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MEDIA & MARKETING | Staff Reporter, Singapore
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Ardentec Singapore Pte Ltd wins the Manufacturing Category at 6th SBR International Business Awards

The company and a vendor co-developed a measurement gauge and pogo pin solution to improve the TDR success rate.

There are numerous companies specialising in providing semicon assembly and test services but only a few are able to nurture their customers with absolute perfection - Ardentec holds the attitude of integrity and the spirit of continuous improvement towards total customer satisfaction and strive for the innovative testing technology.

Facing the challenges entailed with a poor pogo pin design and the absence of a reference value for the Tester Head Docking and Redocking Process, Ardentec Singapore Pte Ltd partnered with a vendor to co-develop a measurement gauge and reinvented the pogo pin to a four-point crown tip design.

With this innovation and the adoption of new technologies, Ardentec Singapore received the Manufacturing Award during the recently concluded International Business Awards.

Being the extended arm of Ardentec Corporation Taiwan (as a strategic location) in Southeast Asia, the company is dedicated to providing its regional customers with better services through a shorter cycle time to meet their demands. Ardentec is believed to be a perennial company with its engineering capabilities, technical innovations, employee endeavours and passion.

Ardentec observed that time-domain reflectometry (TDR) is the top contributor amongst machine downrate failure modes. TDR applies a signal input into a transmission line and measures a reflected return signal as a function of time, reflecting the electrical quality of signal paths from a tester channel to a probe card’s tip. Over a 6-month period from August 2017 to January 2018, the company’s J750 tester platform recorded an average monthly TDR failure count of 140 cases, which contributes about 43% of TDR Failure Rate.

Each time the TDR fails, the tester has to be down for further troubleshooting as it will impact the wafer electrical testing result to customer if it is not fixed. Typically, this failure takes two hours to recover the tester system.

At present, troubleshooting is conducted blindly without any reference value for the Tester Head Docking and Redocking Process.

Test head planarity gap can cause pogo pins to have uneven compression force and can lead to TDR failures. Meanwhile, the docking head’s offset loading force can cause the pogo pin to be abnormally worn out, thereby resulting to an intermittent contact issue.

The existing design of the pogo pin results to a poor contact between the pogo tower and the probe card, which is the fixture used for wafer electrical testing. On the other hand, the singe plunger tip design causes the contact to be deteriorated due to wear and tear coupled with wafer electrical testing during production.

To solve this, Ardentec co-developed with a vendor a measurement gauge for tester head planarity check and initiated to redesign the pogo pin.

Because of its ineffective singe plunger tip structure, the pogo pin was redesigned to a four-point crown tip design to have better contact between the pogo tower and the probe card. This four-point crown tip pogo pin design has been patented and used since the 2nd half of 2018.

With these solutions, the TDR success rate has significantly and consistently improved from 57% in January 2018 to around 90% from November 2018 to March 2019. The troubleshooting time required to fix TDR failure was also reduced from two hours to 30 minutes per case.

Lastly, the TDR failure rate improved from an average of 140 cases per month to an average of 32 cases monthly, thereby reducing downtime. This saves 264 hours spent in downtime per month, which the company can utilise for production.

These innovative solutions and enhanced results have earned Ardentec Singapore various accolades. The branch was hailed runner-up across Ardentec Group’s company-wide QCC competition, earning the qualification to represent Ardentec in the Taiwan regional-wide QCC Competition in 2019.

The Singapore Economic Development Board also filed these manufacturing innovations as a Productivity Grant Project.

The International Business Awards, presented by Singapore Business Review, was held last 11 July 2019 at Conrad Centennial Singapore.

This year’s nominations were judged by a panel consisting of Henry Tan, Managing Director, NEXIA TS; Choo Eng Chuan, EY Asean Markets Leader and Partner, International and Corporate Tax Services, Ernst & Young Solutions LLP; Ng Jiak See, Executive Director, Head of Corporate Finance Advisory, Deloitte Singapore & Southeast Asia; and Toh Kim Teck, Assurance Partner, Foo Kon Tan LLP.

Check out the event photos during the awards night here.

If you would like to join the 2020 awards and be acclaimed for your company’s exceptional technology innovations, please email Eleonor Angeles at eleonor@charltonmediamail.com 

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