Bare board tester (BBT) maker Bioptro has secured orders for BBT for up to February of next year, TheElec has learned.
The testers will be used for chip board testing. High demand for chips is also increasing orders for equipment such as BBT.
BBT inspects the electric characteristics of printed circuit boards. It is used on bare boards before components are mounted on them in the surface mount technology process.
It checks whether circuits on the boards are cut or whether there are short circuits.
Inspecting the boards prior to components being mounted can save costs.
Bioptro offers BBT for boards used for chips and smartphones as well as flexible printed circuit boards.
Over 60% of the company’s annual sales this year is expected to come from BBT for chip boards.
Last year, demand was highest for BBT for flexible circuit boards, which were bought by companies such as Youngpoong Electronics and BH which supplies these boards to Apple.
This meant that Bioptro’s sales were also impacted by how many iPhones Cupertio ships.
But the company is now focusing more on shipping BBT for chips as the pandemic and the chip shortage has caused equipment makers to focus on premium products that are profitable instead of expanding shipment. This is because these equipment makers are also finding it difficult to procure components for their equipment such as controllers and jigs.
BBT makers include Bioptro as well as Japan’s Nidec-Read, Hioki and Yamaha.
Nidec-Read leas in BBT for high-density interconnector boards used in smartphones. Hioki is its rival.
Yamaha focuses on BBT for flexible printed circuit boards.
Nidec-Read, in terms of BBT for chip boards, focuses on those for flip-chip ball grid array (FC-BGA).
To compete against its Japanese rivals, Bioptro has offered jig support to customers and is offering its products at competitive prices.
The South Korean company is going public next month __ it is planning to use 2.1 billion won from its offering to expand its BBT production capacity.
Some funds will also be used to purchase application-specific ICs to improve the measurement performances of its BBTs.
Bioptro is also planning to develop new equipment as it currently relies on BBT heavily for its sales __ as of 2020, BBT sales accounted for 94.3% of its total annual sales that year.