Industry News, Trends and Technology, and Standards Updates

SEMICON West 2018 Standards Committee Meeting Updates

Posted by Brian Rubow: Director of Solutions Engineering on Jul 18, 2018 12:30:00 PM


During the SEMICON West exhibition in San Francisco this past week (July 9-10), the North American Information & Control Committee and its Task Forces met to continue SEMI standards development. Here is a brief summary of the proceedings.

The GEM 300 task force, in addition to reapproving E90, also approved minor title changes to the E39, E39.1, E40 and E40.1 standards. Each SEMI standard must be revised or reapproved to avoid becoming inactive. A few years ago, SEMI changed regulations that mandate that each standard declare its classification, such as a “guide” or “specification”. Since then the task force has been slowly correcting the titles. The E37.1 standard is in the middle of such classification, but has been riddled with reapproval complications due to minor concerns and some needed corrections in the standard. The ballot to make these corrections, 6349, failed for the second time at SEMICON West. The ballot will be slightly reworked and resubmitted for another round of voting. Another ballot, 6348 proposed to clean up the GEM E30 standard, to improve its readability and to bring the standard in conformance with current SEMI regulations and its current style guide. The forefront of the discussions was surrounding the confusing use of acronyms DVNAME, DVVAL, SVV and other such acronyms where the meaning and use of the acronyms was confusing to new readers. The 6348 ballot also failed, but hopefully the task force is progressing towards reaching an agreement. One major challenge is that ballot 6348 is a major revision ballot, where the entire specification is opened up for review and scrutiny, as opposed to line item ballots where only specific sections of a standard are modified.

Finally, and most exciting is ballot 6114B; a revision to the SECS-II E5 standard. The ballot proposed a set of new messages for transferring any large items between a host and equipment. Typically, one item in a message is limited to about 16.7 MB. The new messages are specifically targeting the transfer of equipment recipes, but the messages are written generic enough so that anything else can be transferred, too. The new messages support two styles of item transfer. Either the item can be transmitted in a single message, or broken into parts for transfer with the expectation to be concatenated by the recipient. Or the item can be transmitted in multiple messages, broken into parts with each part sent in a separate message and the same expectation to be concatenated by the recipient. An item is identified by its “type”, “id” and “version”. The messages are intended to resolve current issues with recipes where some equipment suppliers are using recipes that surpass 16.7 MB. And the messages open the door to be used by other SEMI standards and to be customized for specific applications. After passing this ballot, the task force intends to make the messages part of the GEM standard. Even though the ballot 6348 failed, the task force seems to have finally reached consensus on the message formats and continues to work out minor details.

The DDA Task Force continues to work on the next version of the Equipment Data Acquisition (EDA) standards. In the latest cycle of voting, changes were proposed to E138 (ballot 6336), E134 (ballot 6335) and E132 (ballot 6337). Although one part of E134 passed, most of E134 failed and the other ballots failed. All of the failed ballots will be reworked and resubmitted for voting. Additionally, during the task force meeting additional proposed changes were reviewed and discussed. The task force continues to make plans to move from HTTP 1.1 and SOAP/XML to HTTP 2.0 and Protocol Buffers. Specifically, the plan is to recommend using gRPC. Testing done to date indicated an 18 times performance improvement and significant bandwidth reduction. The task force also discussed changes to simplify the equipment model metadata handling. Finally, Cimetrix proposed the implementation of a new method of data sampling designed for higher data collection frequencies. The current trace data collection messages, while very effective for speeds up to maybe 80 Hz, become inefficient when trying to collect data at even faster rates. The concept is called a “cached data sample” where the equipment collects the data at a specified frequency and then reports the data in an array syntax. When using HTTP 2.0 and Protocol Buffers, this will be an especially efficient format expected to allow much higher frequencies.

The client specifies the data collection frequency as well as the reporting frequency. For example, a client might specify a frequency of 10 kHz and a reporting frequency of 1 s, where 10,000 data samples would be reported each second. Such proposal if accepted, combined with the faster Protocol Buffer, will open the door for a number of new data collection applications.

