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ATE Solutions: DataCenter

Behind the cloud are modern datacenters – the hub for applications like artificial intelligence, machine learning, content streaming, remote collaboration and more. Reduce cost of test with ElevATE. We manufacture semiconductors designed to test today’s most advanced datacenter processors and semiconductors.

ElevATE’s datacenter test solutions feature standard  or custom designed skus to reduce cost of test for data center applications like artificial intelligence, machine learning, content streaming, remote collaboration and cloud based services.

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2022 CEO Letter. Happy New Year

Happy 2022 from the US – both Austin and San Diego. We’ve expanded our operations and added a new Austin office, which I don’t believe I’ve mentioned before. Texas continues to be a large hub for semiconductor talent, and Samsung itself is investing billions in a new fab in the greater Austin area, among other large investments coming to the region. This helps expand our reach as we grow, take on new employees, and serve additional customers.

We continue to experience rapid growth in our business, supply challenges across the portfolio, and price increases as well. Like many of you with your customers, we have done everything we can to mitigate the impact of these challenges but we’ve slowly implemented new ordering policies with longer lead times and have taken prices on the legacy parts up a bit to offset the large cost increases. Regardless, results from our recent customer survey indicate that the efforts we are putting in to work and partner with you as we weather this storm in the industry, are well received. We are very grateful for that and promise to continue doing everything in our power to keep supply flowing during this time.

The new products that are in queue for design are truly exciting – some of the most dense, fastest parts we’ve ever built and there’s much more in the pipeline to come.

Please reach out and let us know how you are doing and how we can help you as we work together in 2022!

Best Regards,
David

ElevATE Operations Update, October 2021

Over the past 18 months the semiconductor industry has experienced unprecedented supply chain constraints.  ElevATE is no exception.  Wafer Fabrication, Assembly, and Test times are lengthening due to the volume and installed capacity constraints.  ElevATE has worked diligently to keep these from impacting our customers through various mitigation strategies.  Overall, we are not seeing lead times abating in the foreseeable future. 

As a result, ElevATE is implementing new order lead time thresholds to ensure product is shipped and delivered in alignment with original factory commit dates.  Over the next two weeks, our customers’ purchasing organizations will be contacted and specific details will be shared.  ElevATE greatly appreciates your understanding as we collectively work through this very unique period in the industry’s history.

If there are any questions, please reach out to sales account manager, or email sales@elevatesemi.com.

Structuring for the Future – Opportunities Ahead

Happy Summer 2021.  I hope this newsletter finds you enjoying a better year than the last, and as things start to get back to normal in many places around the world, we are starting to visit customers and learn more about their future challenges brought on by the latest semiconductor technology

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David Kenyon, CEO Elevate Semiconductor

The unprecedented levels of demand in the industry have tied up capacity for months in fabrication plans, driven up costs, and made it harder to react to changes in order scheduling and pull-n requests.  We have been actively managing and monitoring the supply chain with our partners and I’m happy to report that we’ve been able to support over 98% of what has been thrown at us this year.  Demand for our business has been very strong as we release new products that have been in development for years and we continue to tape out the next generation of designs.  Last quarter saw two key tapeout milestones achieved, and we are marching hard down the path of finalizing our next generation PE in the fall.  Sampling of Rainier will take place for the broader market in the Sept/Oct timeframe, and interest is high in this product – which we fully expect to be the most power efficient, highest performing part we’ve ever made.   But honestly, the best is yet to come.  We are on the path to make some exciting investments in next generation parts that will change the ATE industry – and we can’t wait to get started!  Looking forward to telling you more about what’s next for us as we move into the back half of 2021. 

Structuring for the Future – Opportunities Ahead

Happy Summer 2021.  I hope this newsletter finds you enjoying a better year than the last, and as things start to get back to normal in many places around the world, we are starting to visit customers and learn more about their future challenges brought on by the latest semiconductor technology

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is david.jpeg
David Kenyon, CEO Elevate Semiconductor

The unprecedented levels of demand in the industry have tied up capacity for months in fabrication plans, driven up costs, and made it harder to react to changes in order scheduling and pull-n requests.  We have been actively managing and monitoring the supply chain with our partners and I’m happy to report that we’ve been able to support over 98% of what has been thrown at us this year.  Demand for our business has been very strong as we release new products that have been in development for years and we continue to tape out the next generation of designs.  Last quarter saw two key tapeout milestones achieved, and we are marching hard down the path of finalizing our next generation PE in the fall.  Sampling of Rainier will take place for the broader market in the Sept/Oct timeframe, and interest is high in this product – which we fully expect to be the most power efficient, highest performing part we’ve ever made.   But honestly, the best is yet to come.  We are on the path to make some exciting investments in next generation parts that will change the ATE industry – and we can’t wait to get started!  Looking forward to telling you more about what’s next for us as we move into the back half of 2021. 

