Revolutionize Semiconductor Testing with NI ATTR

Industry disruptions are opening new opportunities in the semiconductor market, while infrastructure struggles to keep up.

“WSTS expects the worldwide semiconductor market growth to rise from 6.8 % in 2020 to outstanding 19.7 % in the year 2021“

Although the pandemic caused unpredictable consumer behaviors1 and a global recession, technological innovations are creating a sudden surge in demand for semiconductors that is only likely to accelerate.2 From wireless systems such as 5G and SoC to medical and personal health devices,3 the semiconductor market is predicted to reach $527 billion in 2021 alone.4

In this opportunity-rich environment, semiconductor producers recognize the need to address infrastructure challenges and meet demand. One way to do this is through innovation in the testing process. Although they understand the importance of shortening chip Time-to-Market (TTM), they are concerned with cost and quality tradeoffs created by traditional Test Time Reduction (TTR) strategies.

“ Many customers have applied Adaptive TTR on high-volume devices and have seen anywhere from 10% to 50% test time reduction with no impact on product quality ”

Semiconductor Engineering, “Addressing Test Time Challenges”, February 8, 2017

Unnecessary Costs in the Test Cycle

Semiconductor testing can represent more than 14% of the total time-to-market in the chip production cycle, adding as many as 6 weeks to the process.5 Due to inefficient methods, operations are losing valuable opportunities to ramp up production and take full advantage of market opportunities. Too often, companies have sought to mitigate this timeframe through the use of offline test reduction strategies. These are implemented by having engineers manually remove test elements based on their review of the data.

But because this manual process requires a hard removal to be performed, companies risk switching off a testing component that will be needed again down the line. Thus, the process comes with inherent quality tradeoffs. And human agents are by definition limited in how much data they can process, resulting in less accuracy than would be possible with big data analytics.

Offline TTR is also slower than an automated process would be. All these risk factors can contribute to unintended costs, even though the TTR process is supposed to improve Return on Assets overall. Time-to-market may be marginally improved, but the tradeoffs are clear. The industry is in need of drastically better solutions that do not compromise quality or efficiency.

Solving the Problem through ATTR

In reality, the chip testing process produces huge volumes of usable data every moment. This real-time big data has always been the answer to the TTM/quality dilemma; it simply needed to be harnessed. Using innovative collaboration, NI has done just that, disrupting industry testing standards through NI autonomous software.

“ The addition of NI’s data analytics capabilities will enable us to accelerate our growth strategy by increasing enterprise-level value for shared customers in the semiconductor and automotive industries.”

Eric Starkloff, NI President and CEO

The NI ATTR solution constantly adapts testing processes in real time based on automated testing feedback analysis. This does not just cut back on slower manual processes and unnecessary time costs – it actually enhances the testing process, rather than compromising it. Not only does ATTR use smart technology to turn off testing elements when not needed – it can identify when they should be turned back on. This is accomplished efficiently and automatically.

Adaptive test time reduction can also:

Reduce time-to-market from weeks to days

Reduce time-to-market from weeks to days

Reduce time-to-market from weeks to days

This translates to more quality chips reaching the shelf in less time. Even better, NI technology is tester agnostic, meaning it is not restricted to our proprietary platforms. It can be used with a company’s existing system and can even integrate test data across multiple test sites.

The software is also precise: it can also make adaptations all the way down to individual test patterns – yet because it uses proxy software, it leaves the underlying test program intact at all times. And while it does remove unnecessary busy-work on the part of engineers, it remains completely transparent so that they are always in control.

Transform Chip Testing with NI

If you have been thinking ATTR could be the solution that takes your chip production to a new level, you are on the right track. Moving from small – to large – scale data analytics and streamlining your TTR could improve not just your timeline but also your overall quality outcomes.

The NI ATTR solution integrates holistic data analytics, autonomous software, and adaptive responses all while remaining completely accessible to engineers. It reduces cost and time without impacting quality outcomes, offering significantly greater testing efficacy.

In a world of rapidly increasing demand for semiconductor production, NI is revolutionizing how enterprises approach the testing phase and getting chips to market faster.

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