Industry News, Trends and Technology, and Standards Updates

Our Cimetrix Japan Team is headed to SEMICON Japan in Tokyo Next Week

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Director of Marketing on Dec 1, 2021 5:00:00 PM

SEMICON Japan 2021 is back and our team in Japan will be there! You can read about it now in Japanese or below in English.

SCJapan Hybrid Logo_horizontal_4c-2

セミコンジャパン2021が東京ビッグサイトで12月15日から17日の3日間開催されます。 「共に前進しよう」のスローガンの下、弊社Cimetrixも出展致します。

Cimetrix独自のブースを以て出展する2回目のセミコンジャパンとなります。今年はブース番号#1608にて皆さまのご来場をお待ちしております。また共同出展を行って頂ける、ローツェ株式会社様(#5411)、株式会社明電舎様(#4941)にても、Cimetrixのご案内を差し上げております。

半導体産業における製造技術、装置、材料をはじめ、車やIoT機器などのSMARTアプリケーションまでをカバーするエレクトロニクス製造サプライチェーン唯一の国際展示会。東京ビッグサイトでのリアル展示会に加えて、リアルとオンラインセミナーも提供し、今年は「SEMICON Japan 2021 Hybrid」として開催されます。

Cimetrixは私共が誇る世界標準としてご利用いただいておりますGEM通信、装置制御ソリューション、またEDAなどのソフトウェア製品をご紹介させて頂きます。

また生産現場でご利用いただけるハイパフォーマンスデータ収集のプラットフォームであるサピエンスもご紹介しております。 CimetrixのSapienceはクラウドネイティブのデータ解析やマシーンラーニング等にご活用いただける装置データ収集のパイプラインプラットフォームシステムです。

では皆さまのご来場を楽しみにしております。

Meet with Us


SCJapan Hybrid Logo_horizontal_4c-2
SEMICON Japan 2021, with the theme “Move Forward Together” will be held at Tokyo Big Sight from 15 December – 17 December, and Cimetrix Incorporated will be there!

We will exhibit for the second year at booth #1608 and welcome you to come and join us. You can also find information about Cimetrix at our partner Rorze Corporation (booth #5411).

SEMICON Japan will be a hybrid show this year that offers both an in-person exhibition as well as programs and seminars online. It is a must-attend event that connects technologies in the digital transformation era, bringing together the entire semiconductor manufacturing supply chain as well as the “SMART” applications powered by semiconductor technology such as IoT.

Cimetrix will be showing all our world-class GEM equipment connectivity and control software solutions, as well as our EDA/Interface A products. These factory automation software products all leverage open-architecture designs and industry standards.

Cimetrix Sapience will also be available for a demo at our booth. Sapience is a scalable, distributed platform for managing high-performance data pipelines. This cloud-native platform is ideal for streaming analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence applications requiring massive amounts of data directly from the production equipment.

We encourage you to stop by booth #1608 and speak with an expert for your Smart Equipment and Smart Factory software needs. You can also book a meeting with us in advance by clicking the button below. We hope to see you soon!

Meet with Us

 

Topics: Industry Highlights, Semiconductor Industry, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Events, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0

A Delayed SEMICON West 2021 is Going Live and Cimetrix Will be There!

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Director of Marketing on Dec 1, 2021 10:45:00 AM

SEMICON-west-2021-banner

After missing the live and in-person event last year due to the pandemic, SEMICON West is once again opening its doors to connect the entire electronics supply chain, and Cimetrix Incorporated will be exhibiting. Our booth is #345 and we hope you'll stop by and see us!

SEMICON West will be held December 5-7 in the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA, USA – the theme for this hybrid event is "Explore, Network, Interact." After almost two years of restricted travel and virtual events, SEMICON West is a great place to reconnect with contacts, customers, and partners to drive your business forward. We couldn’t be more excited about finally meeting in person for the first time since 2019!

Cimetrix expert Alan Weber will participate in the "Optimizing Your Manufacturing—Connecting the Smart Way" track in the Smart Manufacturing Pavilion on Tuesday, December 7 at 2:45 PST. His presentation is titled “Accelerating Advanced Backend Automation Through Smart Application of Frontend 300mm Standards" and we invite you to join us at the Smart Manufacturing Pavilion to learn about this important topic firsthand.

