Aehr Test Systems, a worldwide supplier of semiconductor test and reliability qualification equipment, announced it has received a $25.1 million follow-on order from its lead silicon carbide test and burn-in customer for a significant number of FOX-XP wafer level test and burn-in systems to meet their increased capacity needs for the production of silicon carbide devices for electric vehicles.
This customer is a leading Fortune 500 supplier of semiconductor devices with a significant customer base in the automotive semiconductor market. The FOX-XP systems are configured to test 18 silicon carbide wafers in parallel while contacting and testing 100% of the devices on each wafer. The FOX systems are expected to ship from Aehr’s fiscal fourth quarter which begins March 1, 2023, through its fiscal second quarter 2024 ending November 30, 2023.
As with previous orders, this customer plans to purchase later the corresponding initial sets of 18 WaferPak full wafer Contactors that are needed for each system to contact 100% of the devices on each wafer. These WaferPaks are expected to ship at approximately the same time as the systems.
Gayn Erickson, President, and CEO of Aehr Test Systems commented, “We are very excited to receive this substantial follow-on order from our lead silicon carbide customer, who is ramping capacity to meet the enormous growth of silicon carbide devices used in electric vehicles, electric vehicle chargers, and other industrial and renewable energy infrastructure markets. This single order for our FOX-XP 18-wafer systems represents a significant ramp-up in test capacity for this customer, increasing their capacity for wafer-level burn-in by over 50%.
“Silicon carbide MOSFETs have greater efficiency and switching speeds than alternative silicon-based devices, providing greater range and faster charging speeds in electric vehicles. Silicon carbide device demand for electric vehicles is growing significantly. Major semiconductor players such as Infineon, onsemi, STMicroelectronics, and Wolfspeed have each announced plans for significant investments in facilities and capital expenditures to add capacity to meet this demand. Additionally, several companies in Europe, Asia, and the Americas plan to supply silicon carbide power semiconductors to meet the electric vehicle and related charging network market, as well as additional markets that are expected to grow substantially over the next decade or more.
“Forecasts from William Blair estimate that the silicon carbide market for devices in electric vehicles alone, such as traction inverters and on-board chargers, is expected to grow from 119,000 6-inch equivalent silicon carbide wafers for electric vehicles in 2021 to more than 4.1 million 6-inch equivalent wafers in 2030, representing a compound annual growth rate of 48.4%. This equates to almost 35 times larger in 2030 than in 2021. In addition, 6-inch equivalent silicon carbide wafers for other markets such as solar, industrial, and other electrification infrastructure are expected to grow to another 3 million wafers by 2030.
“Aehr’s FOX-XP systems enable our customers to drive the critical electrical stress voltages, currents, and temperatures needed to weed out early life failures which are necessary to meet the mission-critical initial quality and long-term reliability of electric vehicle power inverters in electric engines as well on-board chargers and off-board charging stations used for electric vehicle charging. They also enable customers to very cost-effectively do the extended testing time needed to stabilize and remove the drift seen in the threshold or turn on the voltage of silicon carbide MOSFETs. This is particularly important for devices placed in parallel in the inverters, where even a small variation between threshold voltages in the parallel circuit of the inverter can create long-term reliability issues.
“Aehr’s proprietary and patented WaferPaks have the ability to contact and test 100% of the devices in parallel, and up to several thousand devices at once on each wafer. Along with the FOX-XP test electronics blade, they can provide electrical feedback of key parametric measurements of voltages and currents on every device while also identifying and tracking individual device failures throughout the test process at elevated temperatures up to 150C.”
The FOX-XP system, available with multiple WaferPakContactors (full wafer test) or multiple DiePak Carriers (singulated die/module test) configurations, is capable of functional test and burn-in/cycling of integrated devices such as silicon carbide power devices, silicon photonics as well as other optical devices, 2D and 3D sensors, flash memories, Gallium Nitride (GaN), magnetic sensors, microcontrollers, and other leading-edge ICs in either wafer form factor, before they are assembled into single or multi-die stacked packages, or in singulated die or module form factor.