Partnership on automated test cell for IC testing

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By Ally Winning

The system was designed to improve the overall equipment efficiency and quality in semiconductor test and packaging. A pilot system has been deployed at ST’s back-end fab in Muar, Malaysia.

The advanced test cell is made up from Advantest’s T2000 SoC test system and M4841 tri-temp automotive handler. The cell is equipped with a fleet of Autonomous Robotic Vehicles (ARVs) which move the trays of test devices between the material repository and handler. The cell is controlled by an ST Test Cell Controller (STCC). The test cell features a wide range of predictive-maintenance and operational features to minimize downtime and guarantee full lot traceability and smart re-testing.

The STCC software is designed to monitor and control both the tester and handler while interfacing with ST’s Manufacturing Execution System (MES). The MES system is real-time Industry 4.0 tracking system that manages work-in-process and equipment activity. The test-cell hardware and software combination allows fully automated test operations that use machine learning and smart monitoring to increase yields and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), and cut cost-of-ownership (COO) at the same time.

The M4841 handler has an extensive set of features, including auto speed optimization, auto socket cleaning, a belt-tension monitoring, ESD protection, and multiple laser sensors to detect errors and make autonomous corrections.

“We have numerous ongoing projects addressing automation, analytics, and robotization across our global back-end operations, all designed to make our manufacturing processes more efficient and to meet the increasingly complex needs of our customers,” said Fabio Gualandris, Executive Vice President, Head of STMicroelectronics’ Back-End Manufacturing & Technology organization. “The close collaboration with Advantest is a good example of what can be achieved to support a network of fabs that tests billions of chips a year.”

“Helping our customers achieve a fully ‘lights off’ automated semiconductor test production floor is one of our strategic goals,” said Yoshiaki Yoshida, Advantest President and CEO. “We are proud to partner with ST on this venture, which enables them to achieve their operational goals of employing ARVs and overhead transport to strategically improve their test-floor efficiencies,” he continued. “Advantest’s test cell is designed for this purpose, with our M4841 handler delivering an abundance of unique intelligent features that give customers a significant advantage in an evolving semiconductor supply chain.”

More information

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