Stop by our booth any time to visit with our team of experts and discuss our standards, connectivity, and control solutions. We will also feature our Smart Manufacturing cloud-native connectivity and application platform Cimetrix Sapience®. You can visit with us in our booth any time during the show or make an appointment ahead of time by clicking the link below.
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Topics: Industry Highlights, Semiconductor Industry, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Events, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0

A New Benefit for our CIMConnect Customers: Training Videos Available Now

Posted by Brian Rubow: Director of Solutions Engineering on Nov 24, 2021 11:45:00 AM

Background

Cimetrix CIMConnectTM customers enjoy many benefits to maintaining an active support contract, and today we are announcing yet another one: access to a set of product-specific training videos.

A few years ago, the Solutions Engineering team at the Cimetrix Connectivity Group posted product training material including the full set of CIMConnect training PowerPoint presentations to facilitate self-training for those unable to attend a formal session. We update this repository periodically as the training material is revised and improved. The material is available online through the Customer Portal. After logging in, you can find the presentations here:

CIMConnect-training-videos-pic1

Training Videos

To complement the presentation material shown above, the Solutions Engineering team is now creating video training material. As of mid-June, 2021, the first set of training videos for CIMConnect is also available via the customer portal (see below).

CIMConnect-training-videos-pic2

By clicking on the “CIMConnect Video Library”, you can see full set of available training videos and access them via this table:

CIMConnect-training-videos-pic3

The material is organized by topic, such as Collection Events or Status Variables. Each topic is subdivided into one or more instruction parts. When there is a lab, the implementation of the lab is covered twice. First, the implementation of the lab is reviewed and demonstrated in CIMConnect’s “Getting Started” sample application. Second, the lab is implemented step by step from scratch in a new application.

A few of the training PowerPoint presentations are not yet complete but should be available soon. This includes topics like Remote Commands, Equipment Constants, Factory Setup, and Operator Interface. Solutions Engineering plans to expand the training to other products as well.

Also, note that other videos are also available that go beyond the scope of the training material. These are found on the same “CIMConnect Video Library” page at the bottom.

Customers are welcome to purchase CIMConnect training and/or consulting services at any time. The training material described above is not a substitute for working directly with a product and standards expert, where a customer can discuss specific equipment hardware, software architecture, and unique customer requirements. Nevertheless, this material should help our customers when they need a refresher course and especially when new employees are assigned to work with CIMConnect after its initial development.

Topics: Industry Highlights, SECS/GEM, Semiconductor Industry, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0, Cimetrix Products

Cimetrix is Going to Productronica Next Week!

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Director of Marketing on Nov 10, 2021 11:15:00 AM

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Next week, the world will once again gather at the industry’s leading trade fair for electronics development and production. The 2021 productronica and SEMICON Europa shows are open for in-person attendance and Cimetrix Incorporated will definitely be there. We hope to see many of you there as well!

The 2021 productronica show is co-located once again with SEMICON Europa in Munich, Germany from November 16-19 at the Messe München expo center. With safety protocols in place, Messe München is opening its doors to welcome the decision-makers and thought leaders from the industry to participate in showing new and innovative products and solutions spanning the entire value chain.

The Cimetrix booth will be in Productronica halls, where we will demonstrate our Smart Factory platform Cimetrix Sapience, to show how we can help with your smart manufacturing connectivity and application needs. Sapience, a cloud-native platform, features a distributed, scalable architecture for managing high-performance data pipelines from electronics equipment. As such, it is ideal for streaming analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence applications requiring data directly from the production equipment.

We are also highlighting an open position for a Munich-based Field Applications Engineer at the productronica career center and here on cimetrix.com.


We invite you to drop by our booth at productronica #437 in Hall A3, or you can make an appointment ahead of time by clicking the button below. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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Topics: Industry Highlights, Semiconductor Industry, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Events, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0

Continuous Flow Sample Added to Cimetrix CIMControlFramework

Posted by Derek Lindsey: Product Manager on Oct 27, 2021 11:14:00 AM

Cimetrix CIMControlFramework™ (CCF) is a software development kit (SDK) that enables users to design and implement a high-quality equipment control solution using provided components for supervisory control, material handling, operator interface, platform and process control, and automation requirements. CCF is built on the reliable Cimetrix connectivity products which provide GEM/GEM300/EDA interface functionality.