A lot of people are wondering when EDA freeze III will be done. Probably not until late next year. How soon this happens mostly depends on how efficiently task force members provide feedback on the ballot drafts.

Subscribe to our blog in the upper right corner of this page to be sure not to miss that or any of my future updates on the North American Information & Control Committee.

Topics: SEMI Standards, Semiconductor Industry, EDA/Interface A, Events, SEMICON

SEMICON West 2018 - Smart Manufacturing Pavilion Speech by Alan Weber

Posted by Cimetrix on Jul 11, 2018 2:02:00 PM

SEMICON West_BS_RGB_vert-187776-editedCimetrix is here at SEMICON West 2018 and we're excited to be a part of the first Smart Manufacturing Pavilion in the South Hall. We hope you've been able to drop by and hear some of the great speeches including our own experts Alan Weber, VP New Product Innovations and our VP & GM Smart Factory Business Ranjan Chatterjee with Dan Gamota (VP Digital Engineering Services) at Jabil.

Alan Weber's presentation is now available online. The topic he chose is "Making Smart Manufacturing Work: The Stakeholder-driven Requirements Development Process".

An important maxim of performance management is “You get what you measure.” This is largely true whether you are talking about employees, organizations, processes, time management, sports teams, or – to highlight a current global industry topic – Smart Manufacturing.

semi-west-alan-2018-3The question now becomes “How DO the industry’s leading manufacturers ensure the equipment they buy will support their Smart Manufacturing objectives?” This presentation explains how the careabouts of key stakeholder groups are “translated” into specific equipment automation and communications interface requirements which can then be directly included in the equipment purchasing specifications. As more semiconductor manufacturing companies take this approach, effectively “raising the bar” for the entire industry, the collective capability of the equipment suppliers will increase in response, to everyone’s benefit.

Through several interviews with leading manufacturers over the past 18 months, we discovered that the best way to accomplish this is through a focused, interactive questionnaire process. By asking very specific questions about people’s daily tasks, problem areas, expectations, success criteria, and other items of constant concern, we can take a generic automation purchase specification outline and generate a complete, factory-specific set of automation and communications interface purchase specifications in a matter of days. This is time well-spent when you consider the value and volume of equipment potentially affected… and the opportunity cost of not having these requirements clearly expressed.

If the above discussion triggers the question “I wonder if our equipment automation purchase specs are sufficient to address the Smart Manufacturing challenges we’ll face in the next few years?” this presentation will interest you. Taking its lessons to heart may be the most important next step you take in formulating you own company’s Smart Manufacturing implementation roadmap.

Get Alan Weber's SEMICON West presentation now!

Download Presentation

Topics: SEMI Standards, Semiconductor Industry, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Events

SEMICON West 2018 Pre-Show Blog

Posted by Cimetrix on Jul 5, 2018 12:29:00 PM

SEMICON West 2018 Beyond SmartSEMICON West 2018 is fast approaching and the Cimetrix team is gearing up for a great show.  The show runs from July 10th – 12th at the Moscone Center in San Francisco and we’re looking forward to meeting with all our present and future clients.

This year SEMICON West is unveiling the new Smart Manufacturing Pavilion to showcase the entire manufacturing process from silicon to systems, including Front End, Back End and PCB Assembly. Cimetrix is excited to announce that we are a sponsor and will be participating in the Smart Manufacturing Pavilion showcase, both as part of the Front End segment as well as in the PCB Assembly area.

The Smart Manufacturing Pavilion includes a “Meet the Experts Theater” featuring presentations from two of our own Cimetrix thought leaders.  Alan Weber will present “Making Smart Manufacturing Work: The Stakeholder-driven Requirements Development Process” on Wednesday, July 11th at 11:00 am. This process has already been used successfully to support the significant growth of SEMI EDA standards usage in Asia, but is equally relevant for a wide range of related Smart Manufacturing technologies.

