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  • How CoreWafer (WAFR) Is Taking Steps To Ensure Product Reliability In The Semiconductor Industry 0 comments
    Jul 19, 2013 9:22 AM | about stocks: WAFR

    The lap-top, cell phone, television, watches and even video game consoles are all made up of networks of semi-conductors. Semiconductors are materials with a small amount of electrical conductivity. As a result, one can draw circuits on a semiconductor "wafer" by converting patterned areas on the surface to insulators and some areas to conductors. As a result, you can, using advanced photographic methods, grow an enormous amount of circuitry in a very small area.

    Semiconductor Industry

    Industry leaders include Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC), Samsung Electronics, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), Texas Instruments (NASDAQ: TXN), and AMD (NYSE: AMD). Over the past 6 months companies in this industry, including those listed, have seen an overall increase in stock price. Intel Corp, for example has had a 62.7% increase in share price from early February to today's (July 18) closing price. Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), a global semiconductor company with facilities around the world was recently ranked in the Top 10 Most Active NYSE stocks in Thursday's trading session. The stock traded 64,079,900 shares and saw an increase in share price of 5.9%.

    The Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), representing U.S. leadership in semiconductor manufacturing and design, announced earlier in May that worldwide sales of semiconductors reached $23.48 billion for the month of March 2013. This was an increase of 1.1% from the previous month when sales were $23.23 billion.

    Global sales for March 2013 were 0.9 percent higher than the March 2012 total of $23.28 billion, and total sales through the first quarter of 2013 were 0.9 percent higher than sales from the first quarter of 2012. *All monthly sales numbers represent a three-month moving average.

    With all of this growth in manufacturing, there is still an entire secondary level to production, which is the actual stress testing of the semiconductors themselves. Failure rates need to be as minimal as possible in order for companies to sell not only the useable semiconductors to electronics manufacturers but electronics manufacturers also need to have sound components in their products for delivery to the end user. After taking a further look into the industry, there's an entire segment of companies that are involved in testing these semiconductors.

    Think of it all as a kind of food-chain:

    Semiconductor manufacturers make semiconductors which are then, used by electronics manufacturers. The electronics manufactures then wholesale products to distributors, which then turn around and bring the product to the mass retail markets. If any one piece of this chain is faulty, the end user suffers and so could sales/revenue due to unreliable products.

    Company Feature:

    CoreWafer Industries, Inc

    CoreWafer Industries, Inc. (OTCPK:WAFR) is a holding company that currently oversees and manages two subsidiary companies across various industries. According to management, the goal of WAFR is to strategically acquire businesses with strong growth potential and a solid business plan in various industries including consumer goods, software, and technology, and. telecom.

    The first of CoreWafer's subsidiaries, CoreWafer Systems, Inc., creates proprietary software, software algorithms, and hardware that is used in the testing and data mining of the most commonly used computer hard drives, memory, and magnetics; as well as other advanced magnetic, semiconductor and nanotechnology-based device components.

    Technology

    Core Wafer technology is capable of performing in-parallel measurements allowing customers to test components many times faster than a non-parallel process. Core Wafer ensures these components, created by leading semiconductor manufacturers, leave the factory in a working state after having been tested and proven. Core Wafer helps ensure that products are manufactured within specification and won't suddenly fail for the end consume. Advanced semiconductor testing is a critical part of the manufacturing lifecycle because manufacturers wish to ensure that they have a low failure rate of the components they create.

    CoreWafer Systems builds advanced test solutions for engineering and manufacturing to verify devices are being made correctly, Reliability tests to predict when the device will fail during usage, and Characterization tests to verify the manufacturing operation is building the device according to the engineered specification. CoreWafer Systems performs these tests with its intellectual property called WLR- Wafer Level Reliability

    WLR

    WLR is a form of testing beyond DC (electrical) parametric testing that allows semiconductor test engineers to determine process integrity and quality. WLR testing can, in many instances, replace packaged-component tests to predict semiconductor reliability. CoreWafer has developed a unique WLR technology that is Predictive, Demonstrated, and Quantitative(PDQ). This complete solution has been applied to PDQ tests with superior results and dramatic cost savings according to the company.

    Product Lines

    1.PDQ-WLR Wafer Level Reliability

    Over the last several years, Wafer Level Reliability (WLR) has become the method of choice to reduce the high costs and lengthy test times of traditional reliability testing. WLR can give quick and accurate feedback on any reliability degradation created through process modifications, equipment changes, or production variations. Thus, WLR reduces reliance on traditional burn-in and life test.

    WLR achieves this by applying stresses greater than normal operating conditions to special structures on the wafer (as The Reliability Challenge opposed to packaged parts). WLR has the advantage of providing reliability information in minutes (or even seconds) that previously took months to obtain. WLR provides a solution to reduce integrated circuit development, qualification, and production cycles without sacrificing quality and

    2. ASUR SDR-Single Device Reliability

    This product provides a PC and instruments-based solution for single device-at-a-time reliability testing with modest equipment investment using proven reliability test algorithms. SDR is a high-performance, low-cost, accelerated reliability and parametric solution for single-site testing that incorporates the proven accelerated techniques of Core Wafer Systems PDQ-WLR using instruments-based solutions.

    This software was previously packaged as part of an offering from Agilent Technologies sold under the name ASUR SDR, which is part of the ASUR scalable set of solutions: one hardware, one software, from instruments to system testers. The solution is now sourced solely from CoreWafer Systems.

    3. Logistics & Transportation

    Northeast Expedite Logistics, LLC ("NEEL") a provider of global logistics services utilizes the services of non-exclusive agents for the delivery of goods. NEEL provides foundational shipping and coordination services between suppliers and destination businesses and warehouses, and the company operates efficiently through cloud based tracking and E-logistics. With industrial production increasing year-over-year, the shortage of qualified drivers and trusted shipping partners has affected the mid-markets for local deliveries. According to the company, as the economy improves, orders for delivery and logistics will increase

    Client Base

    CoreWafer Systems has an install base of over 800 clients and 1,500 installed systems on HP, Keithley, and Agilent Test hardware. With new versions of critical software near completion in its PDQ product line, the company expects that customers are going to need to upgrade over the next 12 months due to End-Of-Life support and desire to utilized advanced features. CoreWafer also expects revenue growth matching its customer upgrade cycle and will be looking to fund additional R&D efforts to deliver semiconductor testing features requested by some of its large manufacturing clients.

    Financial Highlights

    For the 3 month period ending in March 2013, the most recent unaudited filing shows WAFR may be quickly headed in the right direction. Q1 Gross sales increased by 18% from $118,544 (Q1 2012) to $135,450 however, CoreWafer's net sales did see a slight decline by 9.7% attributed to a slightly higher cost of sales. Looking more closely at the Income statement shows that "Other Asset" value accounts for the same amount suggesting that WAFR has continued to grow.

    Also included in the financial statements were decreases in both Operating expenses and the overall Net Loss. The first quarter of 2012 shows that WAFR had operating expenses of $642,267 and for the same period in 2013, the value had decreased significantly to $92,505; an 85.6% drop in operating expenses. This attributed to an overall decrease in net loss as well. 2012's first quarter showed a Net Loss on the books of ($544,686) and for the same period this year, WAFR looks like it may start to go into "the black". CoreWafer shows a Net Loss of ($4,455); this is a decrease of 99.2%.

    Disclosure: I am long OTCPK:WAFR.

    Stocks: WAFR
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