See previous series of blog posts on the functionality of CCF here.

While CCF does provide a built-in interface to handle GEM300 messages, CCF can be used just as effectively for building back-end and electronics equipment control applications handling the movement of chips and trays rather than wafers and carriers.black-red-chip-1

To demonstrate this ability, Cimetrix has added a continuous flow back-end sample as one of the fully working implementations provided with CCF. If you are already familiar with CCF, you will have seen the front-end Atmospheric and Vacuum cluster tool samples.

The continuous flow sample is different from these other samples as described below.

JEDEC input and output trays

For the Atmospheric and Vacuum samples, material is delivered as wafers in SEMI E87 carriers. For back-end and electronics markets, material is usually not in the form of a wafer and is not delivered in a carrier. For the Continuous Flow sample, the material is delivered on input trays and removed from the system on output trays. All trays used in the sample are similar to JEDEC trays, standard-defined trays for transporting, handling, and storing chips and other components. The trays have slots that can hold material in rows and columns. A JEDEC tray may appear as follows:

Integrated-circuits-tray-1The Continuous Flow sample allows users to specify the number of rows and columns in a tray using configuration parameters. The sample has two input trays and two output trays.

Continuous Flow

industrial-start-panel-1As the name of the Continuous Flow sample indicates, material is continually processed until there is no more material or until the user tells it to stop. The sample does not use SEMI E40 Process Jobs or SEMI E94 Control Jobs to determine how material is processed. Rather the user selects a recipe to use during processing and presses the Start button. Material will continue to be processed until the Stop button is pressed.

By default, the Continuous Flow sample will process all material from the first input tray and then all of the material from the second input tray. When an input tray becomes empty, the empty tray will be removed and replaced with a full one. Similarly, when an output tray becomes full, it is automatically removed and replaced with an empty one. This allows the processing to run continuously until stopped.

Scheduler

The Continuous Flow sample scheduler is different from the schedulers in the Atmospheric and Vacuum samples in that it is not dependent on Process Jobs or Sequence Recipes to know how to move material through the system. It simply picks the next input material and places it in the first available process slot. It then picks the next completed material and places it in the first available output slot.

Visualization

A new visualization was created for the Continuous Flow sample. Rather than using round material, SEMI E87 carriers, load ports, and wafer handling robots, the new visualization draws rectangular material that looks like chips that may arrive in JEDEC trays. Rather than trying to render a robot, the visualization renders a circular end effector that moves material through the system. The following screenshot displays what the sample visualization looks like while processing.

CCF_continuous_flow-1

In an upcoming version of CCF, the components of this visualization will be included in a visualization library that users can employ to customize their visualization more easily than has previously been possible in CCF.

Remote Commands

The Continuous Flow sample comes with three fully implemented remote commands that allow a host or host emulator to run the continuous flow sample. These commands are:

  • PP_SELECT – Specify the recipe to be used for processing material.
  • START – Start material processing using the selected recipe.
  • STOP – Don’t introduce new material to be processed and stop after all processed material has been sent to output trays.

The following shows the S2F49 remote command body for selecting the recipe as sent from Cimetrix EquipmentTest.

CCF_continuous-flow-2

Conclusion

We hope that the new Continuous Flow sample in CCF allows those who are creating semiconductor back-end or electronics equipment control solutions a great starting point for creating their applications. Please contact Cimetrix for additional information by clicking the button below.

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Topics: Industry Highlights, Semiconductor Industry, Equipment Control-Software Products, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0, Cimetrix Products

All You Could Ever Want to Know about Smart Manufacturing – in a Two-Volume Treatise

Posted by Alan Weber: Vice President, New Product Innovations on Aug 26, 2021 1:15:00 PM

A little over 3 years ago, the Elsevier publishing company decided that the topic of Smart Manufacturing had achieved enough global breadth and momentum to warrant in-depth treatment in an edited set of articles. As they researched the domain, they realized that it split neatly into two categories of material: a general set of concepts that are applicable in any industry, and example implementations that are specific to a small set of related industries.