Later on Wednesday afternoon at 3:00 pm, Ranjan Chatterjee and Dan Gamota of Jabil will present “Convergence of Technologies and Standards Across the Semiconductor, SMT and OSAT Segments.” 

Cimetrix will be exhibiting at booth #1122 in the South Hall, just a short walk from the Smart Manufacturing Pavilion. Stop by our booth or find us at the Pavilion to talk to our experts about your specific needs. We will have onsite product demonstrations as well as information about our company available.  You can also schedule in advance a time to meet with us at the show by filling out a quick form with your meeting request.  

Schedule a Meeting

See you at SEMICON!

Topics: Semiconductor Industry, EDA/Interface A, Events, SEMICON, Smart Manufacturing

Cimetrix Company Culture

Posted by Niel Westover on Jun 27, 2018 1:25:00 PM

Niel-WestoverThere are good jobs, and then there are great jobs.  Before joining Cimetrix, I had been happily working for nearly nine years at a decent-sized company, and I had no plans to leave any time soon.  But when an opportunity to work at Cimetrix presented itself, I was intrigued by the possibilities of working for a smaller company where my contributions would have a large impact.  After looking into Cimetrix  a bit more, I discovered a place focused on values, transparency, productivity and a fun company culture.  In the end, it wasn’t a hard decision to leave my good job and trade up for an even better one at Cimetrix. 

One of the things I appreciate most about Cimetrix is their commitment to transparency.  Upper management wants everyone to be involved in the vision and direction of the company.  To that end, we have monthly meetings where the current state of the company is made known, as well as the outlook for the future.  It seems that every year is a new banner year at Cimetrix.  This is a great time to be in the semiconductor industry.

In my time at Cimetrix, I’ve also had the opportunity to work with some great people.  My co-workers have been extremely knowledgeable and willing to help the newer employees without hesitation.  They are dedicated to their jobs and you can see the passion they have for their projects.

The company culture is another aspect that drew me to Cimetrix.  In my time here, I’ve seen costume contests and soup cook-offs.  I’ve played ping pong with managers, and video games with co-workers at lunch.  There are endless excuses to eat, and an endless of supply of soft drinks to wash down all the food.  Each year, the company hosts an annual party for employees to treat their families to a day of fun.  The benefits are great, and don’t forget about the ability to work from home 3 days a week.

All told, if you’re looking for a great place to work with a fun company culture, a focus on values and high employee involvement, then a job at Cimetrix is an opportunity you should not pass up.

To see all Cimetrix career opportunities, check out our Employment page!


Topics: Cimetrix Company Culture

Meet the Quality Engineering Team: Ryoko Fukushima

Posted by Cimetrix on Jun 20, 2018 11:42:00 AM

CIM_2017-6592-637302-editedThe Quality Software Engineering team at Cimetrix is dedicated to delivering the highest quality software products to all Cimetrix customers. The QE team works closely with the development engineers to plan and build sound, testable solutions in an agile working environment. Through rigorous testing and creative problem solving, we advocate for and build quality into our products. We accomplish this with a determined team that works hard to uphold high standards of both software functionality, and software structure.

The QE team is built from a wide range of engineering backgrounds and experience, from recent graduates to those with 10+ years of experience. This variety of talent provides an array of viewpoints, input, testing styles and product intuition that are crucial to Cimetrix delivering the best software in a competitive market.

This week we meet Ryoko Fukushima, Quality Engineering Team Lead. Read on to learn a little bit more about Ryoko.

How long have you been working at Cimetrix?

I have been with Cimetrix for 12 years.

What brought you to Cimetrix originally?

I was looking for a career where I could use my computer science degree and Japanese/English bilingual skills.

What do you like most about your job?

I really like that it's a small company with tight-knit employees. I like being able to have an impact on the culture and direction of the company, something that was missing from the larger companies I've worked for. 

