Industry News, Trends and Technology, and Standards Updates

Why choose a commercial product for the EDA (Equipment Data Acquisition) interface solution for your equipment? 为什么要为您的设备选择商用EDA解决方案?

Posted by Clare Liu (刘波); Solutions Engineer on Nov 20, 2018 11:10:00 AM
Lessons-Learned-small

Clare Liu, a Cimetrix Solutions Engineer, goes over the pros and cons of choosing a commercial product for EDA/Interface A vs. building a solution from scratch. Read it now in Chinese, or below in English. 

本文的焦点是当许多半导体设备制造商面对他们那些最先进的客户提出的自动化需求时,如何在购买支持EDA(Interface-A)标准的软件产品,或者自主开发之间做出决策。

鉴于我本人在今年初加入Cimtrix之前,曾经在一家半导体装备公司里担任EDA标准实现项目的主要开发人员,我想解释说明一下选择商业解决方案的利与弊。

1. 经验

在半导体制造设备上实现EDA要求软件开发人员具有半导体行业标准(SEMI)和半导体设备的经验。这对大多数设备供应商来说是非常困难的。即使他们已经拥有良好的软件开发人员,经验丰富的工厂自动化工程师和一个完整的硬件设计团队,他们还是需要有效的共同协作,找出如何设计一个结构良好的设备模型(SEMIE120 CEM 通用设备模型规范)并将设备所有的变量、时间和报警映射到设备模型的各个节点上(SEMI E125 EqSD设备自我描述规范)。 一个商业的EDA解决方案能够同时为OEM提供这些知识,并且可以基于该设备,提供EDA开发过程的指导方针。

2. 验收

checkmark简单地实现EDA接口功能和正确有效地实现的结果是不一样的。我从中得到的教训之一是,我们花了几乎整整一年的时间来实现EDA Freeze I的各种功能,并为测试的需要开发了客户端软件。然而,当我们将我们的EDA解决方案发布给客户工厂时,他们使用权威的第三方测试软件产品对所有设备的EDA解决方案进行了验证。我们的实现最初没有通过验收,因为我们对EDA标准的理解与客户的理解有些差异。为此我们花了很长时间来逐一解决验收中遇到的问题。商业的EDA解决方案通常已经在许多工厂得到了验证,因此更加标准化。

gantt-chart-cimetrix3. 时机

一个商业的EDA解决方案可以帮助OEM在短时间内开发出合格的EDA接口。自主开发EDA会给本已紧张的交付进度增加时间压力,如果需求来自一个新客户,第一个支持EDA标准的设备供应商通常会更有优势。在业务方面,EDA功能很有可能是获得订单的关键。在技术方面,第一个EDA的使用会成为整个Fab的范例,可以被用来制定其他设备在生产环境中必须满足的操作要求。

4.服务

使用商业EDA解决方案通常包括来自软件供应商的良好的技术支持,这些技术支持可能包含在最初的许可证费用中,或者是单独的技术支持合同。这意味着OEM公司不需要维持一个专门的软件团队来维护和解决遇到的软件问题。相反,他们可以依靠更专业的支持团队,而不用担心任何内部开发人员离开公司所带来的影响。

5. 知识更新

由于很多改进得到认同,还有很多新的技术在关键产品中的使用变得可行,半导体行业的EDA标准每年都在发生变化,在写这篇文章的时候,一个新的EDA标准冻结版本Freeze III正在投票中。商业EDA解决方案通常会紧紧追随标准的发展,同时会不断根据其他工厂用户的请求增加新的功能。这使得OEM能够快速、可靠地响应客户的最新需求。

1.成本

OEM必须为商业软件的许可证,以及可能的、每年的技术支持支付费用。

2.知识产权(IP)

一些OEM公司为了对EDA功能的源代码有完全的控制权和所有权,他们选择自主开发并拥有这些软件,其原因是大多数商业软件包通常不会为基本许可证的使用者提供源代码。

3.修复错误的时间

如果在商业软件包中发现错误,设备工程师甚至工厂客户可能需要帮助软件供应商找到根本原因。他们还必须等待供应商修复并发布新版本的软件。这对于使用者来说非常不方便。

如果您的公司正面临这样的决定,请联系我们——我们很乐意分享我们的专业知识和市场知识,并协助您做出明智的决定。

Schedule a Meeting

您可能还对以下信息感兴趣:

View Presentation: Raising the Bar
View Video: Importance of Process Module Tracking
View Video: E164 EDA Common Metadata
View Video: Equipment Modeling - E120/E125
Learn about CIMPortal 


Lessons-Learned-smallThe focus of this blog posting is the decision that many semiconductor manufacturing equipment suppliers face when deciding how to address the automation requirements of their most advanced customers, namely, whether or not to buy a commercial software package that supports the SEMI Equipment Data Acquisition (EDA / Interface A) Standards, or to develop this capability in-house.

I am especially qualified to explain the pros and cons of choosing a commercial solution, having worked as the EDA standards implementation lead developer in an equipment supplier before joining the Cimetrix team earlier this year.