The editors then consulted with a number of industrial and academic subject matter experts to subdivide each category into a set of topics, and the Table of Contents for each of the two volumes was born. The results were first published in August 2020, and are available from Elsevier:

  • Volume 1: Concepts and Methods (426 pages) 

    “Research efforts in the past ten years have led to considerable advances in the concepts and methods of smart manufacturing. Smart Manufacturing: Concepts and Methods puts these advances in perspective, showing how process industries can benefit from these new techniques. The book consolidates results developed by leading academic and industrial groups in the area, providing a systematic, comprehensive coverage of conceptual and methodological advances made to date.”

  • Volume 2: Applications and Case Studies (528 pages) 

    “Research efforts in the past decade have led to considerable advances in the concepts and methods of smart manufacturing. Smart Manufacturing: Applications and Case Studies includes information about the key applications of these new methods, as well as practitioners’ accounts of real-life applications and case studies.”

One of the editors was Dr. Thomas F. Edgar, a long-time professor in the University of Texas Chemical Engineering department who specialized in process modeling, control, and optimization. He is also credited by many as being the “father of semiconductor APC" (advanced process control), since a number of his graduates ended up in the automation/process engineering department at AMD/Austin and transformed this domain from spreadsheets and “sneakernet” to a fab-wide, model-based process control system.

Needless to say, I was honored when he called to say that Elsevier wanted a case study on the semiconductor industry’s use of smart manufacturing, and to ask if I would write that section. I readily agreed, and provided the chapter titled “Smart Manufacturing in the Semiconductor Industry: An Evolving Nexus of Business Drivers, Technologies, and Standards.” The abstract for that chapter follows:

“The semiconductor industry embarked on its own “Smart Manufacturing” journey well over 30 years ago, long before the term was coined. The continuous productivity improvements that we now take for granted are essential for creating and building the devices that fuel our electronics-based global economy and maintaining commercial viability in a hypercompetitive industry. However, what we have learned in the process is that like many scientific endeavors, it is a journey without a destination. As new market opportunities are met with new device and system technologies in an ever-changing business environment, the list of manufacturing challenges is never complete.

This is where the global Smart Manufacturing initiative enters the picture. Although its key tenets are not specific to the semiconductor industry, the attention it drew to this topic triggered the formation of the SEMI Smart Manufacturing Community, which now provides a forum for thought leaders across the semiconductor manufacturing value chain to focus on these important challenges. To put this initiative in its proper perspective, this chapter explores the past, present, and future of Smart Manufacturing in the semiconductor industry.”

Regarding the Smart Manufacturing Initiative (now with chapters in several geographic regions), SEMI is the perfect host for such a group. Since its charter includes both trade and standardization activities for the industry worldwide, and its members develop the diverse technologies that comprise the electronics industry, SEMI forms an ideal backdrop for describing the evolution of semiconductor Smart Manufacturing. This is illustrated in the figure below.

Smart-manufacturing-two-volume-image

Thinking back over my almost 50 years in the industry, I think the factor that contributed the most to the industry’s current success was the evolution of its collaboration culture. Whether driven by the need for industry efficiency, the fear of extinction, or the recognition of mutual interdependence, today’s global semiconductor industry enjoys a collaborative culture that is unequaled in other for-profit industries.

If the topic of Smart Manufacturing piques your interest, I invite you to visit the Elsevier websites shown above for more information. I have also distilled the semiconductor case study chapter into a set of slides that I will be happy to review/discuss with you.

We wish you the best on your company’s Smart Manufacturing journey – let us know how we can help!

Ask an Expert

Topics: Industry Highlights, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0, Machine Learning

Machine Learning in Smart Manufacturing: Technologies You Should Be Tracking Now

Posted by Alan Weber: Vice President, New Product Innovations on Jun 3, 2021 11:45:00 AM

shutterstock_510171997-1We’re drowning in data but still thirsting for wisdom… This is a paraphrase of what one of the virology doctors interviewed at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic said about the challenges they faced in charting a course of action using the myriad volumes of data being collected around the world. The sentiment reminded me that in an entirely separate but no less complex domain: electronics manufacturers face similar challenges using data from the thousands of disparate sources in a factory to make the decisions that ultimately determine the viability of their enterprises.