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

It takes more time to do things right, but it is a good investment for future growth because of the level of quality built into our products. 

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

Having worked in several departments including Sales & Marketing, Client Training & Support, and our Engineering team, I'm now bringing that experience  into my new position as QE Team Lead to build quality processes and products. 

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

By using teamwork to discuss the issue and look for a solution. We're able to get different opinions and points of view across by sharing the challenge and solving the problem together. 

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

Agile programming. When I joined Cimetrix I didn't know anything about Agile, all my experience previously was with Waterfall programming. By utilizing Agile programming it's easier to introduce fixes and new features into our products quickly. 

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Topaz Mountain in southern Utah. I love to go rockhounding and camping!

What do you like to do in your free time?

I really enjoy Olympic weightlifting. My personal record is a 50 kilo snatch and a 66 kilo clean and jerk, and I continue training in a local Olympic weightlifting club.  

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture

European Advanced Process Control and Manufacturing Conference XVIII: Retrospective and Takeaways

Posted by Alan Weber: Vice President, New Product Innovations on Jun 13, 2018 11:30:00 AM

apcm-2018-1Cimetrix participated in the recent European Advanced Process Control and Manufacturing (apc|m) Conference, along with over 160 control systems professionals across the European and global semiconductor manufacturing industry. The conference was held in Dresden, a beautiful city in the Saxony state of Germany which was the site of the original European conference in 2000 and host to this annual event many times since.


This conference, now in its 18th year and organized by Silicon Saxony, is one of only a few global events dedicated to the domain of semiconductor process control and directly supporting technologies. The participants represented all links in the semiconductor manufacturing value chain, from universities and research institutes to component, subsystem, and equipment suppliers to software product and services providers to semiconductor IDMs and foundries across a wide spectrum of device types to industry trade organizations – something for everyone. 

As usual, the conference was very well organized, and featured a wide range of high-quality presentations, keynote addresses, and tutorial sessions. 

Highlights of the conference included the following:

  • apcm-2018-4“FDC to the power of 2 – how it got us to the next level of manufacturing excellence“ by Jan Räbiger of GLOBALFOUNDRIES – one of a number of long-time thought leaders in the development and application of APC technology, Jan described the latest phase of FDC system evolution, which includes broad use of the EDA/Interface A standards to zero in on recipe step-specific anomalies that had previously escaped detection.
  • “Applying the Tenets of Industrie 4.0 / Smart Manufacturing to Microelectronics Next Generation Analytics and Applications“ by James Moyne (University of Michigan / Applied Materials) – James presented a very nice decomposition of the domain into 6 topic areas (Big Data Environment, Advanced Analytics and Applications, Supply Chain Integration, CPS/IIoT, Cloud Computing, Digital Twin) and explained our industry’s relative status and recommended actions in each. one of the conclusions from his very disciplined treatment of the topic is that “Smart Manufacturing is essentially a connectivity problem” – and we couldn’t agree more!
  • “Lithography Control is Data Hungry” by Tom Hoogenboom of ASML – his illustration of just how precise litho metrology has become was brilliant: controlling exposure and registration at the 5nm node on a 300mm substrate is like moving your chair in the conference meeting room by 1 mm and having an airborne observer of a 300km diameter region know it happened!apcm-2018-5

Finally, as in many prior years, Cimetrix was privileged to present at this conference, as Alan Weber delivered a talk entitled “EDA Applications and Benefits for Smarter Manufacturing.” This presentation described the potential use of SEMI EDA (Equipment Data Acquisition) standards to improve the performance and benefit of a range of manufacturing applications; it also included a specific ROI case study for the use of EDA in the all-important FDC (Fault Detection and Classification) application to reduce the false alarm rate and the severity of process excursions. If you want to know more, you can request to view a copy of the entire presentation.

However, it wasn’t all work and no play… The local sponsors, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Infineon, and XFAB, hosted the conference banquet at the picturesque Adam’s Gasthof in the nearby city of Moritzburg.


