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Products (Precision Instrument - Analytical and Measuring Instrument)

Tokyo Seimitsu Co., Ltd. / ACCRETECH: Wafer Probing Machine UF3000EX


We are quick to take for granted the many products that we use in our daily lives. It is all too easy to forget that these products, so available and convenient to us, have only been approved for use by us after passing through multiple quality testing throughout all the stages of manufacturing, and after clearing rigorous standards at each of those stage.  Even the materials and machinery necessary to manufacture these products are themselves measured for quality, and again only those that are approved can be put into use. It is measurement and testing processes like these than ensure the safety, stable performance, and environmental impact of the products we use day-to-day.

Measuring instruments that guarantee the quality of products are the foundation of society. This is the principle advocated by Tokyo Seimitsu, the feature company of this article. Today, Tokyo Seimitsu, marketed as ACCRETECH in some regions of the world, is a global corporation producing precision measuring systems and semiconductor manufacturing equipment.

Wafer Probing Machine UF3000EX

Wafer probing machines test the quality of wafers during the final manufacturing process. The machine sends electrical signals, and the responses of a wafer allow the machine to determine whether all of the integrated circuits imprinted on the wafer are functioning correctly.

Wafers are one of the most basic components of integrated circuits, which in turn are vital to modern technology. Wafers are made of a semiconducting material, most typically silicon in recent years, which has been processed into thin, disk-shaped sheets. The wafers are then marked using photolithography, and electronic circuits are imprinted onto the wafer based on these markings to form the integrated circuits. Because they form the substrate, or foundation, of an integrated circuit, the wafers must be of high quality; a high-quality circuit cannot be achieved upon a poor quality substrate . It can therefore be said that the role of high-precision wafer probing machines in guaranteeing the quality of wafers puts them at the foundation of the system producing industrial components intended for use in our society—echoing  the corporate principle that drives business at Tokyo Seimitsu.

Since 1994, wafer probing machines have been the top-selling product within Tokyo Seimitsu’s semiconductor manufacturing equipment business. In fact, Tokyo Seimitsu is the world’s number one supplier of wafer probing machines. The company has also been on the VLSIresearch 10 BEST list for customer satisfaction every year since 1996, in addition to a long history of other accomplishments worldwide.

The UF3000EX was introduced into the market in 2006 as a next-generation machine. It incorporates groundbreaking design concepts that allow for dramatic improvements in wafer probing precision and quality, including the following:
•   Astoundingly high throughput, amounting to double that of previous models, made possible by the synergistic effect of a new algorithm for high-speed wafer handling and a new drive unit for a high-speed and low-noise XY stage, developed specifically for wafer probing machines.
•   World-class inspection contact and load capacity ensured by the Z axis, as well as a high-precision wafer stage with a topology-optimizing structural design that completely eliminates position shifts.
•   Super high-rigid chucking with a 4-axes driving mechanism for increased accuracy in positioning.
•   New features for a dramatic increase in usability, including a 15-inch color display for increased visibility, color processing and ultra zooming capabilities on wafer alignment images, and wafer handling navigation.

The development and production of semiconductor manufacturing equipment at Tokyo Seimitsu dates back to 1962, and wafer probing machines were initially produced in 1964, the first of their kind to be manufactured in Japan. In 1979, the company developed Japan’s first fully automatic wafer probing machine, the A-PM-3000A. This machine was a highly functional product that answered the needs of the semiconductor industry, and the overall technological capability of Tokyo Seimitsu, including the design of its machines, was highly praised. In 1980, the automatic wafer probing machine was awarded the International Trade and Industry Minister’s Award at the 10th Machine Design Awards.

The development of the UF3000EX was backed by this tradition of great technological strength, and the machine represents the very best of Tokyo Seimitsu’s technology today.

Principles of Product Development at Tokyo Seimitsu

In the semiconductor industry, whenever a product goes through a change of generation, the balance between supply and demand is disturbed, creating inevitable cycles of boom and bust. The industry is also affected by changes in the overall economy. For these reasons, a semiconductor equipment manufacturer needs to have solid operating foundations that can withstand these frequent economical fluctuations.

Tokyo Seimitsu operates under the guidance of the company’s principles of product development, which were implemented to shape the continuous evolution of the company’s strong research and development skills and standards. The four principles are as follows:
1)  Create products that are number one in the global market.
2)  Finance research and development from internal cash flows.
3)  Target fields that have a high barrier to entry but a large market size and high market demand.
4)  Seek business partners to share both the costs and successes of product development.

Under the above principles, Tokyo Seimitsu has created within its corporate group a network that transcends national and industrial barriers and acts as one entity to achieve its goals from a global perspective. In addition to wafer probing machines, Tokyo Seimitsu is also renowned internationally for its wafer dicing machines (used to cut wafers into individual chips), which possess the world’s smallest footprint and fastest processing speeds. The company also answers various in-line measurement needs by continuously supplying the market with high-precision multipurpose measuring instruments. Even though Tokyo Seimitsu is part of a rapidly changing industry, the company is sure to continue its steady growth as a global corporation.

26 August, 2012

About the author
Hiromi Jitsukata is a reporter for Japanest NIPPON