CREDENCE SYSTEMS CORP

CREDENCE SYSTEMS CORP

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Company Overview
Credence Systems Corporation is a publicly quoted company engaged in the semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing. The company was founded in 1978 and is headquartered in Milpitas, California.
Credence Systems Corporation designs, develops, manufactures, sales, and provides services of advanced semiconductor test and diagnostic systems for the production of semiconductors. The company is organized into two segments: the Automatic Test Equipment (ATE) group and the Diagnostics group.
The ATE group manufactures design-to-test solution products such as ASL 1000 (cost-effective linear integrated circuit (IC) test system for engineering and production environments that is ideal for testing power management, analog, sensors, and discrete IC devices, ASL 3000 (High-throughput, mixed-signal IC production test system that is ideal for testing power management, graphics, audio, video, telecommunications IC devices), ASL 3000RF (radio frequency (RF) production test system for RF power amplifiers (PA), front end modules (FEM), RF transceivers, and general purpose RF-centric devices), Diamond 10 (IC test system for engineering, wafer sort, and final test environments), Diamond 40 (enhanced multi-site production IC test system), Falcon (an analog/power mixed-signal IC test system for automotive, advanced analog and power applications), and Sapphire (an IC test system designed for production, and engineered for characterization). The Diagnostics group manufactures products such as Emiscope (IC circuit debug system using time-resolved emission), GlobalScan (expandable circuit debug system), Meridian (IC electrical failure analysis platform combining an emission microscope and a laser scanning microscope), OptiFIB (front-side and back-side IC editing system with coaxial photon and ion optics), and P3X (Focused Ion Beam (FIB) for IC modification and probe-point creation).
Credence Systems Corporation provides its products to integrated device manufacturers, wafer foundries, outsource assembly and test suppliers, and fabless chip companies to design, manufacture, and test semiconductors for use in applications, such as automobiles, appliances, personal computers, mobile consumer electronics, digital televisions, wireless local area network, and multimedia hardware.
The company works closely in partnership with Cadence Design Systems, Mentor Graphics Corp. Synopsys Inc., SEMI, IEEE IRPS (International Reliability Physics Symposium), The ITC (International Test Conference), and ISTFA (International Symposium for Testing and Failure Analysis) to speed time-to-volume, while reducing cost-of-test.
Credence Systems Corporation markets its products primarily to distributors and semiconductor manufacturers in the United States, Asia Pacific, and Europe through direct sales employees and representatives, and distributors.
Business Summary
Credence Systems Corporation is a provider of test of automated test equipment (ATE) solutions for a range of semiconductor companies. It designs, manufactures, sells and services engineering validation test equipment, diagnostics and failure analysis products, and ATE used for testing semiconductor integrated circuits. It offers an array of test products, including mixed-signal analog to digital applications and wireless and system-on-chip (SoC) devices. The Company’s hardware products are designed to test semiconductors at two stages of their lifecycle, firstly at the prototype stage, and secondly as they are produced in high volume. In August 2008, LTX Corporation and Credence Systems Corporation announced the completion of their merger, resulting in the formation of LTX-Credence Corporation, a global provider of ATE solutions.
Description and history
Credence Systems Corporation (Credence), incorporated in March 1982, is a provider of test of automated test equipment (ATE) solutions for a range of semiconductor companies. The Company designs, manufactures, sells and services engineering validation test equipment, diagnostics and failure analysis products, and ATE used for testing semiconductor integrated circuits (ICs). Credence offers an array of test products, including mixed-signal analog to digital applications and wireless and system-on-chip (SoC) devices. The Company serves the semiconductor industry’s testing needs through a range of products that test digital logic, mixed signal, SoC and radio frequency (RF) semiconductors. Its suite of debug, characterization and production test systems help to ensure quality and cost management through every stage of design, first-silicon validation and high-volume manufacturing. Credence’s hardware products are designed to test semiconductors at two stages of their lifecycle, firstly at the prototype stage, and secondly as they are produced in high volume. Its customers include semiconductor manufacturers, fabless design houses, foundries, and assembly and test services companies. In August 2008, LTX Corporation and Credence announced the completion of their merger, resulting in the formation of LTX-Credence Corporation, a global provider of ATE solutions.

Credence’s products help to bridge the communication gap between design teams, the foundries used to manufacture their products, and the test and diagnostics groups involved in characterization and debug for their products. Semiconductors tested by the Company’s systems are incorporated into a range of products in various markets, including consumer markets, such as digital cameras, Moving Picture Experts Group layer-3 audio (MP3) players, cellular telephones, video/ multimedia products, automotive electronics, computer peripherals, and notebook and desktop computers. The Company focuses on digital logic, analog, mixed-signal, RF and device manufacturers that serve the consumer electronics IC market. Its customers design, manufacture and test semiconductors in high volume for use in applications, such as automobiles, appliances, personal computers, mobile consumer electronics, digital televisions, wireless local area network and multimedia hardware. In addition to marketing its products to semiconductor manufacturers, Credence has developed relationships with a number of assembly and test services companies. The Company markets and sells its products in the United States, Europe and Asia principally through its direct sales organization, with direct sales employees and representatives in over 22 locations.

