Chroma Invested Touch Cloud Inc. to Embrace AI

With artificial intelligence (AI) spreading rapidly across various industries, worldwide revenue from AI-based systems is predicted to reach 47 billion US dollars in 2020, according to International Data Corporation (IDC). Chroma ATE Inc., one of the world’s leading suppliers of precision test and measurement instrumentation, automated test systems, intelligent manufacturing systems, and turnkey solutions, is aggressively taking part in AI by investing in Touch Cloud Inc. pioneered in AI solutions, as its largest corporate shareholder. Implementing AI into Chroma’s core technologies will make their instrumentation and turnkey solutions smarter and a higher value to their customers.

Touch Cloud Inc. specializes in cloud computing architecture, machine learning, and deep learning using its unique algorithms to provide big data analysis and prediction. Its AI engine can satisfy an automated factory’s demands for high-volume and high-dimensional numerical data analysis, as well as defect detection and automated classification by optical inspection. Touch Cloud is one of the few companies that can provide end-to-end solutions from cloud computing infrastructure to AI applications.

Chroma’s investment in Touch Cloud is intended to apply AI technology in two areas. One is to make Chroma’s test equipment smarter with predictive maintenance to anticipate equipment failure before it happens. The other is to integrate AI with Chroma’s current Intelligent Manufacturing System to assist customers in IoT data analysis and prediction for manufacturing improvement. For instance, glass damage in the LCD manufacturing process could cause serious problems in productivity, quality, and reliability. Utilizing predictive AI to analyze the equipment parameter data during fabrication can raise warnings before a panel is damaged, thus improving the yield and equipment’s downtime.

Chroma has more than 30 years of successful and practical experiences in the industry, and served global customers across the fields of ICT, semiconductor/IC, and clean technologies in electric vehicles, green batteries, solar and LED. Integrating AI technology from Touch Cloud, Chroma will soon help their customers in solving problems encountered during production with advanced AI algorithms and big data analysis resulting in a genuinely smarter factory.

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ITC – The world’s Most Influential Professional Testing Technology Conference Held in Asia for the First Time

Chroma ATE Inc. was invited as one of the opening keynote speakers to address the convergence of electronic and semiconductor systems, and its impact on testing technology

The ITC-Asia (International Test Conference) successfully held on September 13-15 in Taipei, was a flagship conference in test technology. It gathered the IC test and design professionals around the world to confront the challenges the industry faces, and learn how these challenges are being addressed. The conference was dedicated to the process and design improvement of software and hardware – covering design verification, test, diagnosis, failure analysis, components, systems and application software.

To cope with the needs of complex process and system integration derived from IoT, cloud computing, automotive electronics and other emerging applications, the ITC moved to Asia for the first time and co-located with SEMICON Taiwan in 2017. The conference linked the supply chains from semiconductor design in the beginning to IC packaging and testing at the end to boost collaborations in creating more potential business opportunities. Three days of consecutive keynote speeches, industry topics, call for papers and technical courses, explored and analyzed the latest test technology trends with focuses on popular topics including the newest IoT, automotive electronic testing methods and safety standards, as well as the advanced multi chip packaging test and repair technologies.

I-Shih Tseng, the ISS BU general manager of Chroma ATE Inc. was invited as one of the keynote speakers in the opening to discuss the semiconductor testing technology from the perspective of a testing equipment supplier. While we enjoy the convenience and brand new experience brought by high-tech, it is a huge challenge for semiconductor chip producers and test equipment providers as the test is no longer just electronic and circuit testing, but different applications associated with many aspects such as mechanical, optical components, temperature, and even chemical composition.

I-Shih Tseng, the ISS BU general manager of Chroma ATE Inc.
▲I-Shih Tseng, the ISS BU general manager of Chroma ATE Inc.

Semiconductor test has evolved to a level of safety, responsibility and reliability. The IC quality is absolutely important for self-driving cars because it concerns personal safety. When the car is driving in different environments, the temperature can change from high heat to freezing as well as high winds and rain all make the IC chip’s reliability a necessity. Moreover, for new applications, such as in VCSEL 3D image sensing, it has to be sure that it is no harm to people. All of these new applications provide a challenge to chip manufacturers and test equipment manufacturers for their ability to keep the car safe for drivers.

This means that semiconductor test equipment manufacturers need to work with customers earlier in the design process. Chroma ATE has been a Turnkey Solution provider with core technology in measurement since 2011, and is the only manufacturer equipped with testing and automation capability. Chroma’s products are mainly used in communication (FPD, color and video, optical components, power electronics, passive components, electrical safety, thermoelectric temperature control and automatic optics), semiconductor/IC, and clean technology (EV, green battery, LED lighting and solar energy) industries to effectively improve the quality of customer products and production efficiency in helping customers enhance their competitiveness.

