Boréas Technologies: “Technical things we can do at test will help us to improve yields in the long run and therefore save us money”
Canadian fabless semiconductor startup Boréas Technologies is already turning heads with its product-differentiating integrated circuits. The semiconductor company with Harvard University roots is known for its haptic applications in consumer, automotive, and industrial goods.
The company has been in the market for five years now and they have been using yieldHUB for almost a year. Boréas Technologies Test Engineer Samuel Dubé said yield management is essential to “make sure we have a quality product”.
“My role is to develop test and to look at the production opportunities to increase the yields and turnaround time, so I’m in charge of looking at the characterization data and NPI (New Product Introduction),” Mr Dubé said.
“If there are any issues I’m there to help fix it and look at all the requirements that have to meet industry spec. Right now I’m making sure the system is ready for high-volume.
“We’re about to have many more wafers and final test so that brings us to a point where it’s very important to have control and view of the manufacturing line where the test is made by the Subcon.”
“It’s helped us to beat our turnaround time in development.”
Mr Dubé said yieldHUB’s alert system has been handy day-to-day.
“It’s very friendly to set up alerts so I can make sure the yield is OK and there’s no downside or other issues. I share the reports directly with my teammates. I make sure everything that comes into yiedHUB is right, I generate the reports and send it to them.
“I can generate characterization reports within a few minutes and it covers all the needs we have - trend data and comparison data, those kinds of reports which would be undoable with other tools for STDF. It would take us an afternoon and now it only takes a few clicks or a few minutes.”
He said yieldHUB has already proven to be a worthwhile investment when they came across some unexpected challenges in 2022.
“There was a problem that was detected in high temperatures. We had yieldHUB’s characterization module and were able to compare the data at different temperatures… That led to a redesign. We were able to find it in the qualification stage prior to going prod [production].
Further, he said: “It’s helped us to beat our turnaround time in development. Having characterization data and reports produced quickly means I can complete a reliability test faster which improves our time to market and this is major. So any qualification can be done faster, it’s hard to calculate the return on this since we’re not in high volume but it means we can improve our time to market.”
“yieldHUB was the company with the fastest turn-around time to get the team answers. ”
He also explained the benefits of using yieldHUB’s platform in the long run.
“It will help us look at test limits and modify the test limits if we have to, and see which part of our IC is the most problematic and improve yield and improve our test to make sure our regulatory is trimmed the right way… So technical things we can do at test will help us to improve yields in the long run and therefore save us money.”
Prior to choosing a Yield Management System (YMS), Boréas went through a rigorous assessment process where they compared a handful of yield management solutions.
“We have an IT team here but they are small and we didn’t want them to struggle with our own database. We don’t want any downtime if one of our servers is out of service, so yes, one of the major factors when comparing solutions was an all-enhanced system.
“Offloading to another company has improved our team so software guys can work on software that will help our customers. It means software teams can work with our customers instead of spending all their time on engineering teams. Because of yieldHUB, our team has a lower impact on our IT resources.”
He said having a great support team behind a YMS is essential.
“Your customer service has always been perfect, you’re a very customer-orientated business. ”
“Part of our top criteria was having great support to help with our desk files and how we treat STDF data into our Subcon. I’d say yieldHUB was the company with the fastest turn-around time to get the team answers. We know we’re not your biggest customer yet I was surprised at how fast you are getting back to us. It feels great knowing we’re a priority and we’re being taken seriously.
“Even if our files are not always perfect Carl (yieldHUB yield management specialist) will always find a solution to upload the data into the database and give us control of the recipe so we can control our data to be uploaded into the database. He also gives us insight into how we can improve our STDF file quality.
“Your customer service has always been perfect, you’re a very customer-orientated business. Your help website is also super useful - it helped me to learn a lot as statistical data is not my first nature.”
“There are many features I like. Since we are a small company and have huge ATE in our Subcon, the data from those two tools may not be the same so I can upload some test data from my engineering tool from Advantest and download the data very quickly, then after doing some changes I can re-upload.
“The scalability and speed on any type of data and any type of file, especially reliability - that yieldHUB can treat it very fast and can generate a report within a few clicks. I like the search engine also, it’s very powerful. Being able to edit data directly from the database is great. yieldHUB allows us to modify the data, so that’s pretty helpful.
“For example, say I have 25 lots with a thousand ICs… In a few clicks, I can modify the name of the sub lots. Also, yieldHUB separates the production data and engineering data which I like a lot. Those two separate databases make things much easier.”
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