  • Pros

1. Experience

Implementing EDA on a single unit of semiconductor manufacturing equipment requires that the software developers have experience with both SEMI Standards and the equipment. This is very difficult for most equipment suppliers. Even if they have good software developers, experienced factory automation engineers and a complete hardware design team, they must still work together efficiently to figure out how to design a well-structured equipment model (SEMI E120 CEM) and map all the equipment variables, events and alarm to the CEM nodes (SEMI E125 Equipment Self-Description).  A commercial EDA package provides all this knowledge for the OEM and guidelines explaining the EDA development process for their systems.

2. Qualifications

checkmarkSimply being able to implement the EDA interface functions is not the same as implementing them in a robust fashion. One of my lessons learned is that we spent almost an entire year to implement the EDA Freeze I version of the standards and the client software required to test these functions. However, when we released the EDA interface to the factory customer, they qualified the EDA solution for all equipment modules with an authoritative third-party compliance testing software product. Our implementation failed at first because our understanding of the SEMI Standards specifications was different from the customer’s understanding. So we struggled for a long time to fix all the problems.  A commercial EDA package will necessarily have been proven in many sites and is therefore far more standardized.

3. Timing

gantt-chart-cimetrix

A commercial EDA product can help the OEM develop a qualified EDA interface in a short time. Developing EDA in house adds time pressure to already tight delivery schedules, and if the requirements are coming from a new customer, the first equipment supplier supporting EDA standards may have an advantage. On the business side, EDA might be the key feature to get the order. On the technical side, the first usage may determine the approach used across the entire fab, thereby dictating operational requirements that the other equipment must meet in the production environment.

4. Service

Using a commercial EDA package normally includes good technical support from the software supplier; this may be covered in the initial license fee or as a separate support contract. This means the OEM company does not have to dedicate a large software team for maintenance and troubleshooting of software issues. Instead, they can rely on a professional support team, and not worry about what happens if any of the in-house developers leave the company.

5. Knowledge update

The SEMI EDA standards are changing every year as improvements are identified and new technologies become viable for mission-critical production usage. At this writing, a new Freeze III version is being balloted. A commercial EDA package will closely follow the standards as they evolve and provide new features according to the requests from other factory users. This enables OEMs to respond quickly and reliably to the latest feature requests from their customers.

  • Cons

1. Cost

OEM must pay for the commercial package licenses and possibly for the annual support.

2. Intellectual Property (IP)

Some OEM companies want to have full control of the EDA interface source code, so they choose to develop and own the software by themselves. Most commercial packages don’t provide source code with a basic license.

3. Bug fixing lead time

If bugs are found in the commercial package, the equipment engineers and perhaps even the factory customers may need to help the software supplier find the root cause. And they must also wait for the supplier to fix and release a new version of the software. This can be quite inconvenient.

If this is a decision your company is facing, get in touch with us – we’re happy to share our expertise and market knowledge and help you make a well-informed decision.

Schedule a Meeting

You also might be interested in the following information:

View Presentation: Raising the Bar
View Video: Importance of Process Module Tracking
View Video: E164 EDA Common Metadata
View Video: Equipment Modeling - E120/E125
Learn about CIMPortal 

Topics: EDA/Interface A, Smart Manufacturing, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Customer Support

Meet the Quality Engineering Team: Morgan Kap

Posted by Cimetrix on Nov 14, 2018 11:17:00 AM

ACG-2018_Morgan_KapMeet Morgan Kap, one of our QE Software Engineers. Read on to learn a little bit more about Morgan.

How long have you been working at Cimetrix? I have been working at Cimetrix for about 9 months.

Where did you go to school and what did you get your degree in?

I attended Brigham Young University and studied Information Systems.

What brought you to Cimetrix originally?

I came to Cimetrix after finishing school and was excited about joining a company that is an industry leader and has a great company culture.

What do you like most about your job?

My favorite part so far has been being able to contribute to product releases and finding features that can be improved before a release.

What do you think it means to provide great Quality Engineering?

I think that great Quality Engineering is working together as a team to ensure that every release that leaves our doors are of the best quality. Also continue to grow professionally as a team so that we can always be improving the work we are doing.

What’s the biggest accomplishment you’ve had at Cimetrix?

I am still new to the team so being able to make a contribution and help with release testing has been a really exciting experience.

How do you deal with challenges that come up at work?

I rely on the expertise around me. If I am struggling with something everyone is so willing to help me understand how our products work.

What's something you’ve learned while working at Cimetrix?

I have learned so much! I have learned about how all our products function and the value they bring to the industry we operate in.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

I love going to Bear Lake and spending time boating.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I spend time teaching horseback riding lessons and reading.

Topics: Cimetrix Company Culture, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Meet Our Team

SEMICON Europa is now one of the largest European Electronics Industry events: Will we see you there?

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Marketing Manager on Nov 6, 2018 11:30:00 AM

SEMICON Europa ist mittlerweile eines der größten europäischen Events der Elektronikindustrie: Werden wir Sie dort sehen? Read now in German, or below in English.