Analog Mixed-Signal Products

Under the analog mixed-signal products category, the products offered by the Company include Diamond, ASL 3000, ASL 1000, Falcon and Piranha. The Diamond platform is a test solution that addresses the cost-driven markets, such as personal consumer devices, micro controllers, digital base band and display driver technologies. Utilizing a compact peripheral component interconnect (cPCI)-based architecture, the Diamond platform is highly configurable and supports high extendibility and scalability. Its Ethernet ring-based communication architecture supports massive multi-site testing with very low overhead, which results in a better test model for the Company’s customers. The Diamond platform leverages electronics integration and air cooling to produce a compact form factor and utilizes high-density technology in a variety of instruments for digital, mixed-signal and RF tests. It is used for engineering, as well as wafer sort and final production testing. The Diamond platform includes the Diamond 10 mixed-signal ATE.

The ASL 3000 product is an extension of the Company’s ASL product line featuring a number of mixed-signal instruments, expansion to 64 pins of digital capability, and digital signal processing (DSP)-based, mixed-signal test. The ASL 3000 is capable of testing more complex devices and more devices in parallel, and targets a range of ICs used in personal communications. Credence’s RF wireless test products provide tools to IC manufacturers for use in characterization and production test of high-performance RF devices. Incorporating its Modulated Vector Network Analysis (MVNA) technology to test RF devices, the ASL 3000RF is targeted at testing of RF front-end devices that are typically manufactured using gallium arsenide (GaAs), bi-polar (bi-complementary metal oxide semiconductor (Bi-CMOS)) technology. The devices, power amplifiers (PAs), low-noise amplifiers (LNAs), synthesizers, mixers and switches, and integrated combinations of these or base band chips, are used in both digital and analog cell phones. The ASL 3000RF provides capability to test devices compliant with Bluetooth and 802.11 standards.

The ASL 1000 product line tests the traditional analog function blocks, such as amplifiers, regulators, switches and converters either as individual ICs or as larger function ICs, such as battery power management devices in portable electronics devices. This system is highly configurable and targeted at testing the traditional analog building block ICs. The Falcon product is a high-performance analog and mixed-signal test system that offers analog, DSP and other digital capabilities for automotive, smart power and consumer devices. Falcon delivers high throughput with a 200-megahertz digital sequencer per channel architecture, and has high-speed computer/tester interface, and parallel, multi-site and concurrent test capabilities. The Falcon offers a tester-per-pin technology for analog and digital applications, as well as special automotive pins offering a voltage swing up to 30 volts. The Falcon also features gigalink, a high-speed serial bus system, and an analog wave tool (AWT).

The Piranha product is an analog and mixed-signal test system that provides solution for high-volume devices with low and medium-pin counts. The Piranha uses the same technology as the Falcon in a smaller housing without a test head. With frequencies up to 50-megahertz digital and up to 64 pins, the Piranha also features multi-site and parallel test capabilities to lower test costs.

System-On-Chip Products

Under the SoC products category, the Company offers Sapphire. Sapphire is a scalable platform introduced for testing high-performance microprocessors, chipsets and consumer devices. It is designed to be a highly reconfigurable and scalable functional and structural tester for a range of high-performance ICs. All of Sapphire’s test electronics are integrated in the test head and interconnected by a high-bandwidth bus, which results in a lower cost platform and a smaller footprint. Sapphire is used for silicon debug and validation, characterization, wafer sort and final test. The scalable platform allows a variety of digital and mixed-signal instruments to be easily configured to test devices demanding compelling performance (such as PCI Express 2 on graphics chips or very high-speed serial front side buses on microprocessors).

Diagnostics and Characterization Products

The diagnostics and characterization products offered by Credence include EmiScope, OptiFIB, Meridian and Ruby. EmiScope is a configurable, expandable platform for non-invasive, transistor-level internal signal probing of silicon ICs. The EmiScope is a solution for debug of flip-chip packaged and multi-metal layer devices. Using time-resolved photon emission detection technology, the system enables semiconductor manufacturers to perform debug and characterization more effectively, thus bringing products to market with fewer design re-spins. The system’s high-bandwidth electronics, high-resolution imaging and data management capabilities enable semiconductor manufacturers to perform timely design debug, failure analysis and characterization. The EmiScope offers multiple user options, including five lens sets for a variety of package types, high-power cooling, flexible fixture and software data analysis modules.

The OptiFIB product is a focused ion beam (FIB) product used for circuit edit and repair. The OptiFIB product combines ion and photon optics in a single coaxial column with a computer-aided design (CAD) navigation interface, which enables the user to align FIB and CAD images simultaneously, thereby increasing the accuracy of circuit modification. In failure analysis, the OptiFIB product can identify and repair circuit layout at inner metal layers. The system can provide the option to edit 300-millimeter wafers. The Meridian product is a next-generation electrical failure analysis platform combining an emission microscope and a laser scanning microscope that help in fault identification and defect localization for developers of advanced, low-voltage, high-density semiconductor devices. The Ruby product is an integrated backside laser voltage probing tool used for design debug and failure analysis. The system includes laser scanning microscope, infrared (IR) laser, plasma display panel (PDP) optical blocks and imaging optics. It is configured with GaAs solid immersion lens (SIL), which provides better optical resolution for advanced process technology.

The Company competes with Advantest Corporation, Eagle Test Systems, Inc., LTX Corporation, Teradyne Inc., Verigy Ltd., FEI Company and Hamamatsu Corporation.

Founded in Milpitas, California

Business Line
Engaged in the semiconductor and other electronic component manufacturing
Subsidiary
CREDENCE EUROPA LIMITED
Advisor
ERNST & YOUNG LLP
IPO date
10/1993
US SIC Code
3825
Company Address
1421, California Circle

City province or state postal code
95035, MILPITAS, CA
Phone: +1 408 635 4300
Fax: +1 408 635 4985
Country address: UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Website url: www.credence.com