Electroglas has been in wafer prober business for over 40 years. They started in the very early days of the semiconductor industry and have consistently made highly reliable equipment with unique technology for wafer probing. Because of this, nearly every major semiconductor manufacturer in the world relies on Electroglas‘ wafer probing technologies to help them maximize the overall efficiency of their wafer and device testing processes. Electroglas installed base is one of the largest in the industry, having sold over 15,000 wafer probers.
They were first in the market with a commercial wafer prober in 1963, and the first with the fully-automated prober, the 2001, in 1982. The EG2001 is one of the most famous and widely used probers in China today because it uses their patented Sawyer motor with an air-bearing stage that never wears out. They now also offer a final test handler for packaged devices and test floor management software as part of their strategy to be a comprehensive semiconductor test solutions provider.
They have recently introduced a new 300mm wafer prober, the EG6000, that provides the world‘s fastest, most accurate and most reliable 300mm production probing solution. Joining their 300mm prober is a new extended performance system for 200mm wafer probing, the 4090μ+. Both of these systems address the demands of testing fine pitch devices, semiconductors with copper interconnects, low-k dielectric processes, and other advanced applications. Additionally, they have developed a prober-based system, called Sidewinder, for testing devices in strip format that allows their customers to take advantage of the higher parallel test capability and uniform material handling provided with testing packaged devices in strip format.
Technology is Hero, Better and Better
For making the products be time-to-market, nalysis of Reliability does not only rely on the backend process. If we can eliminate the bad chips in advance of the testing stage, then the non-meaningful waste can also be decreased in the later process. Find the faults early, sometimes it is the fatal factor to gain or lost. Therefore, the traditional testing of packaging format has been not enough, and it moves up to the wafer level.
在晶圆形式可靠度分析中，承载晶圆的探针台是不可或缺的。在这块呈现 “寡占”局面的市场中，整体份额多由3家龙头厂商所共享：在亚洲拥有生产基地的美商伊智公司，以及来自日本的东京精密(Toyko Electron)和东电电子(Toyko Seimitsu, 也就是Accretech)。值得一提的是，伊智公司是三者之中，惟一一家始终致力于晶圆探针技术研究的公司，并保持在该领域处于技术领先地位。
The prober is necessary role in wafer-level analysis of reliability. In this oligopoly market, there are three big players to share: Electroglas, TEL (Toyko Electron) and TSK (Toyko Seimitsu, also known as Accretech). Electroglas is a U.S. company with manufacturing operations based in Asia. TEL and TSK are Japanese companies. Of the three, Electroglas continues to be the only company focused on wafer probing technology and remains the technology leader in this segment.
Tim Boyle, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President, stated confidently, in order to keeping the excellent competence, Electroglas has worked hard to improve their customer service and their responsiveness to customers needs. This company who has being named to the Top10 Suppliers List for Test and Material Handling Equipment said, they will continue to concentrate on these areas and see them as their key to remaining a dependable partner to their customers. They will also continue to focus on improving the overall value of the equipment by seeking ways to increase their capabilities and efficiency. Electroglas is well-known for its highly reliable design and performance, with equipment remaining in production for many, many years. As well, over the years they have introduced many innovations for wafer probing, including their frictionless, high-speed positioning technology.
Efficiency & Accuracy, Forever Goal
Most recently, they have introduced their MicroTouch feature that reduces touchdown damage that can occur when testing fragile devices or when pads are located over active circuit geometry. Another recent innovation is their precision direct-drive technology for their 12-inch prober, the EG6000, which allows this system to achieve the highest accuracy available today. The EG6000 also utilizes their proprietary motion control capability that virtually eliminates negative effects on test from external vibrations encountered in the production environment.
Having a look on the development of semiconductor industry, the progress has been moving from 6-inch wafers to 8-inch, and now 12-inch wafers, their stage technology and the level of automation provided has evolved to provide a more accurate, higher speed system that is actually easier to use than those earlier systems and now requires very little operator assistance or intervention in the manufacturing environment. This combination of advanced performance for high-volume production and ease-of-use are key factors in delivering the solutions their customers need today and in the future.
Electroglas is always looking at ways to improve the efficiency and accuracy of their systems. One of the most important advancements recently for Electroglas has been in gaining greater control over the Z direction of the wafer prober, which affects the accuracy and impact force of touchdowns on wafers and enables their customers to effectively test even the most recent types of delicate devices. In addition, their new anti-vibration technology prevents degradation of test quality that can affect yield, while simultaneously increasing prober throughput.
With the Strong Foundation, Target the China Market
In the last two years, Electroglas has made major new technology introductions for 200mm and 300mm wafer probing and final test handling. As mentioned earlier, these introductions include their second-generation 300mm prober, the EG6000, their extended 200mm prober, the 4090μ+, and their prober-based strip test handler, Sidewinder. All of these products provide fundamentally new technology that solves their customers toughest test challenges today and offers a solid foundation for the future.
Stone Jiang, Chief Representative of Electroglas China, made some notes for the business strategies: Asia is the fastest growing segment of the semiconductor market in the world, and therefore is critical for Electroglas business. They have moved their product fabrication center from the USA to Singapore in 2002. One of the main reasons for the move is to be closer to their semiconductor customers and the highest concentration of semiconductor manufacturing. They are anticipating a significant increase in their business in Asia over the next two years, and they are expanding their sales and service capability in the region.
Jiang commented by a foresight eye. He explained that China is the fastest growing portion of semiconductor business in Asia. The domestic demand for semiconductor products and equipments has been very strong. The total semiconductor revenue in mainland China and Taiwan have the potential to be in the leading position in the world in the future. Technically, the semiconductor technology in Taiwan is moving to 12 inch, while in China the technology is mainly 8 inch now and the demand for refurbished equipment is still huge. Their strategy is to provide different products for different customers with different demands. or example, in mainland China, we provide 6 inch to 8 inch refurbished probers for low-end consumable IC manufacturers in south and in Yangtze River Delta Area; in north and Shanghai area, we provide their latest 12 inch products to the customers. For those customers requesting 8 inch products, we have our mature product line, the Electroglas 4090 series.
Conclusion: Software Hardware Included Total Solution
In addition to prober products, they have also developed a strip test handler, the Sidewinder, based on prober technology. They recently sold a Sidewinder handler to the first Chinese customer in May 2005. They anticipate their business in China will continue to increase significantly and have plans in place to meet the huge market demand.
The well-respected U.S. semiconductor research and analysis company, VLSI Research, has projected continued strong growth in probers and rapid growth in strip test. With their new technology in 300mm they should continue to gain market share and their patented technology for strip test handling should allow them to successfully participate in this emerging market. U.S. law pursuant to the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 requires me to say here that all projections of future performance are not a guarantee of actual results and that actual results may differ materially from this forward-looking statement.
Boyle continued to express, about the maintenance of strategic partnership, Electroglas has maintained a long-term and good relationship with their partners. Recently they also took some steps to strengthen its long-time relationships with major tester and probe card suppliers. They have also entered into relationships with other companies in the semiconductor equipment sector to gain insight into future fabrication process changes that may affect probing and test in the coming years. At last, the two interviewees highlight the key points in accordance: While they do believe all their products have technology advantages, they feel it is their customer service and responsiveness combined with the excellence of their Asian manufacturing operations that ensure the value of that technology translates into lower cost of test and higher profits for their customers.(责任编辑：admin)