In addition to all the food and libation one could possibly consume, the participants were feted with a torchlight walking tour of the town and its iconic Moritzburg Castle. All in all, German hospitality and history at its best.  


The insights gained from these and the other 30+ presentations are too numerous to list here, but in aggregate, they provided an excellent reminder of how relevant semiconductor technology has become for our comfort, sustenance, safety, and overall quality of life.

This (apc|m) conference and its sister conference in the US are excellent venues to understand what manufacturers do with all the data they collect, so if this topic piques your interest, be sure to put these events on your calendar in the future. In the meantime, if you have questions about any of the above, or want to know how equipment connectivity and control fit into the overall Smart Manufacturing landscape, please contact us!

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

SECS/GEM Series: GEM Message Spooling Capabilities

Posted by Jesse Lopez: Software Engineer on Jun 6, 2018 10:49:00 AM

Purpose of Spooling Messagesphone-cut-cord

Even the most robust computer networks experience communication failure. Regardless of the cause, a small outage could be responsible for a significant amount of mission critical data loss. GEM mediates this loss of data by providing the message spooling capability.

Spooling Definition

“Spooling is a capability whereby the equipment can queue messages intended for the host during times of communication failure and subsequently deliver these messages when communication is restored" SEMI E30-0717 7.12.

Spooling Benefits

Automated factories are data-driven. Data is extracted and analyzed to make decisions that influence how engineering and management teams react to ensure product yield is high and scrap is low.

Gaps in this data could lead to erroneous judgement or even guessing. Spooling is a backup system that ensures this data will be preserved and restored reducing the risk of losing valuable data.

GEM Capability Requirements

Spooling is not a GEM requirement however, if this additional capability is implemented it must be done so properly. Here are a few requirements for implementing a compliant spooling interface.

The equipment must provide the host with the ability to enable and disable spooling via the equipment constant “EnableSpooling”. This EC is published by the equipment and the host can select the desired state.

When Spooling is implemented, it must be functional for all relevant primary messages and accessible using an S2, F43/F44 transaction. This excludes stream 1 messages which must be rejected if they attempt to “set spool”. 

Non-Volatile Storage

The equipment is responsible for allocating enough non-volatile-storage to store all messages that have been spooled for at least one processing cycle of the equipment. The NVS will also house all spooling-related status variables. NVS is used for this data so that if a power outage occurs the data is persisted.

Loss of Power

All messages that were spooled prior to the equipment’s power loss will be available since they are persisted in non-volatile storage. All spooling context is restored from NVS if spooling was active at the time of the power loss occurred. This includes the spooled data as well as all spooling related status variables persisted in NVS.

Host responsibility for implementation of Spooling

Message spooling requires hosts to participate to successfully recover after a loss of communication. It is Ideal to leave spooling in the disabled state until the host has been programmed to properly handle all conditions that may occur in the entirety of this state machine. Disabled spooling is better than improperly managed spooling. 

Once communication is re-established, the host must manage requesting the spooled messages. The host also has the option of purging the files from the equipment when necessary.


Though spooling is not a fundamental GEM requirement, if implemented it must be done so properly. Both host and equipment software have a responsibility to ensure GEM compliance when spooling is enabled. GEM spooling protects the potential loss of valuable data and provides a standard for both equipment and host software to adhere to with ease.

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

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

SECS/GEM White Paper

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

Meet the Team CT&S: Jesse Lopez

Posted by Cimetrix on May 29, 2018 10:33:00 AM

Jesse Lopez-586454-editedMeet Jesse Lopez, a member of the Client Training and Support team. Read on to learn a little bit more about Jesse.

How long have you been working at Cimetrix?

I have worked at Cimetrix since August 2017             

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

I received my BS in Computer Science from National University.  I'm currently working towards my Masters in Computer Science at National University as well.  I also completed AEGIS Computer Network Training while in the Navy.  I also have an Associate's of Science from Utah State University. 

