After a rough start for the decade, the market for semiconductor
manufacturing equipment is roaring back, paced largely by back-end processes
including automated testing. As the economy recovers, growth is fueled in large
part by the challenges of dealing with faster ICs.
Gartner Inc. of Stamford, CN, predicts that the worldwide semiconductor
equipment market will grow by 40 % this year. That’s on top of a 10.3 % rise
during 2003 Last year’s total sales were $22.8 billion, according to Gartner.
The rise is driven primarily by back-end operations. Automated test equipment
grew at a blistering 39.4 % last year, well above the 30.5 % for packaging and
assembly equipment. In contrast, front-end segments were led by wafer fab
equipment, where growth was only 3.6 %. Kulicke & Soffa Industries Inc.
of Willow Grove, PA, is attacking the market with a new test socket technique
that increases speed and reduces the chances of damaging chips without
increasing pricing. (http://www.kns.com/press/showpr.asp?IID=1698)
The Quatrix test package uses photolithographic techniques to create the
contacts that let a tester examine a chip. These circuits replace spring-loaded
pins, which “are running out of performance,” says Andrei Berar, vice president
of the Package Test Business Unit.
Less pressure is needed to make
contact with the planar interconnects, reducing the potential for damage, yet
speed remains at the same levels. Accuracy is far more precise with lithographic
socket connections than with electro-mechanical pins. Since the technique uses
IC processing technologies, it will be easier to keep up with advances in IC
technology, Berar says. Shipments will begin in the fourth quarter.
By experimenting with the photovoltaic reaction in solar cells, researchers at MIT have made a breakthrough in energy efficiency that significantly pushes the boundaries of current commercial cells on the market.
In a world that's going green, industrial operations have a problem: Their processes involve materials that are potentially toxic, flammable, corrosive, or reactive. If improperly managed, this can precipitate dangerous health and environmental consequences.
A quick look into the merger of two powerhouse 3D printing OEMs and the new leader in rapid prototyping solutions, Stratasys. The industrial revolution is now led by 3D printing and engineers are given the opportunity to fully maximize their design capabilities, reduce their time-to-market and functionally test prototypes cheaper, faster and easier. Bruce Bradshaw, Director of Marketing in North America, will explore the large product offering and variety of materials that will help CAD designers articulate their product design with actual, physical prototypes. This broadcast will dive deep into technical information including application specific stories from real world customers and their experiences with 3D printing. 3D Printing is