Update From our CEO, David Kenyon

Hello all – I hope this message finds you well.  We certainly live in interesting times.  After 2020, many thought the variability and chaos would die down, but here we sit in 2021 in the middle of what industry insiders call “Chipageddon” where capacity is at an absolute premium, demand is going through the roof, and lead times are pushing out towards the better part of a calendar year.  With that said, our company is growing rapidly and we continue to add resource and expand in different places.  We are excited to announce a new partnership with a Taiwan-based distribution partner, ATEChip.  Our efforts in the region expand with the introduction of our new designs this year, with numerous parts still on the way (Rainier, Kilauea).   Later this year we are looking to make other new product announcements, and are exploring lots of disruptive technology to assist our customers in testing the next generation of semiconductors

As we move towards the back half of this year, we plan to grow our sales and marketing efforts.  Most of all,  we are hopeful to visit many of our customers in person – travel and COVID permitting. 

I hope to see you in person, in 2021!

Insight on the Future Trends in Automated Test Equipment

Introduction

For the years to come, analysts expect significant growth in the global automated test equipment (ATE) market, driven by the introduction of new technologies, highly integrated electronic components and by the greater complexity of new electronic devices. The reduced time-to-market, combined with the need to provide high quality standards for even the most advanced functionalities, are pushing manufacturers towards automatic test solutions, whose reliability and repeatability guarantees a significant reduction in time, maintenance and costs. ATEs help manufacturers to perform accurate tests and measurements, reducing the incidence of failures and errors, and providing test results much faster than with manual testing methodology. In view of growing competition and the consequent need to achieve economies of scale providing high quality products able to meet the growing consumer demand, manufacturers around the world are adopting automated testing techniques. The ATE solution in vertical sectors, such as semiconductor, consumer, automotive, industrial, aerospace and defense is set to grow the best in the coming years.

ATE classes

Automated Test Equipment (ATE) is a computer-controlled system that allows the automatic test of components, printed circuit boards, interconnections or entire electronic devices with minimal operator intervention. The advantages offered by an ATE include reduced test times, repeatability of the verification procedure and cost savings, especially in the case of high DUT (Device Under Test) volumes.

A first type of ATE deals with performing the test of semiconductors and integrated circuits. By applying a predetermined and programmable pattern of electrical signals to a semiconductor or an IC, the ATE measures the corresponding output signals and compares them with expected values or ranges. These systems can in turn be divided into logic testers, memory testers, and analog testers. Semiconductor testing, with DUTs ranging from common silicon-based components to complex integrated circuits and System-On-Chip (SoC), is normally divided into two levels. The first is the wafer test (also called die sort or probe test), whose task is to test the wafers. The second is the package test (also called final test), performed on the component after packaging. The wafer test uses a prober and a probe card, while the test package uses a handler and a test socket. The DUT is physically connected to the ATE through a device called handler, or prober, and through a customized Interface Test Adapter (ITA) that adapts the ATE resources to the DUT. This class of ATE includes logic test systems, designed to test microprocessors, FPGAs, ASICs and other logic devices, linear or mixed signal equipment (for testing ADCs, DACs, amplifiers, comparators and video devices), passives components ATEs (capacitor, resistor, inductor) and discrete ATEs (MOSFET, SCR, Zener, JFET, etc.).

ElevATE Semiconductor, a leading supplier of innovative, low power, high density components for the design of next generation Automated Test Equipment (ATE), provides Mystery (visible in Figure 1), a 500 MHz SoC with eight independent pin channels for ATE equipment. Each channel is configured via a 50MHz SPI interface, and all real time data is programmed and read back through high speed FLEX I/O pins that can be configured to interface directly to other devices using multiple single-ended and differential logic families.

Figure 1: ElevATE Mystery SoC

New Rainier SOC 8 Channel / 1.6GHz

This new pin electronics SoC increases speed by 50%, reducing power by 67% and total size by 75%. A 50% speed increase allow to test even the most performant processor, SoC, FPGA, and memory technologies. A 67% power reduction allows to triple the number of pins or DUTs without increasing the power budget. A 75% size reduction allows to quadruple the number of pins under test without expanding the overall PCB size.

