Air Gap Contactor

Prepared by Lam Tuck Hon

Presented at BiTS Workshop on March 6 – 9, 2011


  • The Signal Integrity performance of a Test Contactor is defined as the speed and quality of the signal transmitted and received via Probe Pins in the Test Contactor.
  • These probe pins are further separated as Power, Ground and Signal pins.
  • There are multiple variables that contribute to the electrical performance of the Test Contactors.
  • Enhancing the multiple variables achieves an optimized Electrical Performance.

Basic Requirement

The (Signal Integrity) electrical performance of the Socket/Contactor will depend on:‐

Assign by Customer

  • Pitch
  • Number of GND Probe Pin
  • Number of Signal Probe Pin

Advise By Socket/Pin Maker

  • Diameter of Probe Pin
  • Length of Probe Pin
  • Material of the Socket

Normal Conventional Contactor

Consists of two plates (Top Plate & Bottom Plate) made of Engineered Plastic materials

Technical Challenge

The main challenge in optimizing the electrical performance/SI of a Test Contactor is to have good control of the Signal Path Impedance

The major parts that affect the impedance:‐

  • Pitch to Pitch
  • Diameter of Probe Pin
  • Dielectric Constant of the Material

Pitch to Pitch

  • Assigned By Customer

Diameter of the Probe Pin

  • Machining limitation
  • Limited choices for fine pitch pins


  • Looking for Low Dielectric Constant material

Air Gap Contactor

  • A new feature known as an Internal Air Gap to further improve the control over impedance.
  • By providing an air gap internally in the Test Contactor the Effective Dielectric Constant is further improved.
  • This is because the Air Gap created provides the lowest Dielectric Constant possible and the best Dielectric Loss Tangent value achievable.
  • By reducing the Dielectric Constant this helps in increasing the impedance of the Probe Pin as the impedance is inversely proportional to the Dielectric Constant.
  • Dielectric Constant of Air = 1
  • Dielectric Loss Tangent of Air = 0, Could not be achieved in any known materials.
  • Due to some of the contactor materials being removed, it will make the contactor’s body structure become weak.
  • Cosmoswork software will be used to analyze the Air Gap Contactor structure.

The technical reviews are as below:‐

  • Solving Impedance mismatch issues especially when the impedance is lower than required impedance
  • The Electrical Properties of Air provides the best electrical value ‐ could not be achieved in any materials
  • Signal Pin
    • Improve Insertion Loss
    • Improve Return Loss


  • Easily improve the Electrical Performance for current socket by adding the internal Air Gap, significantly save cost and time.
  • To maximize the electrical performance of the AG Contactors, one must find out the correct height required to obtain the necessary impedance and thus maximizing the Signal Integrity of the Contactors.

2016 Highlights

  • Consolidation of CNC production to one site for better production efficiency and cost effectiveness
  • Span off the PCB division to align with our mid to long term objective of focusing on probe pins and test socket business

2015 Highlights

  • TTSG celebrates its 35 years of engineering success in the semiconductor test tooling industry. Our growth and progression have been made possible with the help and support of our stakeholders including our customers, employees, shareholders, community, and others. We would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to these individuals and institutions that have collaborated with us over the last 35 years.

    To mark this significant milestone, TTSG has launched a “Celebrating 35 Years” logo, which will appear on all TTSG’s marketing collateral.

2014 Highlights

  • Test Tooling Solutions Group announced the merger and integration of Kenshi Singapore and rebrand the new entity under the Test Tooling Solutions Group, effective 1st Sept 2014.
    The merger is expected to further strengthen the core competency and technical capability of the combined unit in the provision of test and tooling solutions and to better position the Group to capture any new business opportunity, in a fast changing landscape.
    The integration exercise is expected to be completed before end of the year.
  • In line with its expansion plan, TTS Taiwan has moved to a bigger facility in Hsinchu. The new office, housing the sales, application and design centre, is within a 5 mins walking distance from the Hsinchu HSR Station. In conjunction with the Semicon Show Taiwan, the new office was officially declared open by the Group CEO and we are glad to receive our first visitor from Toshiba Japan. Our office is located at 8F-3, No.229, Fuxing 2nd Rd., Zhubei City, Hsinchu (新竹縣竹北市復興二路229號8樓之3)
  • TTSG today announces the successful registration of the company logo and tagline. The trade mark is granted under the registration number 2012018638 for a period of 10 years.

2013 Highlights

  • TTSG has been granted the patent for its new probe pin design in Japan. This new probe pin design has a longer spring coil that tapered gradually to reduce stress and improve the electrical performance as well as life span of the pin.

2012 Highlights

  • TTSG is pleased to introduce the new green logo and tagline- feel green, live green and be green ©
  • Received an award from Broadcom Inc in recognition of our outstanding service and support
  • TTSG has acquired another 10 units of brand new CNC machines from Citizen and Fanuc with a list price of more than USD1 million as part of the expansion plan
  • TTSG has been granted the patent for Offset Taper Spring (OTS) by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) filed on Dec 27, 2011

2011 Highlights

  • Setup secondary processing plant in JB
  • Expansion of TTS Thailand to double the capacity
  • Launch of New Corporate Branding
  • Arrival of 10 more new Citizen machines, latest model auto lathe machines from Japan as part of the overall expansion plan for 2011
  • Integration of Kenstronics Malaysia with Test Tooling Solutions Group

2010 Highlights

  • Expansion of TTS Japan to a new office at Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan

2009 Highlights

  • Launched first Intranet to enable employees to share, view and locate company/department's information
  • 5S implementation to approach for productivity, quality and safety improvement into the production floor
  • Test Tooling Solutions (TTSM) and Test Tooling Designs (TTDM) have achieved the certification of ISO 9001:2008 for Quality Systems

2008 Highlights

  • Obtained the certification for RoHS (Directive 2002/95/EC on the Restriction of the Use of Certain Hazardous Substances in Electrical and Electronic Equipment) for its Test Probe
  • Acquired 100% of the R-Squared Circuits Inc, a Printed Circuit Board Manufacturer for ATE testers located in Folsom California

2007 Highlights

  • Setup Auto Lathe factory in JB
  • TTSM officially took possession of Plant A in Penang

2006 Highlights

  • Purchased 50,000 sq. ft of a new production facility in Johor, Malaysia
  • Completed the expansion and renovation of Plant B in Penang
  • Acquired BigHub Technology Sdn Bhd and change its name to Test Tooling Designs (M) Sdn Bhd (TTDM)
  • Established its wholly owned subsidiary in Malaysia, Test Tooling Solutions (M) Sdn. Bhd. (TTSM)
  • Incorporated Test Tooling Solutions Group Pte Ltd in Singapore (TTS Group)
  • Relocation of Corporate HQ from USA to Singapore