To the extent that these two domains have a similar problem statement, they also share a set of solution technologies. Among them is Machine Learning (ML), which is a promising subset of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The essence of Machine Learning is using data collected from past events to develop and train a model that can make reliable predictions about the outcome of future, as-yet-unseen events.

Machine Learning technology is already more ubiquitous than you might imagine. For instance, if you’ve ever 1) ordered one of Amazon’s product recommendations based on your previous purchases and search history, 2) seen the names on the faces of people in your photo library (and updated the ones it got wrong), 3) rated your satisfaction with a Netflix movie you’ve just watched, or 4) interacted with one of the language translation apps on your smart phone, congratulations—you are now an integral part of the Machine Learning ecosystem of the suppliers of those everyday products.

Beyond these familiar examples, two factors have contributed to the rapid ascendance of ML as a viable production technology: the availability of massive amounts of data and affordable storage and processing power to analyze it. As a result, Machine Learning is now seen as a key enabling technology for Smart Manufacturing in multiple industries and at multiple positions along the value chain.

Documented use cases in semiconductor front-end factories include production scheduling and dispatching, process analysis and excursion prediction, equipment FDC (fault detection and classification), preventive maintenance, failure prediction, trace data analysis, and so on. Equipment suppliers are likewise looking for ways to add value to their products by offering ML-based capabilities as an option. Semiconductor back-end and SMT factories and their respective equipment suppliers are also actively evaluating ML technologies. These instances all have one thing in common: the need for quality equipment data… and lots of it.

Two of the most prevalent approaches to Machine Learning are 1) supervised learning, which uses labelled data samples to develop a model that predicts the labels for future samples; and 2) unsupervised learning, which can use unlabeled data samples to develop a model of expected behavior that can predict deviations from that behavior for future samples.

Both categories have direct applications in manufacturing and include a range of specific algorithms that may be suited to various problem types. The trick is knowing which technique(s) to apply in which situations, and once chosen, how to tune a particular technique for a given problem.
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One category of public-domain algorithms that has shown significant promise for commercial applications has been labelled “Deep Learning,” and it refers to a variety of “Artificial Neural Net” approaches. These algorithms fall into the supervised learning category but can nevertheless be applied in situations where the labels are not known a priori (e.g., analyzing system log files to detect anomalous behavior).

A frequently-cited candidate for a supervised learning algorithm is predictive maintenance, which uses as input a high-dimensional (i.e., lots of parameters) trace vector of equipment parameters with a binary label (“good” or “failed”). With enough production history this data can be used to train and validate a failure prediction model that would improve on the “run to fail” or “just in case” maintenance strategies used today.

Likewise, a good candidate for unsupervised learning is anomaly detection using equipment log file data (could also include trace data) as input. Many equipment suppliers save this kind of data for “after the fact” analysis of problems that occur in manufacturing without a clear sense of what might be useful. Deep Learning algorithms are particularly adept at using high dimensional data to create complex mathematical models that represent “normal” behavior and can be used to flag “abnormal” behavior as it happens.

From an implementation standpoint, there is no “one size fits all” Machine Learning package or library that can address the full range of potential opportunities. Moreover, since Machine Learning is only a component (albeit a vital one) of an overall solution system, it is important to understand how all the pieces fit together when considering these technologies for a specific problem. Subsequent posts in this series will explore these topics in greater detail, so stay tuned for additional information about how to map these new technologies into your product and problem space. However, if your need is more urgent, click the button below to see how we can explore this exciting new area together.

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Topics: Industry Highlights, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0, Machine Learning

Standards Activity Report SEMI NA Spring 2021

Posted by Brian Rubow: Director of Solutions Engineering on May 12, 2021 11:45:00 AM

Stcked_Standards_logoFor the first time since the Fall of 2019, the SEMI North America Information & Control Committee (I&CC) was finally able to meet and conduct business online. Throughout all of 2020, the I&CC was not able to meet because SEMI regulations did not at that time allow voting in online meetings. Instead, only the task forces have been meeting. As a result, any passing ballots, unless super clean, had to wait for adjudication in the North America I&CC.

