Low-cost ATE targets IoT and wearable devices built in 200-mm fabs

Oct. 26, 2015

As previously reported, SEMI last week forecast new life for 200-mm fabs, and Luke Schreier, director of automated test at NI, noted that while big-iron ATE makers focus on cutting-edge devices fabricated in 300-mm fabs, 200-mm fabs with access to appropriate ATE can cost-effectively make billions of IoT devices.

Now, Mike Dewey, director of marketing at Marvin Test Solutions, has offered his comment on the subject. He and his colleagues, he said, are of the opinion that MEMS-based devices and other devices that are part of the ‘IoT’ universe will drive on-going demand for the 200-mm fabs, as the SEMI report indicates.

“The increasing market for wearables will also impact the need for 200 mm fabs,” he said. “It makes sense, because the yields and efficiencies associated with 200-mm fabs are in line with the cost sensitivity of sensors, wearables, etc. We don’t think that the efficiency of fabricating small devices in 300 mm is as good or optimized as much as it is on the 200-mm fab.”

In addition, he said, the cost of building or expanding a 300-mm fab is higher than for a 200-mm fab. “These small devices are all about costs,” he said.

Of course, the tester is only part of the equation. “We are working with company to integrate our platform with a MEMS handler, and what is driving this is the need for a low cost test and handling solution,” Dewey said. “The ‘traditional’ big-iron ATE solution is too expensive and is not really geared to supporting a multiple-site (32 to 96 devices) analog/digital device.”

Marvin Test Solutions’ ATE system for such applications is the PXI-based TS-900. “We think the TS-900 platform with the appropriate instrumentation offers a lower cost solution,” Dewey said. “Again, it’s all about device cost—fabrication and test.”

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