European mixed signal chip designer ICsense has installed a leading edge tester in Belgium to reduce the supply chain risk.
“We wanted to bring this part of the supply chain back to Europe, not in the Far East and that is also to protect us as we see the slots we get are getting harder to get at the bigger test houses,” Bram De Muer, co-founder and CEO of ICsense told eeNews Europe.
“Especially the case with the engineers that do the test development as their time is very limited and that can take six months which is a critical part of mass production. With the tester in house it’s just over a month and we are trying to make that shorter. The communications loop is really short and for our customers there is a single point of contact.”
The ASIC house has installed Advantest’s V93000 Smart Scale system at its headquarters in Leuven as part of a move to production test of chips.
“There are only a few IC design houses in the world and, typically, these companies design custom chips internally but do not necessarily have the in-house resources to execute on the steps that follow,” said De Muer. “It takes several years to develop a custom IC. The team that develops the chip knows it inside out, making it vitally important that the test development team is also in-house to bring the product to mass production successfully.”
“We are mostly analogue focussed for power management, PMIC, battery management, HV, providing design services and complex ASICs for medical, automotive and high reliability applications,” he said.
“We did a whole exercise on testers from Teradyne, Credence, to see what was compatible now and in the future,” he said. “We may be a bit early with Advantest but we see our big partners such as ASE moving to the 93K. We chose the 93K because it is versatile with Java