The semiconductor industry is notorious for its high production costs and the critical importance of maintaining impeccable product quality. As technology advances and consumer expectations rise, semiconductor companies face constant pressure to meet these cost and quality goals while also delivering cutting-edge products.
Traditionally, the semiconductor industry has focused on creating smaller technology nodes, following Moore’s Law. In recent years, however, the rate of doubling has slowed as we approach the physical limits for the number of transistors that can be included on a single chip. This means that the cost reduction per transistor has also slowed, and the additional complexity of new architectures and packaging technologies has caused the cost of developing new devices on these advanced nodes to increase.
We must look to new process innovations to continue semiconductor growth and advancements. Optimizing semiconductor processes is a dynamic and ongoing endeavor that requires a deep understanding of specific manufacturing challenges, technological advancements, and the end-customer’s ever-changing demands for faster, smaller, and more energy-efficient devices. It is essential for semiconductor companies to stay at the forefront of process optimization to remain competitive.
With the large amounts of data generated throughout the manufacturing process, data analytics are empowering semiconductor companies to make informed decisions based on real-time insights. From production planning to resource allocation, analytics play a pivotal role in ensuring that decisions are aligned with cost-saving measures and quality improvement strategies. Furthermore, real-time data analytics can use lower latency implementations to identify deviations in the manufacturing and test processes, allowing companies to detect and address potential issues fast – before they propagate downstream and potentially impact the quality of the final product.
The benefits of data analytics in the semiconductor industry are immense. However, companies must navigate challenges such as data security, integration of analytics into existing systems, and the need for new data skillsets to be successful. This has largely led to a siloed approach to analytics, which has limited the scope and impact of the solutions.
Just as semiconductor device architectures will need to optimize system-level performance, so will the design, test, and manufacturing process to achieve the required results of improved quality and efficiency, and capacity optimization. That is why Teradyne and NI have partnered to provide a more comprehensive data analytics solution.
The Joint Solution
The integration of NI Global Operations (GO) and Teradyne’s Archimedes analytics solution, with their respective real-time test analytics capabilities, enables customers to break the silos, and integrate real-time responsiveness into the test process. Through this collaboration, customers achieve faster control over test outcomes than ever before. Archimedes’ open development architecture and zero-trust security model reduces test overhead and enables real-time execution at the test cell. Then, NI GO’s data lifecycle and analytics engine provides the insights to generate rules and algorithms that respond effectively in the Archimedes environment. Together, this provides out-of-the-box monitoring and control actions that drive efficiency, as well as yield and quality improvements.
Through the integration of the partnership, a new era of semiconductor test control is enabled. Data lifecycle and analytics management that is secure, complete, and on-time enables customers to develop, simulate, publish, manage and track all of their analytic software, models and algorithms.
The NI Global Operations Solution
NI Global Operations is a proven semiconductor analytics solution that collects, cleans, and analyzes data from multiple manufacturing, test, and enterprise data sources to optimize every stage of the semiconductor lifecycle. With a key dependency on test, NI GO creates actionable rules that can run in the cloud, on the edge, and now within the test cell itself, to continually improve efficiency, quality, and yield by deploying key technical advantages, including:
- Complete Historical Data Management—Combining test data with other manufacturing, process, and enterprise sources to maintain a historical record of product inputs and outputs that is designed to power analytics tools for key semiconductor insights.
- Algorithm, Model, and Action Management—A single management center for test and operations teams to deploy data-driven rules, including ML/AI models, that trigger specified actions across internal and OSAT test floors.
- An Open, Extensible Software—Easily integrated into existing IT and Ops platforms providing out-of-the-box solutions and DIY tools so users can get the functionality required for their needs.
Teradyne Archimedes Analytics Solution
Teradyne Archimedes analytics solution is an open development environment that enables real-time analytics with the flexibility to deliver both out-of-the-box and custom solutions that are easy to deploy.
Designed for use with Teradyne’s testers, Teradyne Archimedes offers a unique set of benefits for testing complex semiconductors, including:
- Support for a Real-time, Bi-directional Data Stream—which creates a closed feedback loop through which data can flow from the tester to the analytics solution, and back to the tester. This real-time data stream allows our customers to utilize their analytics solutions to identify and implement process optimizations immediately, during both validation and high-volume manufacturing, resulting in improved device quality and yield.
- An Open Architecture—which gives customers the flexibility to choose the analytics solutions of their choice and customize them to best suit their requirements. Teradyne’s tight integration with leading analytics providers ensures quick and efficient deployment. At the same time, Teradyne Archimedes can also integrate with custom solutions.
- Secure Platform at the Edge of the Network—with Teradyne UltraEdge2000, customers can realize real-time analytics in a secure environment that protects test data. UltraEdge2000 is a secure platform that executes real-time analytics optimizations with millisecond latency.
The semiconductor industry’s embrace of data analytics represents a paradigm shift in how companies address cost and quality challenges. As technology continues to advance, leveraging data to make informed decisions will be a defining factor in the success and sustainability of semiconductor manufacturing. By harnessing the power of data analytics, like the NI and Teradyne solution, companies can not only stay competitive but also pave the way for a more efficient and high-quality future in semiconductor production.
Eran Rousseau is the vice president of Enterprise Software, Strategic Partnerships and Business Development at NI, and has over 20 years of experience driving successful enterprise software, strategic partnerships, and business development initiatives. In his previous role as the vice president of product management and marketing at OptimalPlus (acquired by NI in 2020), Eran led the product strategy, roadmap, and go-to-market initiatives that resonate with semiconductor market needs and leverage cutting-edge technologies. Eran is an alumnus of the UCLA Anderson School of Management and holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science.
Eli Roth is the Product Manager for Smart Manufacturing at Teradyne, where he is responsible for product strategy and roadmap for Teradyne’s Archimedes analytics solution. Prior to Teradyne, he was the Director of Engineering at Advanced Energy. He holds a degree in computer engineering from Iowa State University.