Semiconductor test leaders ally to improve industry productivity

The semiconductor and test community has formed a new organization to encourage pre-competitive collaboration and standards development to improve industry productivity.


Santa Clara, CA — The semiconductor and test community has formed a new organization to encourage pre-competitive collaboration and standards development to improve industry productivity. The semiconductor test community and the public were invited to an open meeting to learn more about Collaborative Alliance for Semiconductor Test (CAST) on Oct. 29 at the International Test Conference 2008 in Santa Clara, CA.
CAST seeks industry participation to engage in and resolve industry issues that lead to higher equipment utilization, easier line balancing, and greater return on investment for users, and lower redundant R&D costs in non-differentiating product areas for test-equipment providers. Supporters include semiconductor industry leaders from automated test equipment (ATE) companies, integrated device manufacturers (IDMs), and outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) companies.
Comments from participants include:
Debbora Ahlgren, vice president, chief marketing officer, Verigy; co-chair, CAST planning group:
"Our goal is to collaborate across company boundaries in critical areas of concern while retaining free and full competition . . . to formalize the organization within one of the existing associations serving the industry in the very near term."
R. Keith Lee, president and CEO, Advantest America: "A natural outgrowth of collaborative efforts had taken place within the industry over the past several years. . . excited for Advantest to again play such a central role in the formation of an industry partnership that promises to benefit the entire semiconductor ecosystem."
Steve Wigley, vice president of marketing, LTX-Credence: "This new consortium provides the opportunity for LTX-Credence to continue to drive key initiatives that improve the productivity of the complete test process. . . the necessary next step to advance pre-competitive, collaborative initiatives that address the future test challenges of the semiconductor test industry. . ."
Rod Stewart, general manager, SOC Business Group at Teradyne: ". . . it has the potential to provide real benefit to the industry overall, including both consumers and producers of test equipment. The framework that is being put in place not only provides tangible benefits in terms of efficiency, but also includes a business model that will ensure continued innovation and customer choice of commercial ATE."
Don Edenfeld, Intel; CAST planning group co-chair: ". . . a significant and a natural next step in the evolution of the semiconductor test industry. CAST's charter combined with broad industry participation presents an opportunity to collaborate on standards and define clear and achievable goals that will benefit the entire industry.”
Highlights of the new organization’s objectives include :
• Fostering pre-competitive collaboration, with emphasis on manufacturing process cost, efficiency and yield, beginning with wafer test and ending with shipment to the customer;
• Research, develop and promote standards that enable industry productivity improvement, specifically to enable efficient and effective interoperability in an environment that encourages fast development, deployment and usage of specifications and standards;
• Define and measure benchmark criteria for quantifying end-user process efficiency and effectiveness, and identify opportunities to improve that efficiency via collaborative efforts; and
• Act as a representative and an advocate for the members, with a focus on fostering better understanding of their strategic value to the semiconductor industry.
Charter supporters include Advantest, Amkor, Infineon, Intel, LTX-Credence, Qualcomm, Roos Instruments, Teradyne, and Verigy.
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