This year, prior to the I&CC meeting on April 1 and 2, all of the associated task forces also met as usual, including the GEM 300, Diagnostic Data Acquisition (DDA), and Advanced Backend Factory Integration (ABFI) task forces. Moreover, the I&CC was able to conduct all the unresolved business that had accumulated over the last year. During the committee meeting, the I&CC successfully used the SEMI Virtual Meeting (SVM) software which runs in an internet browser, allows each committee member to log in, and allows for official voting to take place during the meeting. The North America I&CC will meet again during the summer.

GEM 300 Task Force

In the GEM 300 task force, the primary activity was to officially redefine its charter and scope to match what it has already been doing for the last 20 years. Each SEMI task force defines a “Task Force Organization Force” document (aka TFOF) to establish its charter and scope. Somehow, the GEM 300 task force charter and scope were severely out of date.

In addition to this update, some changes to the E5 standard finally passed voting, pending some final approval. The E5 changes include several new messages and establish definitions for commonly used data collection terminology. The new messages complement the existing set of messages by allowing the host to query information about the current data collection setup. Currently, it is common for a host program to reset and redefine all data collection after first connecting to an equipment because there has been no way to query this information. With these new messages, the host will be able to query the setup and confirm that no data collection has changed while disconnected. Finally, it will be easier to test GEM interfaces with these new messages.

The task force already approved tasks to consider some major work to the GEM standard. The task force is also considering changes to the E116 standard, but there is some resistance to these changes. Here is a summary table of the GEM-related standards activity from across the globe.

Region

Ballot

Standard(s)

Status

Topic

South Korea

5832

New

Cycle 5, 2020

Generic Counter

South Korea

6695

E87

Adjudication

Ready to unload prediction changes.

North America

6572

E30

Development

Add Stream 21, more stream 2, Cleanup Process Program Management.

North America

6552

E5

Adjudicated Spring 2021

Data collection setup, terminology. Ratification ballot proposed.

2 line-items pending since Summer 2020

North America

6598

E37, E37.1

Cycle 7, 2020

Standardize TCP/IP port numbers

North America

6597

E173

Adjudicated Spring 2021

Minor updates, clarification

Pending since Spring 2020.

North America

6647

E116

SNARF Revision

Recommendations from the ABFI task force

North America

6683

E148

Development

Line item revision

 

DDA Task Force

In the Diagnostic Data Acquisition (DDA) task force (responsible for the EDA standards, aka Interface A), freeze 3 development is moving forward. All of the ballots still failed as expected. The number of remaining technical issues nevertheless has dwindled to just a handful. E132, E125, and especially E164 need the most work.

Following is a summary of the previously completed work.

Standard (Ballot)

Ballot Status

Lead

E132 (6337)

Published - 04/29/2019

Brian Rubow (Cimetrix)

E138 (6336)

Published - 03/15/2019

Brian Rubow (Cimetrix)

E134 (6335)

Published – 03/29/2019

Inhyeok Paek (Link Genesis)

E120 (6434)

Published – 05/30/2019

Inna Skvortsova (SEMI)

E145 (6436)

Published – 05/31/2019

Inna Skvortsova (SEMI)

E178 (6300)

Published – 01/10/2020

Mitch Sakamoto (ZAMA)

E179 (6344A)

Published – 03/27/2020

Albert Fuchigami (PEER)


And here is a summary of the work in progress.

Standard (Ballot)

Ballot Status

Lead

E125 (6718)

Development

Brian Rubow (Cimetrix)

Hyungsu Kim (Doople)

E132 (6719)

Development

Mitch Sakamoto (ZAMA)
Albert Fuchigami (PEER)

E134 (6720)

Development

Brian Rubow (Cimetrix)

E164

 

Alan Weber (Cimetrix)

E125.2 (6345)

Development

Albert Fuchigami (PEER)

E132.2 (6346E)

Development

Albert Fuchigami (PEER)

E134.2 (6347)

Development

Albert Fuchigami (PEER)

E125 (6527C)

To Abolish

Replaced by 6718

E132 (6571C)

To Abolish

Replaced by 6719

E134 (6553C)

To Abolish

Replaced by 6720

 

All of the failed ballots will be reworked and resubmitted for voting. For many of these ballots, it will be the sixth time to go through the SEMI ballot procedure. Consensus is very nearly achieved, and the defects in the ballots have been identified and corrected. Additionally, there are plans to modify SEMI E179, the standard that defines how gRPC will be utilized. While testing EDA freeze 3, Cimetrix has identified two simple ways to modify the E179 protocol buffer files in order to reduce overhead. These and a few other changes will be proposed in a new ballot.

