The founders of Teradyne met while lining up alphabetically at their ROTC unit at MIT in the late 1940s. While Alex d'Arbeloff and Nick DeWolf pursued separate careers after graduation, they connected again in 1960, intent on starting their own company.
Alex and Nick knew that testing electronic components in high-volume production would reach a bottleneck unless the tasks performed by technicians and laboratory instruments could be automated. Their business plan involved a new breed of "industrial-grade" electronic test equipment, known for its technical performance, reliability and economic payback.
The pair rented space above Joe and Nemo's hot dog stand in downtown Boston. The new venture "had to have a 'D' in it," according to DeWolf. "’Tera' is the prefix for 10 to the 12th power, while 'dyne' is a unit of force." Thus, Teradyne was conceived. "To us, the name meant rolling a 15,000-ton boulder uphill."
In 1961, d'Arbeloff and DeWolf sold Teradyne's first product, the D133, a logic-controlled go/no-go diode tester. Early customers discovered that the results from increased production throughput greatly outweighed the diode tester's cost.
In 1966, Teradyne introduced an integrated circuit tester, the J259. It was the first tester to use a minicomputer to control a series of test steps, and it launched the automatic test equipment (ATE) industry.
By the early 1970s, Teradyne's product line-up included ATE dedicated to memory devices and test systems for electronic subassemblies and had established itself as a supplier of commercial backplane connection systems. By the end of the decade, Teradyne had an entire division of telecommunications test products, including an automated system for testing telephone subscriber lines.
In the 1980s, Teradyne expanded its subassembly test business by acquiring Zehntel, a leading manufacturer of in-circuit board test systems. In 1987, the company introduced the first analog VLSI test system, the A500, which led the market in testing integrated devices that provided the interface between analog and digital data.
The 1990s brought more diversification. The company acquired Megatest Corporation, which expanded its Semi Test group to include smaller and less expensive testers than had been currently available. Teradyne also became a market leader in high-end System-on-a-Chip (SoC) test with its Catalyst and Tiger test systems.
In 2000, Teradyne Connection Systems acquired Herco Technologies and Synthane-Taylor, and a year later they acquired circuit-board test and inspection leader, GenRad, and merged it into the Assembly Test Division. GenRad’s Diagnostic Solutions, which made test equipment for the automotive manufacturing and service industries, became a separate product group for Teradyne.
Teradyne grew its semiconductor test business with the addition of Nextest and Eagle Test Systems in 2008, serving the flash memory test market and high-volume analog test market, respectively. That same year, Teradyne entered the disk-drive test market with the internally developed Neptune product, which serves the data-intensive internet and computing storage markets.
In 2010, Teradyne celebrated its 50th anniversary with one of its strongest years ever. The following year, it acquired LitePoint Corporation, a leading provider of test solutions for wireless products, such as laptop PCs, tablets, home networking and cell phones. With the addition of LitePoint, Teradyne’s product portfolio stretched from wafer test of semiconductor chips to system-level circuit boards to products ready for store shelves.
Teradyne continues to deliver competitive advantage to the world's leading electronics companies with its major business units: Semiconductor Test, System Test, Wireless Test. And with the Company's most recent acquisition of Universal Robots, a company specializing in Collaborative Robots, we have entered the Industrial Automation industry.
It’s been a long journey since Alex and Nick first met at MIT’s armory and we’re proud to carry on the vision they created and the innovative spirit they’ve instilled.