SEMICON Europa wird bereits zum zweiten Mal zusammen mit der Productronica bzw. Electronica auf dem Münchener Messegelände veranstaltet. Wir bei Cimetrix freuen uns, wieder – gemeinsam mit anderen in der Halbleiterindustrie – in der SEMICON Europa Halle auszustellen.

semi-bannerNach einigen Jahren schwindenden Besucheraufkommens, wirkte die Veranstaltung im vergangenen Jahr deutlich wiederbelebt. Wir hoffen, dass wir diese Begeisterung auf der Show 2018 erneut erleben werden. SEMICON zieht traditionell ein einflussreiches Publikum aus allen Bereichen der Mikroelektronikindustrie an, und kombiniert mit einer zweiten Messe (Electronica) am selben Standort, wird sie zu einer der größten globalen Elektronikmessen. Dementsprechend gehen wir davon aus, dass SEMI auf der von SEMICON West geschaffenen Dynamik aufbauen wird, um führende Unternehmen aus der gesamten Lieferkette für die Produktion zu erreichen, da der Schwerpunkt auf Smart Manufacturing weiterwächst.

Während dieser 4-tägigen Messe werden wir SEMI Board Meetings, SEMI Standards Meetings, Smart Manufacturing Sessions und vieles mehr erleben. Alan Weber, unser Vizepräsident für Neue Produktinnovationen, wird am Mittwoch, den 14. November, von 11:00 - 111:15 Uhr auf einer dieser Sitzungen in der TechLOUNGE (Show Floor Hall A4) "Making Smart Manufacturing Work" vorstellen. Unser Team freut sich, mit Kunden, Interessenten und Kollegen zusammenzutreffen und neue Möglichkeiten zu diskutieren.

Wenn Sie mehr darüber erfahren möchten, wie Cimetrix-Produkte bei Ihren Smart-Manufacturing-Zielen helfen können, besuchen Sie unseren Stand A4635 während der Messe. Sie können jederzeit einen Termin auf unserer Events-Seite vereinbaren. Wir freuen uns darauf, Sie dort zu sehen!

Meet with Us


SEMICON Europa  is now in its second year as a co-located event with either Productronica or Electronica in the Messe München exposition center in Munich, Germany. Cimetrix is pleased to once again be exhibiting in the SEMICON Europa hall with others in the semiconductor industry.

semi-banner

After several years of dwindling attendance, this event felt distinctly revitalized last year, and we hope to see that excitement once again at the 2018 show. SEMICON traditionally attracts an influential audience from every sector of the microelectronics industry, and with a second trade fair (Electronica) at the same site, it is becoming one of the largest global electronics shows. Accordingly, we fully anticipate that SEMI will build on the momentum it established at SEMICON West to bring in leaders from the entire manufacturing supply chain as the emphasis on Smart Manufacturing continues to grow.

During this 4-day trade fair, we'll see SEMI board meetings, SEMI Standards meetings, Smart Manufacturing sessions and so much more. Alan Weber, our VP of New Product Innovations, will present “Making Smart Manufacturing Work” at one of these sessions in the TechLOUNGE (Show Floor Hall A4) on Wednesday, November 14, from 11:00 – 111:15. Our team is excited to participate, to meet with clients, prospects, and colleagues, and to discuss new opportunities.

If you would like to learn more about how Cimetrix products can help with your Smart Manufacturing goals, please stop by our booth A4635 during the show. You can also request a meeting any time on our Events page. We look forward to seeing you there!

Meet with Us

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

Overview of the GEM Standard: Video Series Part One of Five

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Marketing Manager on Oct 31, 2018 12:08:00 PM

What is a GEM Interface? What are some of the key features of the GEM SEMI Standard? What does the GEM standard have to do with Smart Manufacturing? Brian Rubow, the Cimetrix Director of Solutions Engineering, conducts a five-part video series that covers the complete GEM standard. In this Part One of the series, he covers some of the main questions that are often asked of manufacturing industries looking into GEM for the first time. 

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Brian begins the video by answering the question, "What is a GEM Interface". He follows up by addressing the related SEMI standards, including SECS-II and HSMS. 

The GEM standard is feature complete.and includes the following:

  • Event Notification
  • Alarm Notification
  • Data variable collection
  • Recipe Management
  • Remote Control
  • Adjustment Settings
  • Operator Interface

GEM is the proven and mature equipment communication standard used by the front-end semiconductor industry for a number of years and has been adopted by a number of other industries because of it's effectiveness. 

View the entire series today!

