Why Semiconductor Firms Consider ATE a Worthy Investment

With semiconductor engineers rushing tests to hit product deadlines, the market for automated testing is prospering. 

FREMONT, CA: In semiconductor designing, testing is not an afterthought or a separate process, but a core part of the process. But, setting aside time for testing has been a struggle for engineers. The increasing complexity of chips combined with their haste to meet deadlines makes life harder for semiconductor engineers, and this further opens the scope for automated testing facilities. Evolving complexities are forcing engineers to use Automated Test Equipment (ATE) to rapidly identify flaws in semiconductors, especially those used in smartphones, communication devices, and consumer electronics.

Market research says that the global ATE market is expected to reach 4.40 billion dollars this year up from 3.54 billion in 2011. ATE is extensively used in semiconductor manufacturing, where IC on a silicon chip must be tested before it is prepared for packaging. This cuts down the time it takes to test more complex chips. Automatic testing also helps to identify flaws in SoCs, which often contain analog, mixed-signal, and wireless components on the same silicon chip.

Automated testing is not only leveraged to weed out defects but also to tweak components for lower power consumption and higher accuracy. This is an economical way for semiconductor manufacturers to get increased yields. However, many semiconductor engineers are still using traditional test equipment like wireless test equipment. But the trend suggests that the needle is moving fast towards automated test equipment. Some major wireless test equipment makers are starting to include automated features into their products.

With the rising need for efficiency and increasing complexity, the cost of testing is scaling. By remediating these needs, the ATE market is anticipated to multiply with the growing demand from numerous end-user segments like consumer electronics, healthcare, automotive, communication, and defense. As the semiconductor offers a lot of opportunities, there will be greater demand for the test equipment in the years ahead.

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