Teradyne’s sustainability journey began three decades ago with a focus on minimizing the environmental impact of our buildings and infrastructure, as outlined in our two part blog series (check out part one and part two). This effort also includes a focus on making our products more sustainable. In this blog, learn how Teradyne’s products and efforts are contributing to a more sustainable industry.
The Semiconductor Industry’s Role in Sustainability
Virtually all economic activity results in the use of materials, water and energy consumption, ultimately resulting in carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. However, unlike many other industry sectors, the semiconductor industry and Teradyne are uniquely positioned to play an outsized – and net beneficial – role in the transition to a more sustainable infrastructure and economy. Several cornerstones of a sustainable economy require semiconductors:
- Renewable power and smart grids, virtual power plants, and microgrids require semiconductors for energy generation, distribution, storage, conversion, transmission, monitoring and control, and security.
- Energy and carbon accounting and trading will measure and track energy flows, requiring information and communications technology infrastructure.
- Electrified transport (e.g., EVs and electric rail) require high-efficiency power electronics and numerous monitor and control circuits.
- Sustainable commercial and residential climate monitoring and control (e.g., the control systems for heat pumps and energy recovery ventilation systems used in high-efficiency buildings).
- Automation plays a role in setting up, operating, and maintaining sustainable systems, including robotics, to assist human operators with repetitive, unpleasant, and potentially dangerous tasks, thus reducing the risk of stress or harm.
Teradyne products and services enable the semiconductor industry to build, operate, and maintain these sustainability cornerstones.
Teradyne Products Contribute to a Sustainable Future
We help companies efficiently bring high-quality innovations to market with our products and services. Using test equipment and industrial automation solutions, we automate three of manufacturing’s most critical elements – semiconductor device test, system test, and repetitive manual industrial tasks. Our customers are companies of all sizes in diverse markets, and they depend on us to ensure their products perform as expected every single time. Our enduring commitment to advanced test and automation solutions means we’re improving how the world lives, works, and innovates.
For decades, Teradyne has offered products and services that provide our customers with industry-leading efficiency for automated test. Each new generation of Teradyne products offers increased productivity and efficiency improvements. The latest generation of our platforms offers significant reductions in energy consumption for the same productivity relative to the prior generation of products. As an example, a single ETS-800 offers the same productivity as four ETS-364 systems, reducing annual energy consumption by 45% and reducing floorspace needs by 70%. We achieve these results through a holistic approach to sustainability – it’s not about power and energy efficiency alone, it’s the aggregation of a number of factors.
Teradyne’s Holistic Product Sustainability Strategy
Efficiency and optimization are crucial elements in any sustainability strategy – do more with less. Teradyne weaves that efficiency and optimization perspective into all aspects of our product strategy, with the result being a holistic approach that promotes efficiency and sustainability through six levers:
- System throughput
- Equipment utilization
- Test capability and quality
- Smart factory/equipment capabilities
- Design enhancements
- Data analytics
System Throughput – Directly Improve per System Productivity and Efficiency
The Teradyne product development roadmap prioritizes industry-leading throughput measured in units per hour. Teradyne’s system throughput capabilities are built upon the following:
- High per-system site counts and high parallel test efficiency: combined, these two system characteristics enable our equipment to test multiple devices in parallel in roughly the same amount of time it takes to test one device.
- Optimized test times: all Teradyne platforms have an established track record of continually improving test time by leveraging product innovations and the expertise of our applications teams.
- Modularity of our systems: our modular designs allow individual instruments or sub-assemblies to be updated with more performant and efficient modules over the system’s useful life, saving the cost and environmental burden of a complete system replacement.
These innovations result in a more productive system with higher productivity per square meter of factory floor space. Customers can achieve the same productivity levels with fewer systems and a lower environmental cost per chip tested.
Equipment Utilization and Longevity
Semiconductor fabrication facilities are high-volume environments that rely upon the high availability of manufacturing equipment. Teradyne supports this requirement by ensuring we design our products using several “Design for X” processes:
- Reliability: our product designs are reviewed for high reliability, ensuring low failure rates.
- Repairability: intended to ensure that, when a repair is needed, it is simple and streamlined, and the repair time is minimized (remove, replace, restart production).
- Maintainability & Serviceability: minimize the effort and time required to service and maintain the product in the field.
These characteristics offer a two-fold advantage: first, improved system availability facilitates our customers’ efforts to optimize their factory floor operations and improve overall efficiency. Second, our products offer a long service life, which reduces electronics waste.
Test Capability and Quality
Teradyne is recognized for our excellent test quality, built upon a combination of people and products. Our Factory and Field Application teams collaborate with customers to develop a deep understanding of their needs and generate optimized solutions. These solutions, including test methods and techniques, leverage our instrument precision and accuracy, comprehensive analysis tools, and software suites to offer customers best-in-class capabilities.
Smart Factory Capabilities
Teradyne is enhancing our flagship product with telemetry and smart operating modes.
Test Cell Telemetry is system status information formatted and communicated to allow the system and the operator to be aware of the state of different test cell subsystems and the peripherals with which Teradyne products interface.
Smart Operating Modes
- Our UltraFLEX and UltraFLEXplus testers support smart operating modes consistent with the SEMI S23 standard, specifically the Process, Idle, and Sleep modes.
- Since 2019, the UltraFLEX has supported the equivalent of the SEMI S23 Sleep mode that reduces test head power consumption by up to 80% during periods of disruption (e.g., factory workflow is stopped for a holiday or a supply line problem).
- The Sleep Mode capabilities were introduced on the UltraFLEXplus in 2022, with similar 80% power savings results. The product supports sleep mode at the test head and tester slot levels (i.e., sleep for the entire test head or specific test head instrument slots).
These telemetry features and smart operating modes are enabled via our Operations Management Center. Our customers can use these features to manage power consumption and improve system maintenance practices, improving efficiency and system uptime, and reducing overall CO2 emissions.
Product Design Enhancements
As a regular part of our development practices, we evolve and enhance our product designs for optimized performance, scalability, adaptability, and efficiency. Our roadmap includes projects to:
- Optimize product footprints to improve productivity per square meter of floor space and fit more capability into existing floor space.
- Optimize system and instrument scalability and granularity to suit different market needs.
- Continue to improve the power density and efficiency of our system infrastructure and instrumentation.
Intelligent use of product data and system telemetry enhances our overall product sustainability and is used to:
- Provide users with fleet status, health monitoring, and system scheduling capabilities (e.g., Operations Management Center capabilities).
- Enable preventive and predictive maintenance features for improved maintenance practices and system availability.
- Extract patterns from data that enable further yield and throughput improvements.
Deploy Teradyne’s Archimedes analytics solution, a natively secure, open development environment that enables real-time analytics. Our tight integration with best-in-class analytics providers ensures you can focus on optimizing the test flow instead of the connection between tester and analytics platform.
We are excited to help the semiconductor industry and society transition to a greener and more sustainable future. Teradyne’s holistic sustainability strategy delivers products and services that enable device manufacturers to improve productivity and production yields, while lowering the impact of material use and energy consumption resulting in reduced CO2 emissions.
Mike Halblander is Teradyne’s Platform Product Manager and a member of the environmental, social and governance team. He has product and system development experience in multiple industries, including semiconductor ATE, aerospace, industrial instrumentation, and life sciences. His focus is on developing a shared understanding of problems and collaboratively working through solutions with the customer and the development team. Mike holds a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering and a Master of Science in computer science.