 

Topics: SECS/GEM, SEMI Standards, SECS/GEM Video Series

EDA Applications and Benefits for Smart Manufacturing Episode 6: Trace Data Analysis

Posted by Alan Weber: Vice President, New Product Innovations on Oct 25, 2018 11:20:00 AM

In this final article of the “EDA Application and Benefits” series we discuss an application that is one of the most basic and intuitive, but also provides the foundation for the many of the emerging capabilities in the machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) domain—trace data analysis. Moreover, of all the applications we’ve introduced over the past 6 months, trace data analysis is the one that most directly leverages the capabilities of the SEMI Equipment Data Acquisition (EDA) standards

Problem Statement

When we ask fab process engineers and their supporting automation teams why they are now requiring the latest SEMI EDA/Interface A standards on their new equipment, the answer we hear most often is “To better understand equipment and process behavior.” And when asked why this cannot be achieved using the SECS/GEM interfaces, the answers are equally consistent: “The detailed information we need is either unavailable or cannot be collected at the frequencies we need to accurately see and characterize the behaviors we are interested in. And even if this were possible, we don’t have the operational freedom to change our data collection systems as quickly as our needs change, so we must have a more flexible approach.” 

What these engineers are looking for as a starting point is a way to easily specify a list of potentially related equipment parameters and collect their values at a rate that is fast enough to see how they are changing in relationship to one another. Human beings are wonderful at pattern recognition, and simply being able to juxtapose a set of signals on a “strip chart” display (see first figure below) can yield important insights into the underlying process. Of course, this capability is most useful when the engineer can precisely specify the timeframe of interest for this visual analysis. This is sometimes called data “framing” and can be accomplished by using equipment events to bracket the period of interest (see second figure below).

eda_apps_benefits6.1

EDA_apps_Benefits6.2

While humans may be good at pattern recognition, they quickly get overwhelmed when the number of parameters to view grows and/or the timespan to consider expands… which is where trace data analysis software enters the picture.

Solution Components

In addition to very flexible time-series data visualization tools, trace data analysis software packages must be able to “slice and dice” subsets of large data sets to compare every imaginable combination of equipment instance, process chamber, product, layer, recipe, fixture, consumable batch, shift, operator, … (you get the picture) to look for correlations between important factory metrics and the behavior of the equipment involved. Moreover, they must be able to identify and flag “abnormal” (which must be flexibly defined) situations for further analysis, since these may hold clues about incipient failures that traditional multivariate FDC (fault detection and classification) applications may not catch.

In fact, there is an emerging school of thought for fault detection that states “most of the time, the equipment is making good wafers, so unless there’s something very different about the tool behavior between the most recent lots and the current lot (as determined through trace data analysis), it’s very likely that the current lot is good as well.” This simplified approach has also been called “model-less FDC” because it mostly compares trace data signals rather than passing tool parameters into highly context-specific multivariate statistics-based models.

Of course, any trace data analysis application is only as good as the data that feeds it… which is where the EDA standards and the related equipment purchase specifications come into the picture.

EDA (Equipment Data Acquisition) Standards Leverage

Previous postings such as Episode 4 on Fault Detection and Classification and Precision Data Framing during Process Execution – Tricks of the Trade have highlighted the capabilities of the Freeze II EDA standards related to Data Collection Plans (DCPs) and the Trace Requests, Event Requests, and Exception Requests that comprise them. We have also highlighted the need for broad stakeholder involvement when creating the EDA section of an equipment purchase specification and described the process we’ve crafted to accomplish this.

However, to fully support a world-class trace data analysis application, it’s important to understand what to ask of the equipment suppliers. To this end, we’ve excerpted some key sample requirements from a typical purchase specification below.

  • Equipment Model Content (SEMI E120, E125, E164)

    • The hierarchical depth of the metadata model should include at least the “field replaceable unit” (FRU) level, and one of two levels below this for complex sub-systems.
    • The metadata model must contain command and status information for all equipment components that affect material movement. This includes not only material transfer elements such as robot arms, but also devices that may inhibit/enable material movement, such as gate valves, interlocks, etc.
    • The metadata model must include control parameters for all significant operating mechanisms and subsystems in the equipment. The control parameters may include but are not limited to: process variable setpoints and status values; control variable status values; PID tuning parameters, control limits, and calibration constants.
    • The metadata model must include whatever additional usage counters, timers, and other parameters that may be useful in time-based, usage-based, and condition-based maintenance scheduling algorithms.
    • The metadata model must contain parameters the describe consumption rates and levels for key process resources such as electricity, process gases, and other consumables. These are used in some of the FDC models to detect potentially abnormal process conditions.
    • Suppliers must provide a written description of the update rates, recommended sampling intervals, normal operating ranges and behaviors, and high/low/rate-of-change limits for all key process parameters.
    • Etc.

  • Data Collection Capability (SEMI E134)

    • Equipment must include built-in DCPs to support common equipment performance monitoring, diagnostic, and maintenance processes that are well known to the supplier. Documentation for these DCPs must define their purpose, activation conditions, interface bandwidth consumed, and the types of analysis the collected data enables.
    • Equipment parameters provided through the EDA interface must exhibit a number of data quality characteristics, including, but not limited to: an internal sampling/update rate sufficient to represent the underlying signal accurately; timing of trace reports that is consistent with the sampling interval within +/- 1.0%; values in adjacent trace reports must contain then-current values at the specified sampling interval; and rejection of obvious outliers.