One of the last changes to the freeze 3 standards will be the introduction of passwords. In the current freeze 1 and freeze 2 versions, there are no passwords. Any client that knows a valid, unused Access Control List entry (ACL, the equivalent of a user name) can connect; therefore, there really isn’t any authentication unless using the SSL protocol with certificates. Passwords will enhance EDA security and facilitate EDA interface setup by allowing client applications to use the same ACL entry while defining a unique password to block other clients from using the same entry. The final E132 ballot will finalize the password feature.

The task force leaders are asking the voting members to raise any final issues before these ballots are submitted to SEMI to the next voting cycle so that we can approve these standards, give implementers a chance to experiment with EDA freeze 3, raise any serious issues that impede the implementation, and then propose the final changes which incorporate that feedback. Until a version of these standards is formally approved, it will be difficult to get concrete and widespread feedback on the new technology, which is a necessary precursor to its adoption and use.

ABFI Task Force

The Advanced Factory Integration task force passed more changes in E142 without controversy. The task force plans to create E142.4, another GEM implementation of E142, designed for larger wafer maps to allow for increased traceability possibilities. Additionally, the task force continues to make plans to develop an adoption matrix as a new standard to describe when GEM and GEM 300 standards should be adopted in backend equipment based on equipment features.

Topics: Industry Highlights, SECS/GEM, Semiconductor Industry, EDA/Interface A, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0, GEM300, Standards

Announcing the Release of CIMControlFramework 6.0

Posted by Derek Lindsey: Product Manager on Apr 14, 2021 11:30:00 AM

The Cimetrix Connectivity Group of PDF Solutions is happy to announce that Cimetrix CIMControlFrameworkTM (CCF) version 6.0 is now available for download.

CCF is a software development kit (SDK) that enables users to design and implement a high-quality equipment control solution using provided components for supervisory control, material handling, operator interface, platform and process control, and automation requirements. CCF is built on the reliable Cimetrix connectivity products which provide GEM/GEM300/EDA interface functionality.

We have previously done a series of blog posts on the functionality of CCF. The same great functionality users have come to expect with CCF is still available, but in a cleaner, slicker, easier to use package.

Reorganized directory structure

In versions before CCF 6.0, core CCF packages (packages provided by CCF) were contained in the same directory as sample code and runtime files. This made it more difficult for CCF users to understand what code was required to be customized and what code was basic to CCF. (Note: you can still customize the basic CCF functionality, but it is not required.) In this release, we modified the directory structure to identify more clearly what is core CCF and what is sample or custom code. This is closer to the structure followed by CCF applications. The following diagram shows the new structure:

CCF-6.0-announcement-pic1In addition to clarifying CCF components, the new structure allows us to easily develop samples for additional equipment types. New samples will be added in future versions of CCF.

New WPF framework

Since CCF started providing a Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) framework, we have received feedback on WPF features user would like added to the framework. Also, our engineers have continued to improve their WPF expertise, which has led to other improvements. CCF 6.0 includes the requested changes and best practice improvements in the new WPF framework. Some of these changes include:

  • Simplified hierarchy which makes it easier to understand which objects to inherit from.

CCF-6.0-announcement-pic2

  • Centralized style elements to allow users to change the look and feel (skin) of the operator interface to meet their needs.
  • Enhanced controls library that provides common controls for use in creating equipment control.
  • Increased E95 compliance, available with a configurable control panel.
  • Accelerated screen creation is possible with the change in hierarchy organization and the enhanced control library.
  • Richer set of native WPF screens. In earlier versions, CCF had several native WPF screens, but also had many screens created with WinForms and hosted in WPF. CCF 6.0 has all native WPF screens in the WPF sample operator interface. These screens can be reused, customized, or replaced. (Note: WinForms screens are also still available in CCF 6.0.)

The following image shows the main screen of the WPF operator interface for the CCF atmospheric equipment sample application. Most of the controls on the screen are available for use and customization by CCF developers.