Chroma has many product lines to fulfill the needs of semiconductor testing by supplying various kinds of equipment from R&D to mass production such as large ATE test systems, sorting machines and compact PXI test platforms, all of them have complete corresponding products to give customers the most appropriate selection. The complete semiconductor solution of Chroma covers different wafer test applications including consumer chips (microprocessors, audio chips, computers/mobile peripherals, etc.), power chips (linear regulators, DC converters, AC converters, LED drivers, etc.), radio frequency chips (wireless network, blue, blue, etc.), power chips (such as microprocessors, audio chips, computers / mobile peripherals, etc.), RF chips (wireless network, Bluetooth, mobile communication, etc.), and chips for specific testing areas (image sensors, radio frequency identification, etc.)

New IoT applications Initiate comprehensive semiconductor testing needs

Internet of Things (IoT) digitizes the real world by narrowing the scattered information and consolidating the digital information of things. It has a broad market and application prospects that is structured in three layers; sensing, network and application. Ranging from logistics and transportation, health care, smart environment (home, office and factory) along with personal and social areas, almost anything can be closely related to IoT. The IoT chip has been widely used in network and various types of sensors. For different applications in a test environment, the way to ensure that each IC’s function, performance and quality meet the standard is specifically important. Chroma’s Semiconductor BU general manager, George Chang, indicated that to cope with diversified applications, semiconductor wafer testing must incorporate a variety of test items including temperature, radio frequency (RF), precision and speed, to meet all types of IoT applications and customer needs.

Chroma provides complete semiconductor test solutions including SoC / VLSI/ Analog test solutions, IC test handlers, PXI IC test platforms and equipment corresponding to various types of IoT applications in testing embedded processor, MCU, RF MUC, Light Sensor, Magnetic Sensor, G-Sensor/Gyro, CMOS Image Sensor, Finger Print Sensor, Laser Diode, PMIC), and diversified wireless network implementation.

The widespread use of IoT creates a huge demand for micro control units and sensors, which lead to fierce competition in cost and production. As electronic products are always aiming for high cost-performance ratio with better functionality, Chroma is capable of providing competitive test instruments that are flexible to integrate with other equipment and automated systems to meet the demands for increased testing requirements and cost savings.

AI, smart driving, system level and burn-in test ensure final quality of IC

In light of the evolution of semiconductor process and packaging technology, the capabilities of ICs used in consumer electronics, automobiles, internet of things and artificial intelligence are getting more powerful with increased packaging density. Herbert Tsai, the ISS BU deputy general manager of Chroma ATE Inc. pointed out that for the complex packaging products such as SoC/SIP/3D ICs, besides inspecting the power and signal through traditional automated test equipment (mixed single ATE), the System Level Test (SLT) and Burn-in (BI) inspection process are also applied to do a comprehensive testing on IC to ensure its final quality.

As the IoV (internet of vehicle) and smart driving are growing trends, many car manufacturers have implemented ESC (electronic stability control) systems to receive and send signals through the sensor, camera, lidar and RF equipped on the car. When the system has collected the information from each component, it will quickly analyze and evaluate the vehicle status, and give commands to correct the steering wheel, slow down, brake or alarm. This means the system must have powerful semiconductor components to support the overall operation. These automotive systems have to remain in normal operation even under extreme conditions as they are related to driving safety. For varied driving environments, the demand for tri-temperature system level testing (Tri temperature SLT) on car chips is rapidly emerging. The product quality of car chips can be assured after rigorous and long-hour high/low temperature testing.

In recent years, the development of AI chips has been the frontline of first-tier manufacturers. The development of artificial intelligence at this stage is based on parallel computing technology and the depth of deep learning. Through the robust capabilities of self-learning and computing inside the chip, the equipment or systems are able to react properly in time. However, these types of high level chips (GPU/FPGA) are very expensive with strict quality demands, and passing through long hours of SLT/Burn-in test is the way to guarantee that every chip can operate normally under high temperature and high voltage environments.

Chroma has been dedicated to FT / SLT Handler technology research and development for a long time. In addition to the desktop equipment for the design house, Chroma also provides multi-functional and efficient test equipment for designers to use. Moreover, Chroma has introduced multi-probe tri-temperature test equipment to satisfy customer’s demand for mass production. The test technologies proprietary to Chroma can also be customized to meet customer needs providing the best test solutions.