  • Performance Requirements

    • Performance requirements will be expressed as combinations of sampling interval, # parameters per DCP, # of simultaneously active DCPs, group size, buffering interval, response time for ad hoc “one-shot” DCPs, maximum latency of event generation after the related equipment condition occurred, consistency of timestamps in trace reports with the specified sampling interval, and perhaps others.
    • Example: The EDA interface must be capable of reporting at least 5000 parameters at a sampling interval of 0.1 seconds (10Hz) with a Group Size of 1, for a total data collection capacity (bandwidth) of 50,000 parameters per second. It must also support simultaneous data collection from at least 5 clients while still achieving a total bandwidth of 50,000 parameters per second; Group Sizes greater than 1 may be used to achieve this level of performance.
    • Some equipment types may have more stringent performance requirements than others, depending on the criticality of timely and high-density data for the consuming applications.

apc2017_5KPIs Affected

Trace data analysis will undoubtedly take its place among the other “mission-critical” applications in today’s fabs because of the increasing process complexity and the need to maintain the traditional “time to yield” production ramp. This is especially true for the industry pioneers now using the latest EUV scanners, as there will be much to learn about this new technology in the coming years.

Let Us Hear from You!

EDA_apps_benefits_6

If you want to understand how the latest EDA standards and trace data analysis can support your future manufacturing objectives, or how to make this a reality in your Smart Manufacturing roadmap, please schedule a meeting!

Schedule a Meeting

Topics: EDA in Smart Manufacturing Series, EDA/Interface A, Smart Manufacturing

台灣印刷電路板協會, TPCA (Taiwan Printed Circuit Board) Show is coming up: Will we see you there?

Posted by Michael Lee; Country Manager Taiwan on Oct 17, 2018 11:46:00 AM

Michael Lee of Cimetrix Taiwan talks about the upcoming TPCA show. Read now in Chinese or below in English.

TPCA(台灣印刷電路板協會)2018展會即將到來,我們很高興能連續第二年參展!該展將於10月24日至26日在台北南港展覽中心舉行。 TPCA展會旨在實現智能製造,因為印刷電路板行業與上游和下游的價值鏈相連。預計今年展會將有400多家參展商。

TPCA

TPCA展會匯集了PCB製造商,SMT設備製造商和測試人員,綠色環境設備和材料製造行業,熱模塊相關設備,包裝和表面處理。

Cimetrix很高興參與此次展會,我們將討論我們用於智能製造的創新軟件產品如何幫助設備製造商和工廠。

歡迎光臨我們的I-226展台,或隨時在我們的活動網頁上預約會議!


The TPCA (Taiwan Printed Circuit Board Association) 2018 show is almost here and Cimetrix is excited to be exhibiting for the second year in a row! The show will be held at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center from October 24-26. One key theme of this year's TPCA show is the realization of Smart Manufacturing as the printed circuit board industry connects members of its value chain both upstream and downstream. More than 400 exhibitors are expected to be at the show this year.TPCA

The TPCA show brings together PCB manufacturers, SMT manufacturing and test equipment suppliers, Green environment equipment and material manufacturing industries, and suppliers of thermal-modules packaging and surface finishing equipment. 

Cimetrix is excited to be a part of this show, where we discuss how our innovative software products for Smart Manufacturing can help both the equipment suppliers and the PCB manufacturing companies

Come visit us at booth I-226 and/or request a meeting any time on our Events page!

Meet with Us

Topics: Smart Manufacturing, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Events, Global Services

SECS/GEM Series: GEM Control State

Posted by Mark Bennett; Client Support Engineer on Oct 11, 2018 10:59:00 AM

What is GEM Control State?

The GEM Control State is one of the fundamental E30 GEM requirements. It defines the level of cooperation between the host and equipment and specifies how the operator may interact at the different levels of host control.

In a semiconductor factory, the host or operator may be in control of equipment processing. Having both sides in control of the equipment at the same time poses problems. When one side is in control of the equipment, the other side should be limited in the operations it can perform. For example, if an operator pauses processing, the host should not be allowed to send commands to resume processing or to start a new job. The GEM Control State is provided to prevent these types of issues from occurring.

SEMI E30 GEM Control State ModelFigure 1: SEMI E30 GEM Control State Model

How does the Control State work?

The Control State provides three basic levels of control. Each level describes which operations may be performed by the host and equipment sides.

Remote

  • The host may control the equipment to the fullest extent possible.
  • The equipment may impose limits on the local operator’s ability to control the equipment, but this is not a requirement of the standard. The host must be capable of handling unexpected commands invoked by the operator at the equipment.
  • GEM Remote Commands are used by the host to invoke commands on the equipment.

Local

  • The operator may control the equipment to the full extent possible.
  • The host has full access to information. The host can collect data using other GEM features such as collection events, traces, and status data collection.
  • Limits are placed on how the host can affect equipment operations:
    • Remote commands that initiate processing (e.g. START) or cause physical movement are prohibited. During processing, remote commands that affect processing (STOP, ABORT, PAUSE, RESUME) are also prohibited.
    • Other remote commands that do not initiate processing, cause physical movement, or affect processing may be allowed.
    • During processing, the host is prohibited from modifying any equipment constants that affect that process.
    • Equipment constants that do not affect the currently running process may be changed.
    • All equipment constants are changeable when not processing.