The second type of ATE deals with PCB testing (both before wave soldering and after assembly) in order to detect any manufacturing errors and ensuring that each product leaves the factory free from defects. Automated PCB testing includes optical inspection techniques, such as Automatic Optical Inspection (AOI) and Automatic X-Ray Inspection (AXI), flying probe test, and bed-of-nails in-circuit fixture test.

Finally, the interconnection testing verifies the status and quality of interconnections, cables and connectors. In particular, it is able to detect opens (missing connections), shorts (open connections) and miswires (wrong pins) on cable harnesses, distribution panels, flexible circuits, and membrane switch panels with commonly used connector configurations. Interconnection testing also includes resistance and hipot tests.

For Test During Burn-In (TDBI) applications and low-cost testers, ElevATE offers the Kilimanjaro SoC, shown in Figure 2. Fabricated in a wide voltage Bi-CMOS process, the Kilimanjaro incorporates two channels of programmable drivers and window comparators into a small 5mm x 5mm QFN package. Each channel has per pin driver levels, data, and high impedance control, along with per-pin high and low window comparator thresholds levels.

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Figure 2: ElevATE Kilimanjaro SoC

ATE market segmentation

ATE market can be segmented based on the type of product, application or geographical area. Regarding the product, the market is divided into non-memory, memory, and discrete automated test equipment. Recent innovations in sectors such as IoT and automotive (including autonomous vehicles), together with the significant advances made by defense and aerospace sectors, are changing the dynamics of the market. The main objective of manufacturers is to improve customer satisfaction by providing superior quality and reducing both time-to-market and testing costs. Based on the application, main ATE market categories include automotive, consumer, aerospace and defense, telecommunications and medical. Geographically, the global ATE market is dominated by North America, whose market share is expected to grow further in the coming years, as well. The main drivers of growth are determined by the increasing application of ATEs in the aerospace and defense sectors. The global markets of Europe and Asia-Pacific are also expected to grow, with a CAGR between 3% and 4% through the 2020-2022 time horizon. In the same forecast period, the Asia-Pacific market is expected to become the largest regional segment, due to the significant presence of semiconductor industries.

Market future prospects

The global ATE market size, valued at over four U.S. billion dollars in 2019, is expected to witness an important growth over the next few years. According to analysts, this growth will be driven by the increasingly widespread use of ATEs in the automotive and semiconductor industry, the adoption of 5G technology, and Artificial Intelligence/IoT markets growing rapidly. Other key factors are the significant increase in the number of connected devices and consumer electronics, with the need to provide high quality products reducing the time to market. The growing adoption of highly integrated electronic components, such as System on Chip (SoC) and FPGAs, and the high demand for consumer electronics will be a driving force for the growth of the ATE market in the coming years. Moreover, the miniaturization and complexity of the latest generation electronic components will broaden the areas of application of ATEs.

The tremendous progress made in semiconductor manufacturing processes, coupled with the expansion of connected devices in developing countries and the spread of the IoT network, will be a driving force for the growth of the automated test equipment market in the coming years. Furthermore, the considerable technological advances associated with the complexity of the design and the need for effective test systems are factors that will favor the expansion of the ATE market. The latest electronic technologies have significantly reduced the costs and time required for manufacturing integrated circuits and semiconductors, increasing the profit margin reserved for companies. This represents an important opportunity for ATE manufacturing companies, whose priority is to constantly invest in research and development in order to improve their product portfolio by adapting to the latest trends in the electronics sector.

Supply Chain 2021

Look back on 2020, I want to thank our customers and supply partners for a great year, despite all the global challenges.

As we look forward, there is a consensus across the industry that we all are entering a period of significant expansion in the semiconductor market.  Across almost all market verticals, strong growth is forecasted for the next several years.  And like all semiconductor manufacturers, we are seeing some impacts show up in our supply chain.  Capacity has tightened, and lead times are extending across the industry.

With this constrained supply environment, we are asking our customers to please increase the frequency, time horizon, and the accuracy of your forecasts where possible.  Current product lead times have extended to 7 months on average.  We continue to procure supply to our customers forecasts.  We will always strive to meet all our customers demand, however unforecasted demand may prove to be challenging.

For the highest level of support, we ask customers to forecast their demand monthly, with a 12 month time horizon, and to place orders with 8 to 12 weeks of leadtime.  Unforecasted demand, and orders inside 8 weeks are subject to a 15% cost adder to mitigate the expedite fees we are charged by our supply partners.

Thank you for your continued support, and the privilege of being your ATE technology partner

Adam Haigis, Vice President of Operations

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SOC Octal 500 MHz Integrated Pin Electronics/DAC/PPMU/Deskew

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