BiTS and Pieces


The snow in New England was turning gray. Even skiing had lost its appeal. Feeding birds, listening to the forecasted weather, and leaning into the wind had become mundane. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Perhaps the layers of clothing, reddened chapped faces, icy top layers over snowy surfaces, or just the bland sameness caused natives to long for a really hot day.

Then along came the Burn-in & Test Socket Workshop (BiTS) on March 11-14 at the Hilton Hotel in Mesa, AZ. What I really liked about this workshop was its size. There were 60 tabletop booths and 580 attendees. Interconnect Devices, Inc. talked about their spring-loaded probes and test lab. Micronics Japan Co. discussed their probe cards, full-contact test system, wafer prober, test socket, and RF probe. Yokowo presented their super-fine contact probes and test units. Honeywell displayed their metal-based burn-in materials with phase-change adhesives. Nano Measurements Inc. talked about their reliability qualification labs with full DUT hardware support for PCB design, fabrication, assembly, and test. Synergetix had a full display of test sockets, spring probes, and lids. Bob Peir of Foxconn Electronics, Inc. offered memory BGA burn-in and test sockets. Integrated Test Corp. talked of how they address signal delivery and provide direct ATE interface. EDA Industries displayed information on their burn-in chambers for reliability lab and mass production. Gryphics offered a family of high-performance SMT sockets with patented contact technology. Piper Plastics, Inc. showed its microprocessor test sockets made from a proprietary grade of VICTREX PEEK polymer. Joel Urban of Paricon Technologies Corp. had lots of information on strip testing. 3M’s news was that their Electronics Solutions Division and Antares Advanced Test Technologies signed a global distribution agreement authorizing Antares to sell 3M’s BGA Textool socket.

Every display had new products and friendly staff. After a while, we began to warm up. As it reached 95 º attendees were given sombreros to wear during a picnic lunch of spicy Mexican food.

Workshop presentations, given in one room and referenced in one spiral-bound proceedings, contributed to idea sharing. Socket topics included analysis and characterization methods; designs for electrical integrity; pushing the power envelope; hot topics; design and use challenges; handler, socket and device interfacing, and more. Norman Armendariz, Ph.D., gave an interesting presentation, “A New Probe Card Approach for WLCSP Testing.” Texas Instruments has been testing packages at final test after singulation for some time. However, the increased use of WLCSP formats required cost-effective RF testing at the wafer level, or before singulation to reduce test costs. They converted final test boards, which already used similar sockets and RF pogo pins, into a wafer-level probe card for WLCSP, avoiding an expensive probe and a separate RF final test step.

My returning flight came through Chicago, but remained there for two days because a snow storm had closed down all airports in New England. The industry is warming up and so will New Hampshire, real soon.

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Gail Flower