ST and Advantest develop an automated test cell for IC testing

STMicroelectronics Pty Ltd

Thursday, 24 December, 2020

ST and Advantest develop an automated test cell for IC testing

Semiconductor test equipment supplier Advantest and manufacturer STMicroelectronics (ST) have jointly developed an advanced, fully automated, final-test cell system that is said to improve overall equipment efficiency and quality in semiconductor test and packaging operations. The pilot system has been deployed at ST’s back-end fab in Muar, Malaysia.

The advanced test cell comprises Advantest’s T2000 SoC test system and M4841 tri-temp automotive handler, equipped with a fleet of autonomous robotic vehicles (ARVs) programmed to move trays of devices between the material repository and handler, all under the control of an ST Test Cell Controller (STCC). The jointly developed test cell incorporates a broad range of predictive-maintenance and operational features to minimise downtime, while ensuring full lot traceability and smart retesting.

The STCC software monitors and controls the tester and handler while interfacing with ST’s Manufacturing Execution System (MES), a real-time Industry 4.0 tracking system that manages work-in-process and equipment activity across the factory floor. The combination of test-cell hardware and software is said to enable fully automated test operations that apply machine learning and smart monitoring to increase yields and overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), while cutting cost of ownership (COO). The M4841 handler meanwhile incorporates a comprehensive set of features, including auto speed optimisation, auto socket cleaning, a belt-tension monitoring, ESD protection and multiple laser sensors that detect errors and make autonomous corrections.

“We have numerous ongoing projects addressing automation, analytics and robotisation 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 organisation. “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. 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.”

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