Issue No.03 - May/June (1985 vol.2)
G. Bowers , IBM Corporation
Initial ATE capital investments can affect overall test manufacturing costs as shown in this analysis, which compares a $5000semiconductor tester with a $900,000 system (purchase price). The application is wafer testing of logic die, and the producthas a five-year lifetime. Variables affecting cost include tester throughput, wafer test escape rate, and test system capitalcost. Factors considered in the analysis include (1) the number of test systems required and the cost effect of capital, floorspace, and manpower, (2) the quality of test and the effect of escapes on subsequent manufacturing operations; and (3) theeffects of tax credits on the two options. Results of the comparison show that a major factor is escape from wafer test. Evena low escape rate justifies the use of the $900,000 general-purpose system over the $5000 low-cost tester. Throughput differencesalso tend to negate any initial cost advantage with the LCT. When total systems are considered (four LCTs are needed overthe five years), total capital costs tend to converge. A major asset of the GPT is its flexibility, making it again more attractivethan the LCT.
G. Bowers, "Low-Cost Testers: Are They Really Low Cost?", IEEE Design & Test of Computers, vol.2, no. 3, pp. 20-28, May/June 1985, doi:10.1109/MDT.1985.294734