last few years. As a result, if you invest your money in boosting production rather than returns, your return on investment (ROI) will rise.
The price of testers Is rising
Today, a test system might cost upwards of $5 million. Even though the test handler may only be 10% of this cost, the handler controls how frequently the tester is employed. Therefore, the handler is under more pressure to perform better as the cost of tests rises.
Testing professionals are becoming more expensive, but their abilities are improving. Semiconductor testing systems can do their tasks more quickly and effectively because of advancements like higher clock rates, more pins on electronic cards, and flexible designs like parallel testing.
Parallel production testing of non-memory devices is becoming more common. In the past, only memory devices underwent parallel testing. Due to the increased utilization of ATE brought on by simultaneous testing, handler productivity has increased.
Upgrades to eye technology
In the past few years, advancements in vision technology have been significant. Cameras have long been a part of industrial machinery, like machines for placing and assembling circuit boards. Modern test handlers are being created with a variety of features and advantages thanks to machine vision. These include:
Unlike modern pick-and-place handlers, which only need one type of machine to handle a variety of package types, they don’t require pricey, intricate conversion kits.
Lead inspection is now a function of the test handler thanks to built-in cameras, potentially eliminating an expensive step.
An increase in productivity
The emergence of several financially sound and well-capitalized test-handler companies is one of the most core changes in this area of the semiconductor capital equipment market. These companies will devise innovative techniques for handling testing that may not have been feasible even five years ago.
In response to the expansion of device and package types, handling businesses are optimizing the level of flexibility integrated into their machines. This flexibility goes beyond the currently fashionable strategy of designing machines that may be adjusted to support a variety of device types by using conversion kits, which are usually complex and expensive.
New moving techniques
Development of smaller and thinner devices, finer pitches, and completely new packing techniques, handler designers are being pushed to think about alternatives to gravity-fed and pick-and-place. One of the more promising technologies is one involving linear motion.
The key element of linear motion technology is the precision belt, which eliminates the need for pockets, boats, or carriers. This increases semiconductor testers’ versatility and efficiency.
Hence, these are the reasons that boost today’s high-tech manufacturing industries to make the best use of the latest semiconductor test system.