Offline

  • The operator has complete control of the equipment.
  • The host has no control over equipment operations and very limited information gathering capabilities.
  • The only messages that the equipment will accept from the host are:
    • Messages used to establish GEM communication (S1F13/F14).
    • Requests to activate Online Control State (S1F17), but only if the currently active state is Host Offline (transition #11 on the Control State Model).
    • S1F2 “Are You There Response” while the attempting to go Online.
  • The only primary messages that the equipment may send to the host are:
    • Messages used to establish communications (S1F13).
    • S9Fx messages, but only in response to the messages to which the equipment will normally respond to while Offline (i.e., S1F13 and S1F17).
    • S1F1 “Are You There Request” is sent to the host when the “Attempt ON-LINE” sub-state is entered. This message is used to get permission from the host to transition into an Online state (transition #5).
  • No messages are spooled while Offline.

The Control State Model was designed in a way to give the equipment operator more control over the state machine than the host.  This protects the operator from unexpected state changes initiated from the host.

  • The equipment operator can choose which Online sub-state is active through the operator interface. The host side cannot choose which Online sub-state is active.
  • The equipment side can put the Control State Model into an Equipment Offline state (transition #6). When in this state, the host cannot request to go Online.
  • The host side can put the Control State into a Host Offline state (transition #10), but the equipment side could reject this request. When in the Host Offline state, the equipment side can always attempt to go Online by first transitioning into the Equipment Offline state (transition #12) followed by an attempt to go Online (transition #3).

Operator Interface Requirements

The equipment must provide a way of displaying the current Control State to let the operator know who is in control of the equipment.

The equipment must provide a momentary switch to initiate the transition to the Equipment Offline state, and another switch to attempt to go Online from the Equipment Offline state. This may be a hardware switch on the front panel, but is often implemented in software using button controls.

The equipment must provide a discrete two-position switch which the operator may use to indicate the desired Online sub-state (Local or Remote). This may be a hardware switch on the front panel, but is often implemented in software using button controls. If implemented in software, the setting must be saved in non-volatile storage.

Conditional State Transitions

In the Control State Model, transitions #1, #2, #4, and #7 are conditional state transitions. The equipment application must provide a way of configuring which state to transition into. Equipment constants may be used for these configuration settings.

Conditional transitions #1 and #2 determine the initial state of the Control State Model during startup. The configuration that controls these transitions can be set for one of the following states:

  • Online
  • Equipment Offline
  • Attempt Online
  • Host Offline

Conditional transition #4 is used to determine which state to transition into after an equipment attempt to go Online fails. The configuration can be set to one of the following states:

  • Equipment Offline
  • Host Offline

Conditional transition #7 is used to determine which Online sub-state (Local or Remote) should be active when the Control State becomes Online. The configuration can be set to one of the following Online sub-states:

  • Local
  • Remote

Which Messages are used for Control State?

Message ID

Direction

Description

S1F1

Host <- Equipment

This message is sent to the host when the equipment attempts to go Online (in the “Attempt ON-LINE” state). The host grants permission by sending the S1F2 reply message. The host can deny permission by sending S1F0 or allowing the message transaction to time out.

S1F15

Host -> Equipment

The host sends this message to request a transition from “Host Offline” to Online (transition #11).

S1F17

Host -> Equipment

The host sends this message to request a transition from Online to “Host Offline” (transition #10).

 

Click here to read the other articles in our SECS/GEM Features and Benefits series. 

To download a white paper with an introduction to SECS/GEM, Click below:

SECS/GEM White Paper

Topics: Smart Manufacturing, SECS/GEM, SECS/GEM Series

The Gigafab Minute and SEMI Standards: A Modern Miracle

Posted by Alan Weber: Vice President, New Product Innovations on Oct 4, 2018 11:04:00 AM

Gigafab minuteEven for someone who has been in this industry since the days of the TI Datamath 4-function calculator and the TMS1100 4-bit microcontroller (yes, that’s been a LONG time – the movie Grease premiered the same year!), it is sometimes hard to grasp the scope and complexity of what happens in today’s leading-edge semiconductor gigafabs. In fact, the only way to comprehend the enormous volume of transactions that occur is to consider what happens in a single minute – this is illustrated in the infographic we have labeled “The Gigafab Minute.”* 


It’s amazing enough to think that a single factory can start 100,000 wafers every month on their cyclical journey through 1500 process steps… and have 99%+ of them emerge 4 months later to be delivered to packaging houses and then on to waiting customers. It’s quite another to realize that all of this happens continuously (24 x 7) and automatically. TMS1100-TIDatamath-image

“How is this possible?” you ask.

