The Changing Role of Test
In the semiconductor industry, the role of test and measurement technology is undergoing a significant transformation. Today’s highly complex devices, characterized by multiple dies, multiple cores and even entire systems on a chip, are more difficult and costly to produce than ever before.
Once viewed as a bottleneck to production flow, today automatic test equipment is seen as a critical enabler, giving chip manufacturers unprecedented control over the fabrication of these highly complex devices. There are numerous technical and economic arguments behind the rise of test technology as a source of competitive advantage, and Advantest in particular is leading this transformation.
In addition to its leading global market position, Advantest has earned a worldwide reputation for blazing new trails in technology innovation. Having established, over its 50-year history, a track record of helping customers turn innovations into practical, market-ready products, in 2003, Advantest became the first ATE supplier to introduce a system-on-chip (SoC) tester platform based on the Open Semiconductor Test Architecture, or OPENSTARÒ, specification. OPENSTAR is an open test architecture that that provides a modular, open platform for accommodating future applications and solutions. This extends the lifetime of the test system and significantly lowers the cost of ownership.
Solid Foundation Leads to Strong Performance
Based in Tokyo, Japan, Advantest was founded in 1954 as Takeda Riken Industry Co., Ltd., producing electronic measuring instruments. In 1972, it entered the semiconductor testing business, began trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1983, and then became Advantest Corporation in 1985. Advantest established Advantest America in 1982 and its European operations in Munich in 1983. In 2001, Advantest strengthened its global position with a listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), trading under the ticker ‘ATE.’ The company also has subsidiaries throughout Asia. Advantest Corporation is responsible for approximately 3,500 employees worldwide.
In 2002, Advantest became a charter member of the Semiconductor Test Consortium the first international, industry-wide collaboration aimed at developing a scalable, flexible test platform to reduce SoC test costs. In June of the same year, the STC became incorporated in the United States as a nonprofit organization. In 2003, the consortium released the specifications for the aforementioned OPENSTAR standard. Today, Advantest -- Advantest America in particular -- remains an active participant in consortia aimed at formulating standards, believing its proliferation will enable more cost-efficient semiconductor development and production.
Advantest America Takes on a Leading Role
With approximately 70 percent of Advantest’s sales now originating outside Japan, Advantest America, Inc. has become an essential component of the corporation’s ongoing business. Advantest America is headquartered in Santa Clara, California, and supports customers from 13 offices throughout the country. U.S. R&D efforts, concentrated in Santa Clara, are directed at next-generation software applications. In 2003, Advantest America launched the Advantest Self Service Portal (ASSP), an e-business suite of online tools and services that enables customers to securely receive information, service, and support in a timely and efficient manner.
For 22 consecutive years, Advantest has been ranked among VLSI Research Inc.’s 10 BEST for customer satisfaction. In the annual VLSI Research survey, semiconductor capital-equipment users are asked to rate their suppliers in 13 categories that exemplify a supplier’s product performance and relationship with its customers. Advantest’s consistent high ranking in this survey attests to the company’s strong focus on anticipating technology trends and developing technology to help customers keep pace with those trends. In SoC test, Advantest achieved the industry’s highest rating in cost-of-ownership, while in memory test, the company led the industry with the highest rating in the categories of uptime and usable throughput.
Maintaining Corporate Social Responsibility
As a conscientious member of the communities in which it operates, Advantest Corporation actively seeks to conduct business in a morally and environmentally conscious fashion. In the 1990s, the company committed to long-term social responsibility. Its comprehensive “green program” involves increased reduction, reuse, and recycling (3-Rs) of materials at the manufacturing plant and business offices. The company also reworked its supply chain, choosing more environmentally friendly suppliers. More recently, Advantest America embarked on a complementary corporate social responsibility drive. Although it’s not a manufacturing entity, Advantest America has initiated numerous environmental actions in its Santa Clara headquarters and field offices to contribute to the 3-Rs.
Advantest America has also implemented social programs to expand the company’s contribution to the communities in which it does business. Advantest America participates in the Second Harvest Food Bank drive, collecting canned and packaged food for the homeless and hungry in both Santa Clara and Chicago. Additionally, in Santa Clara, the company hosts the Family Giving Tree, a nonprofit organization that encourages employees to buy Christmas presents for low-income children in the area.
Over the past several years, Advantest America mobilized employees to volunteer with Rebuilding Together, a home-renovation program for low-income Silicon Valley residents, and with Habitat for Humanity to help build low-income residences in the Bay Area. Advantest will continue to expand its social-responsibility charter in the years ahead as it seeks out new opportunities to strengthen its position as a corporate global citizen.
For more information, visit http://www.advantest.com/
Advantest America, Inc.
3061 Zanker Road
San Jose, CA 95134