What brought you to Cimetrix originally?

I worked at IM Flash Technologies as an Engineering Technician.  After getting my Bachelor's in CS I saw a job posting with Cimetrix that perfectly fit my unique background. 

What do you like most about your job?

The satisfaction of solving problems with a proactive support team.

What do you think is it means to provide great customer support?

I think that great customer support means listening to understand and not just to hear. Once you can fully understand the customers problem, then you can help provide an effective complete solution.

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

Being able to provide training to new team members and clients.

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

I try to use all of the resources I have to figure it out myself. If it is time sensitive or I have spent too much time on it then I will run it by the rest of the CT&S team.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Sydney, Australia. 

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

Multi-threading and working with COM objects.

What do you like to do in your free time?

Spend time with my wife and three sons. I enjoy teaching my sons how to fix what they break and how to create what they imagine.

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture

SECS/GEM Series: User Interface

Posted by David Francis: Director of Product Management on May 23, 2018 11:04:00 AM

secs/gem user interfaceI remember as a new Boy Scout, we planned a hiking trip up into a primitive area in the mountains near my home. One of the first things we learned about reading a map was where to find the legend. The map legend contains important information needed to read a map, like indicating which direction is north. Now that we knew where to find the legend, we could orient the map so it made sense as we were planning our hike.

Most equipment in a typical semiconductor or electronics assembly factory has a user interface that contains a lot of information about the equipment. Most equipment also contains many screens that are used for controlling or operating the equipment. With the use of GEM, a factory host system can control the equipment and collect important data generated during processing.

Like a map, there is a lot of information available on the user interface of a piece of equipment. It can sometimes be difficult to know where to find the important information the host system needs to properly control and communicate with the equipment. The GEM standards provide guidelines on how critical items on the equipment user interface should be presented and controlled. For example, if the host sends information to the equipment operator about tasks they need to perform, the GEM terminal message guidelines state that the information must remain on the user interface of the equipment until the operator acknowledges that they have read it.

The SEMI E30 standard defines the Specification for the Generic Model for Communications and Control of Manufacturing Equipment (GEM). In addition to providing the definition of the common set of equipment behavior and communication capabilities required for manufacturing automation, the standard also provides requirements on which items must be present on an equipment user interface and how they should be represented. User interface requirements spelled out by the standard address communication state, terminal service new message indicator, terminal services message recognition button, communications state default and communications state selector.

This may seem like a small thing, but just like knowing where to find the legend on a map enabled understanding of the lines and symbols on the map, so too the GEM standards can help provide an understanding of information presented on an equipment interface that is essential for communication with a factory host system.

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

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

SECS/GEM White Paper

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

Meet the Team CT&S: Ian Ryu

Posted by Cimetrix on May 16, 2018 1:20:00 PM

Ian_Ryu-885852-editedMeet Ian Ryu, a member of the Client Training and Support team in Korea. Read on to learn a little bit more about Ian.

How long have you been working at Cimetrix?

I started in May 2016 and have been here for two years now. 

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

I got my BS in electronics/electrical engineering in Korea.

What brought you to Cimetrix originally?

Cimetrix was looking for an engineer who can speak Korean for the Korean market. 

What do you like most about your job? 

The people, especially our leadership team. I have strong trust and pleasure working with people here.
I also have strong confidence that I am improving my skills as a software engineer

What do you think it means to provide great customer support?

Making customers happy.  By doing that we will grow together for mutual success.

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

Becoming a better engineer with my team. I’ve been learning and improving myself with them.

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

I've tried to develop myself for when these situations come up. I have colleagues who are experts in each product, too

What’s your favorite vacation spot? 

I enjoy camping with my family. We went to Mirror Lake and Goblin Valley in Utah many times.

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

Working with honest, hard-working people raises me up with relief

What do you like to do in your free time? 

Playing video games with my children. I can’t forget my 5 year old son beat me on Mario cart!

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture