Acquired by AEM in 2018, Afore is an industry pioneer in delivering MicroElectro-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS) and special wafer probing needs, providing innovative test solutions including test handlers with multistimulus and package options, and tri-temperature testing.
We made aggressive growth plans in 2020 to continue serving existing customers and winning new accounts, and further penetrating the Chinese market. Despite the global health crisis, we met with great success as we delivered to markets outside Finland where we are based – Germany, China, Japan and the United States.
The team’s success was possible because we were resilient and agile in addressing the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We were determined to find ways to keep the supply chain disruption minimal, fulfill our customers’ orders and ensure our customers’ success.
One major challenge was on-site installation due to travel restrictions. Together with our Field Service Engineers, we developed an online installation programme and provided remote assistance for our customers to install our equipment successfully. Our customers were appreciative of our efforts in ensuring that they could continue driving their innovation.
We won new accounts in China where we introduced our newest product, AIOLOS MPP, a multipurpose wafer prober for special testing needs, for magnetic sensor testing. This capability opened a new market opportunity for us in Magnetic Sensor Testing. The AIOLOS MPP was shipped in August to an OSAT in Shanghai and since then, several Chinese sensors manufacturers have visited on-site to validate the system for their products. We expect this to be a market opener in the Chinese market, and we anticipate more orders in 2021.
Our Cryogenic Wafer Prober, a partnership with another Finnish company – Bluefors – continues to win new customers. The first system is successfully operating at a customer’s site and has accelerated quantum project development significantly. In 2021, we expect installations for customers from Europe, the US and Asia.
Another milestone in 2020 was Afore’s 25th Anniversary. Founded in 1995, Afore has grown from a humble two-person team to an established company delivering semiconductor test solutions.
We begin 2021 still under exceptional circumstances, but it looks promising for AEM Afore. 2020 tested and strengthened our operational excellence. Together with our global teams, we will continue to penetrate the US and China markets and continuously innovate to enhance our existing technologies and new product development as we focus on product leadership.
By Ari Kuukkala
General Manager, AEM Afore