Well, a big part of the solution is the body of SEMI standards which have evolved since the early 80s to keep pace with the ever-changing demands of the industry. From an automation standpoint, many of these standards deal with the communications between manufacturing equipment and the factory information and control systems that are essential for managing these complex, hyper-competitive global enterprises.

A significant characteristic of these standards is that they have been carefully designed to be “additive.” This means that new generations of SEMI’s communications standards do not supplant or obsolete the previous generations, but rather provide new capabilities in an incremental fashion. To appreciate the importance of this in actual practice, consider how the GEM, GEM300, and EDA/Interface A standards support the transactions that occur in a single Gigafab Minute. 

Starting at 1:00 o’clock on the infographic and moving clockwise, you first notice that 2.31 wafers enter the line. Of course, these are actually released in 25-wafer 300mm FOUPs (Front-Opening Unified Pod), but 100K wafers per month translates to 2.31 per minute. Since these factories run continuously, once the line is full, it stays full. And with an average total cycle time of 4 months, this means that there are 400K wafers of WIP (work in process) in the factory at any given time. This number, and the total number of equipment (5000+), drive the rest of the calculations. 

GEM (Generic Equipment Model) – SEMI E30, etc.

The GEM messaging standards were initially defined in the early 90s to support the factory scheduling and dispatching applications that decide what lots should go to what equipment, the automated material handling systems that deliver and pick-up material to/from the equipment accordingly, the recipe management systems that ensure each process step is executed properly, and the MES (Manufacturing Execution System) transactions that maintain the fidelity of the factory system’s “digital twin.” 

Every minute of every day, GEM messages support and chronicle the following activities: 240 process steps are completed (i.e., 240 25-wafer lots are processed), 300 recipes are downloaded along with a set of run-specific adjustable control parameters, and 600 FOUPs are moved from one place to another (equipment, stockers, under-track storage, etc.). For each of these activities, the factory’s MES is notified instantaneously.

GEM300 – SEMI E40, E87, E90, E94, E157

With the advent of 300mm manufacturing in the mid-to-late 90s, a global team of volunteer system engineers from the leading chip makers defined the GEM300 standards to support fully automated manufacturing operations. Starting at 5:00 o’clock on the infographic, the number of transactions per minute jumps almost 3 orders of magnitude, from the monitoring of 900 control jobs across 4000 process tools to the tracking of 360,000 individual recipe step change events. This level of event granularity is essential for the latest generation of FDC (Fault Detection and Classification) applications, because precise data framing is a key prerequisite for minimizing the false alarm rate while still preventing serious process excursions. In this context, more than 6000 recipe-, product- and chamber-specific fault models may be evaluated every minute.

Simultaneously, the applications that monitor instantaneous throughput to prevent “productivity excursions” and identify systemic “wait time waste” situations depend on detailed intra-tool wafer movement events. In a fab with hundreds of multi-chamber, single-wafer processes, 75,000 or more of these events occur every minute. gantt-chart-cycle-time

EDA (Equipment Data Acquisition) – SEMI E120, E125, E132, E134, E164, etc.

Rounding out the SEMI standards in our example gigafab is the suite of EDA standards which complement the command and control functions of GEM/GEM300 with flexible, high-performance, model-based data collection. The EDA standards enable the on-demand collection of the volume and variety of “big data” required from the equipment to support the advanced analysis, machine learning, and other AI (Artificial Intelligence) applications that are becoming increasingly prevalent in leading semiconductor manufacturers. As EUV (Extreme Ultraviolet) lithography moves from pilot production to high-volume manufacturing at the 7nm process node and beyond, the litho process area will become a major source of process data by itself, generating 10 GB of data every minute. This is in addition to the 100 GB of data collected from other process areas. graph-and-equipmentfolder

The End Result

The final wedge (12:00 o’clock) in our infographic highlights the real objective – which is producing the millions of integrated circuits that fuel our global economy and provide the technologies that are an integral part of our modern way of life. Assuming a nominal die size of 50 square mm (typical of an 8 GB DRAM), the 2.31 wafers we started at 1:00 o’clock result in almost 3200 individual chips. But none of this would be possible without the pervasive factory automation technology we now take for granted. So, as you finish reading this posting on whatever device you happen to be using, take a micro-moment to acknowledge and thank the hundreds of standards volunteers whose insights and efforts made this a reality!

Red_smart_factory-TWYou may not be responsible for running a gigafab anytime soon, but the SEMI standards used in this setting are no less applicable to any Smart Manufacturing environment. Give us a call if you’d like to know more about how these technologies can benefit your operations for many years to come. 

 

You can see this infographic and much more in the Cimetrix Resource center.

Resources

 *The Gigafab Minute was inspired by an analogous explication of the scope and impact of today’s Internet from Lori Lewis and Chadd Callahan of Cumulus Media, and published on the Visual Capitalist web site (http://www.visualcapitalist.com/internet-minute-2018/)

Topics: Industry 4.0, Smart Manufacturing, IIoT, Semiconductor Industry, SECS/GEM, SEMI Standards

Meet the Quality Engineering Team: Bryce Ostler

Posted by Cimetrix on Sep 26, 2018 10:41:00 AM

ACG-2018-Bryce-OstlerMeet Bryce Ostler, one of our QE Software Engineers. Read on to learn a little bit more about Bryce.