CCF-6.0-announcement-pic3Updated samples

CCF has contained fully functional atmospheric and vacuum sample applications for many years. Over the years, we have improved the functionality for scheduling, simulation, and device interface interaction. However, the samples had always remained the same. With CCF 6.0, the atmospheric and vacuum sample applications were updated to take advantage of the other changes that have been made in CCF. These changes to the samples make them more useful in illustrating the proper use of CCF and providing a better starting point for creating custom applications.

Spring cleaning

CCF was originally released the summer of 2011 making it 10 years-old. Over the years, CCF has had several methods, objects and devices become obsolete. They were not removed from the product for backward compatibility reasons, but they were marked as obsolete. Because CCF 6.0 is a major release, we took the opportunity to do some spring cleaning and remove the obsolete items. CCF is now cleaner and tighter, and using it is much clearer.

Training material and upgrade guide

All the PowerPoint slides, lab documents, and corresponding solutions used for training developers on CCF have been updated for CCF 6.0. We have already successfully used the new training materials with a few customers to help them get started with their equipment control application development.

As part of CCF 6.0, we provide a CCF 5.10 to CCF 6.0 Upgrade Guide that contains detailed instructions on how to migrate applications created using previous versions of CCF to CCF 6.0.

Conclusion

We have been looking forward to the CCF 6.0 release for a long time and are excited for developers to get started using it. We are confident existing users will like the changes and that new users will have a good springboard in getting started with their equipment control application needs. We look forward to working with you and hearing from you.

Topics: Industry Highlights, Equipment Control-Software Products, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0, Cimetrix Products

18th Innovation Forum for Automation: Successful Transition of an Important Tradition

Posted by Alan Weber: Vice President, New Product Innovations on Mar 17, 2021 1:45:00 PM

Dresden-christmas-marketNear the end of January for almost two decades, the companies that form the Automation Network Dresden (AND) have hosted a gathering of semiconductor automation professionals in the picturesque setting of Dresden, Germany. The chill of winter during this event has always been in stark contrast to the warmth of the reception the speakers and participants enjoy at this event. The big question this year was “how could the organizers possibly maintain this tradition amid the COVID-19 pandemic and its travel restrictions?"

Automation people being a creative bunch, they responded by offering a series of free, half-day “digital events” spread across the first four months of the year, and each hosted by one of the AND member companies: SYSTEMA, Fabmatics, XENON, and Kontron AIS. The first two sessions are now in the record books, and as a participant in both, I can attest that no momentum or value has been lost. The only exception is the lack of the forum’s famous evening event, which will undoubtedly return next year when the virus is behind us.

The first session of the year was hosted by SYSTEMA on January 28 with the theme of Datafication and Automation: The new normal for semiconductor manufacturing. I was privileged to among the invited speakers, and shared the agenda with Manfred Austen of SYSTEMA (always a hard act to follow!), Jean-Marc Philippe of ST/Micro Singapore, Axel Wogawa of SYSTEMA, and Klaus Kleilein of Fabmatics.

In this context, I chose the topic of semiconductor backend automation, and you can download my presentation “Wafer Fab Best Practices for Backend Automation”. Key takeaways from this presentation include the industry drivers for higher levels of backend automation, the unique challenges this poses when compared to wafer fab automation (see the figure highlighting multiple material transformations below), the role that industry standards in many categories will play in this process, and last but not least, the importance of defining explicit integration message sequences between all the equipment and the factory systems that bring them together into fully automated operations. This latter insight was one of the key enablers for the wafer fab transition from 200mm to 300mm, and the concept equally applies in the backend.

18-innovations-forum-pic1The second event in the series was hosted by Fabmatics on February 25, 2021, with the enticing theme of Forever Young: Automation Makeover Rejuvenates Golden Age Fabs. It featured speakers from Bosch, Nexperia, Cohu, and SYSTEMA.

The next event will be hosted by Xenon on March 25, 2021 with the theme Digitalization Meets Mechanical Engineering, and the final event hosted by Kontron AIS on April 29, 2021 (theme still TBD – stay tuned). For more information about this digital event series, visit the Automation Network Dresden website.

For help in crafting and executing your own backend automation strategy, or any other topic related to advanced manufacturing connectivity and control, please contact us by clicking the button below. 

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Topics: Industry Highlights, Events, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0