Pete Blitchington, US/Europe - Senior Sales Manager; David Low, Malaysia - Senior Sales Manager; Jody Toda, President/CEO; Michael Phua, Director of Sales - Asia Pacific Region and Yoshimitsu Nakashima Japan General Manager of Sales
If Gordon Moore were alive, he would undoubtedly have been mesmerized by the heights the semiconductor industry has achieved today. As the manufacturing world is entering industry 4.0, semiconductor devices are increasingly recognized as the backbone and vital for the technology-involved enterprise. From artificial intelligence (AI) reliant smartphones to Internet of Things (IoT) devices, 5G broadband cellular networks, or the automotive sector— semiconductors form the building blocks of the modern-day appliance, one way or the other. Today, these devices are used to power technologies that enrich the lives of consumers and make businesses run smarter, faster, and more efficiently.
That said, these high-performance semiconductors require the highest standards of quality testing. With rapid and dynamic changes to the semiconductor design and fabrication processes, semiconductor inspection systems need to follow suit and be ahead of these innovations to attest proper specifications for the devices. For instance, the consumer electronics giant, Apple, launches a new device each year. And, without robust inspection processes, these devices would fail to see the light of the day. Besides, as different industries have varied testing requirements, ensemble inspection solutions prove to be highly inefficient in rendering accurate and stable measurements. Businesses that deal with data transmission and 5G communication techniques need testing equipment that can inspect high-frequency solutions, while the automotive market focuses more on high-temperature testing. Nonetheless, as devices are getting smaller and narrower, semiconductor manufacturers are searching for probes that can provide fine pitch testing.
To address these pressing needs of the semiconductor device manufacturers, a Japanese-firm Rika Denshi Group offers inspection systems that fit the bill of modern testing environments. The company delivers a range of cutting-edge inspection equipment, including contact probes for fine-pitch, high-frequency and high-temperature testing, IC sockets, probe cards, and fixture jigs for testing LCD and touch screen panels. “Our testing equipment not only caters to clients’ existing testing requirements but also renders complete support for their future needs,” states Yasuko Jody Toda, President/CEO at Rika Denshi Group.
Established in 1961, the company has a wealth of experience in designing, manufacturing, processing, and distributing inspection systems for semiconductor manufacturers in Japan and around the globe, including the US, Asia, and Europe. Rika Denshi Group offers standardized probes and specialized probes for fine pitch testing, high-frequency testing, high-temperature testing, and high current testing.
Our testing equipment caters to clients’ existing testing requirements and renders complete support for their future needs
These probes can inspect thin silicon wafers and can deal with a pitch of up to 110 μm. “Miniaturization is the biggest industry trend, and we are the front runners in delivering probes for fine pitch testing with utmost accuracy,” informs Jody. Also, Rika Denshi’s contact probes inspect semiconductors with excellent RF characteristics that can tolerate high-speed devices with a length of up to 1.6mm.
To address the heat resistance needed for reliability tests, the company has developed Hotpin that handles 175 degrees Celsius and the Dragon probe that tolerates 200 degrees Celsius. “We have recently observed an increase in the demand for high-temperature resistance from 175 to 200 degrees Celsius or greater. Today, we have specific products to address these demands. But, for years, we have been offering a standard probe package that tolerates the higher temperatures without degrading life for up to 25 to 50,000 cycles,” says Pete Blitchington, Senior Sales Manager of the US and Europe, Rika Denshi Group.
Along with contact probes, Rika Denshi also renders IC Sockets and test fixtures in a comprehensive solution package suited to each client’s application and environment. The company offers IC sockets either individually or in combination with the probe as a total solution. “We encourage our clients to opt for a complete solution—both the probes and socket together—as it provides better design accuracy,” mentions Blitchington. Nonetheless, upon clients’ request, the company also provides probe with impeccable compatibility with their existing sockets.
Moreover, Rika Denshi Group delivers state-of-the-art inspection equipment such as SEM/EPMA and x-ray inspection devices that enable advanced reliability tests and environmental tests for precision testing. The company designs and produces needles that can handle different materials with a tip as small as fiveμR to uplift an IC chip and inspect their electrical characteristics. Rika Denshi also provides die collets, resin collets, dispenser nozzles, window clampers, and transfer pins for high-level inspections.
A Cut Above the Rest
There is no denying that the semiconductor inspection arena is a cut-throat landscape with stiff competition among industry players. However, Rika Denshi stands apart by adopting a client-centric approach. Rather than delivering one-size-fits-all solutions, the company collaborates with the clients, understands their requirements to the minutest details, and subsequently offers customized solutions, helping them obtain the most appropriate solution for their testing environment. This augurs exceptionally well for the semiconductor manufacturers as there is no room for error in the industry. “We are essentially a fully customized client requirement-based semiconductor inspection system manufacturer where we keep challenging ourselves to offer more flexibility on the customization and walk beside the clients, rather than just bringing a catalog and showing them an off-the-shelf solution,” notifies Jody.
Notably, with its six subsidies in the US, Singapore, Taiwan, Malaysia and China, Rika Denshi’s team supports its clients throughout their testing operation across the globe. The company also boasts a highly proficient team with R&D experts, engineers, and a savvy network of sales teams adept at accurately relaying customer needs. “Having products and personnel in multiple locations gives us an edge over a lot of our counterparts,” adds Blitchington.
For the last six decades, the company has amassed many satisfied clientele that have leveraged Rika Denshi’s inspection solutions for their testing environment. Blitchington shares a customer success story where a major semiconductor manufacturer in Europe was using a specific size probe from a competitor for testing their equipment at 125 degrees Celsius, achieving around 100,000 to 200,000 cycles. However, when they moved that same package size to higher temperatures using the same probe, their sockets started frequently failing after 20,000 cycles. The client approached Rika Denshi to help them test at a higher temperature for a longer lifecycle. “Using our Hotpin and Dragon probe in their 0.5 mm socket, the client achieved over 300,000 cycles at 175 degrees Celsius,” extols Blitchington.
Leading from the Front
After her father had to resign as the company’s CEO abruptly, Jody took over the reins at just the age of 27. And, at such a young age, she took the onus of transforming the work culture, introducing several transformative changes while keeping the company’s traditional values intact. “My first contribution was to transform paperwork-driven operations to digitally-evolved processes in order to enhance the efficiency of my organization,” says Jody. She also played a pivotal role in improving communication between teams in the company’s subsidiaries across countries. A student of philosophy, Jody also emphasizes people management, including hiring and human development. “My management team and I try to create more opportunities to communicate with the employees and ensure the well-being of each member,” remarks Jody. Recognizing her leadership capabilities, she was felicitated with the ‘Forbes Women Award’ in 2016.
Today, the company is grounded by two long standing ideologies:
1. Carrying both traditional craftsmanship and the spirit of a start-up/venture
2. Making employees feel happy and proud to be a part of the Rika Denshi team, in turn, cultivating a sense of joy all around.
“Without a happy organization, I do not think we can make our customers happy,” adds the CEO. With her leadership skills, Jody has led Rika Denshi to become one of the front runners in the semiconductor inspection arena. In the future, she plans to expand the portfolio of the company to other industries. Jody also aims to inculcate more advanced technology—automation, robots, AI, and other cognitive tools— into Rika Denshi’s operations to enhance the productivity of its employees. “We want to make Japan the front runner in the semiconductor industry. We will continue to innovate our design and manufacturing processes to be more efficient and double our current productivity in the coming years to achieve that goal,” concludes Jody.