How long have you worked at Cimetrix?

I have been working here at Cimetrix for just over a year now.

Where did you go to school and what is your degree?

I earned my B.A. in Accounting and an MBA from the University of Utah. I also earned a B.S. in Computer Science from Utah Valley University

What brought you to Cimetrix originally?

A friend of mine who already worked at Cimetrix mentioned that there was an opening here and I was graduating with my B.S. in Computer Science.  I liked the people I interviewed with and the friendly, positive atmosphere here.

What do you like most about your job?

People here at Cimetrix are helpful when I have questions, and I get to learn more about Software Development through my work.

What do you think it means to provide great Quality Engineering?

Solving problems and learning from them to prevent problems in the future, as well as researching good industry practices that can be implemented to help prevent problems.  Emphasis on incremental enhancements to build a resilient engineering environment.  Identifying and solving problems before they occur.

What’s the biggest accomplishment you’ve had at Cimetrix?

Integrating with the team and contributing along with the team.

How do you deal with challenges that come up at work?

    • Identify the details related to the challenges
    • Identify potential solutions
    • Do/prepare what I can do to address it on my own
    • Work with teammates to complete a solution
    • Verify solution works/is working
    • Identify lessons learned from the challenge
    • Do periodic follow-ups to verify long term endurance

What's something you’ve learned while working at Cimetrix?

I've learned to develop in Micrososft Visual Studio.  I've also learned more about the factory automation industry and processes.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Right here in the mountains of Utah!

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like bouldering, running, mountain biking, programming, and reading. 

Topics: Cimetrix Company Culture, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Meet Our Team

SECS/GEM series: Message Logging

Posted by Tim Hutchison: Senior Software Engineer on Sep 19, 2018 10:51:00 AM

In 1977, the classic movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" was released.  Towards the end of the movie, there is a dramatic "conversation" between the space aliens and the humans. One of the scientists makes the statement, "I hope someone is taking all this down."

What they really wanted was message logging!

Just like software logging is important for troubleshooting an application, logging the detailed message traffic between a factory host and the manufacturing equipment is just as important for troubleshooting.

For example, a host sends a command, and the equipment behaves based upon the message, but something does not work as expected.  It would be very helpful to see the message that was sent and the reply from the equipment, in conjunction with any other logs from the equipment to determine where the problem is located.

The format used to display/represent the logged messages is also very important. The latest industry standard for SECS message formatting is SEMI E173, the Specification for XML SECS-II Message Notation (SMN).

Here is an example:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<SECSMessageScenario xmlns="urn:semi-org:xsd.SMN">
                <Comment time="2018-02-05T18:19:20.365Z">State Change NotConnected</Comment>
                <Comment time="2018-02-05T18:19:20.400Z">State Change NotSelected</Comment>
                <HSMSMessage time="2018-02-05T18:19:20.394Z" sType="Select.req" direction="H to E" txid="1">
                                <Header>FFFF0000000100000001</Header>
                </HSMSMessage>
                <HSMSMessage time="2018-02-05T18:19:20.417Z" sType="Select.rsp" direction="E to H" txid="1">
                                <Header>FFFF0000000200000001</Header>
                                <Description>Communication Established</Description>
                </HSMSMessage>

Here is an S5,F5 example:

<SECSMessage s="5" f="5" direction="H to E" replyBit="true" txid="7" time="2018-02-05T18:19:20.507Z">
    <SECSData>
        <UI4 />
    </SECSData>
</SECSMessage>
<SECSMessage s="5" f="6" direction="E to H" replyBit="false" txid="7" time="2018-02-05T18:19:20.507Z">
    <SECSData>
        <LST>
            <LST>
                <BIN>0</BIN>
                <UI4>1</UI4>
                <ASC>Alarm 1 Text</ASC>
            </LST>
        </LST>
    </SECSData>
</SECSMessage> 

The SMN format is ideally suited for:

  • Capturing the HSMS header information in a clear way
  • Logging messages in an exact, binary format
  • Reading the logs using software
  • Creating a host or equipment emulator, since it is easy to read the logging from a software application and play it back.
  • Extracting data from the SMN logs

The logs can be captured by the Equipment, Host, or even a "network sniffer" like Cimetrix's CIMSniffer utility.

Cimetrix’s Logviewer utility supports SMN logs as well:

message logging blog image

With these standards and tools available, there's no reason to be like the scientist in Close Encounters, hoping that the messages were being logged.  Turn on logging!

Cimetrix's CIMConnect, HostConnect and SECSConnect all provide message logging in the SMN format.

Click here to read the other articles in our SECS/GEM Features and Benefits series. 

To download a white paper with an introduction to SECS/GEM, Click below:

SECS/GEM White Paper

Topics: SECS/GEM, SECS/GEM Series, Smart Manufacturing