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Chip shops create test community

CASTing a wide net
Wed Oct 29 2008, 14:29

THE BIG BOYS on the semiconductor block – Intel, Qualcomm, Amkor, Infineon, Advantest, LTX-Credence, Roos Instruments, Teradyne, and Verigy – have teamed up in a new organisation meant to encourage pre-competitive collaboration, development of common standards and improvement in semiconductor industry productivity.

The new group has been dubbed the Collaborative Alliance for Semiconductor Test (CAST) and is supposed to act as a representative group for leaders in the semiconductor industry, automated test equipment (ATE) companies, integrated device manufacturers (IDMs) and outsourced semiconductor assembly and test (OSAT) firms. All in all, a wild and crazy bunch.

As well as the lofty goal of cultivating better pre-competitive collaboration – especially in manufacturing process cost, efficiency and yield – members will also try to come up with ATE standards as well as define and measure benchmark criteria.

The group says it will act as a representative and advocate for members whilst pushing for more R&D to better industry productivity and interoperability.

In the group’s own words, CAST ''seeks broad participation within the industry to engage in and resolve common industry issues that will ultimately lead to higher equipment utilisation, easier line balancing and greater return on investment for equipment users, and lower redundant R&D costs in non-differentiating product areas for test equipment providers.'' Basically, it will save the semiconductor heavies time and a ton of cash.

Intel’s Don Edenfeld, who is also CAST planning group co-chair, noted the group’s "charter combined with broad industry participation presents a unique opportunity to collaborate on standards and define clear and achievable goals that will benefit the entire industry".

The group seems to be something of a growth sprouting out of the Semiconductor Test Consortium (STC), founded several years ago by Chipzilla, Advantest and others. CAST's working groups will apparently now join hands with several STC groups already working on hardware docking, probe cards, Standard Test Interface Language (STIL), and joint industry university research projects. µ


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