Traditional functional testing has been made less effective, almost impossible, with technology nodes
continuing to evolve. More companies are realising that the only way to ensure reliability, safety, and repeatability is to use the System Level Test (SLT). This was evident in 2021 as we continued to pave the way in providing and deploying SLT solutions worldwide.
2021 started off strongly with our product development team’s new organisational structure. We have always strived towards a flat organisational structure that allows for innovation, and an efficient decision-making process. When teams are encouraged and empowered to take ownership of their own decisions, the company can stay agile and responsive in the face of challenges.
At the moment, our Test Cell Solutions BU focuses on product development for all our handlers and automation. This includes wafer, packaged and SLT handling solutions, custom automation, and related
consumables. With our Test Cell Solutions BU’s significant progress in developing new products, AEM will be able to expand our market share and reach throughout 2022.
The Future of Test
In 2021, we revamped our high parallel test cell platform, Asynchronous Modular Parallel Systems (AMPS). The resulting solution was a clear industry disruptor offering customers unmatched cost of test advantages and superior process control. A key differentiator that sets AEM’s AMPS SLT+ solution apart is its full-stack solution that ranges from high-speed device handling, seamless integration of test content, advanced thermal control, intelligent data tracking, and factory 4.0 automation readiness. The solution is also highly configurable to be application-specific to meet each customer’s unique requirements. We’re excited by AMPS platform’s near-term potential opportunity in the Memory and Application Processor IC’s SLT. Besides that, another emerging focus area for us will be the high-power computer Burn-In testing.
In August 2021, we announced that an industry leading memory-integrated device manufacturer selected AEM’s AMPS. This selection reaffirms AEM’s industry leadership in providing the most flexible and cost-competitive test solution across the broad semiconductor market.
Additionally, we also achieved a significant milestone with the development of AEM’s new high-power SLT
platform called, Trident. Leveraging on AEM’s long pedigree in advanced thermal control, the Trident platform will be positioned to capitalise on solving daunting test challenges stemming from the new and
rapidly growing heterogeneous package industry.
Our Cryogenic Wafer Prober, initially developed for a major microprocessor supplier, is gaining traction
with customers in the Quantum Computing market. Our installations and bookings cover the US, Europe,
and Asia. Our wafer probers MPP and KRONOS are qualified by a leading Chinese sensors manufacturer and gaining a foothold on Chip Scale Packaged sensor testing. We are working to develop capabilities to
expand the usability of these systems.
AEM also partnered with RoodMicrotec NV, a leading independent company for semiconductors supply and quality services, to provide AIOLOS environmental wafer test system available to European customers. Our AIOLOS will be available for demonstrations of system capability and sample and production testing at RoodMicrotec’s facility in Nördlingen.
To expand our capabilities in Wafer Testing, AEM is continuously developing new solutions to serve
our customers with optimal solutions. In 2021, we finalised the prototype of a new platform which will be
released in 2022.
Application-Specific, Full-Stack Capabilities
Our ability to deliver application-specific solutions based on common technology blocks to meet our customers’ needs is one of our strengths. To expand AEM’s application-specific test solutions further, we delivered our fully integrated CMOS Image Sensor Test Cell to UTAC in 2021. This comprises of our Automated Test Equipment (ATE), the Zen1 PnP Handler, and AEM’s proprietary light source stimulus. Together with UTAC, we announced this joint partnership in 2020 to provide higher quality and lower cost of test in the growing CMOS Image Sensor market. We are proud of the cross-collaboration between the teams to deliver the solution despite the challenges we faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To strengthen our go-to-market strategy, we announced our partnership with South Korean company ATECO Inc. in 2021. Through this partnership, we could leverage ATECO’s unique technology and target the memory market. ATECO’s customer wins announcement of two of the largest memory manufacturers in the industry is evident of the company’s market-leading capabilities. We believe that bringing our capabilities together will put us ahead of the curve in test and handling for semiconductor devices.
In 2021, we expanded our customer-facing operations globally by adding offices in Hsinchu and Shanghai. Our focus continues to be, driving engagement with key accounts that gain value through our differentiated solutions, including high-performance active thermal control, high parallel SLT, high-power Burn-In with application-specific, full turnkey solutions.
We have received positive feedback at SEMICON China, SEMICON Taiwan, and SEMICON West. At SEMICON Taiwan, we held a closed-door presentation to showcase our latest next-generation systems. As we continue to engage in deep technical engagements, we are confident that we are aligned with the industry’s direction and are well-positioned to take on future challenges.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
President (AEM International) & Chief Technology Officer