Industry News, Trends and Technology, and Standards Updates

David P. Faulkner: Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Dave Faulkner joined Cimetrix in August 1996 and serves as the Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Prior to Cimetrix, Faulkner was employed from 1986 to 1996 as the Manager of PLC Marketing, Manager of Automotive Operations, and District Sales Manager for GE Fanuc Automation, a global supplier of factory automation computer equipment specializing in programmable logic controllers, factory software, and computer numerical controls. Faulkner earned a B.S Electrical Engineering and an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
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Recent Posts

To Better Serve Our Clients, We Will Be Discontinuing the Mailing of CDs and Hardcopy COAs for Runtime Licenses

We here at Cimetrix are excited that we are implementing a new process that will both benefit our clients and the environment. We have always delivered our software runtime license orders to our clients on CDs along with hardcopies of their Certificates of Authenticity (COA). Well, starting January 1st, we will begin delivering orders to our clients through emails that will include a digital COA for each runtime license and instructions on how to download their software.

As a company, we have always prided our self on providing the finest quality customer experience possible so we feel that this new process is just one more step in improving our service. There are a number of benefits of this change:

  • Most of our clients integrate Cimetrix’s software with their own software by using the Software Development Kit (SDK), most runtime license CDs are simply thrown away, which in today’s world is really not acceptable. By making this simple change, we will be eliminating thousands of pounds of potential waste.

  • We are constantly improving our software products and the latest version should always be obtained from our Support website (—not from a CD stored on a shelf somewhere for who knows how long. This change ensures that the latest version of our software will always be used.

  • The shipping cost and time delay by sending CDs by a carrier will be eliminated which will be a direct cost savings to you. 

  • The proof-of-purchase for our runtime license is the COA, not the CD. The COA number is what is used to obtain the license code using our online license generator. 

So the only thing we need our clients to do is to make sure we have an email address on file of where they would like their future orders sent. It’s that simple. We do foresee a period of adjustment for some clients, so for those that still want CDs and hardcopy COAs delivered, we will have this option available for an additional fee.

Of course, if you have any questions or comments regarding this policy, we are always happy to hear from you.  You can contact us at

Topics: Customer Support, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Products

SEMICON Europa 2015 Offers Insights into Upcoming Trends in the Semiconductor Industry in Europe

This week Cimetrix exhibited at SEMICON Europa 2015 along with about 400 other companies in the semiconductor industry in Dresden, Germany. The leading trade fair offered a chance for members of the industry to learn about new topics, information, and opportunities to help support and further develop the semiconductor industry across Europe.

An estimated 6,000 were in attendance at this SEMI-sponsored event. Some of the highlights of the three-day event were:

  • The Industry 4.0 Session: The term "Industry 4.0" has been established to describe the penetration of information science into manufacturing forming the next industrial revolution. The TechArena provided information about different aspects of this process.

  • The Emerging Research, Materials and Processes Session: The nanoelectronics research community is continuously exploring a range of new materials to enable further scaling of semiconductor devices and associated technologies, as well as many potential methods to create these materials with methods that allow utilization for future technology nodes. In this session several of these new materials and process developments were discussed by experts in their specific fields. Focus was on the unique properties of the materials or processes, what makes them specifically suitable for targeted applications, how they are characterized and/or how they can be fabricated. Among the topics that were presented were the newest developments for GaN processing, two-dimensional semiconductors devices and fabrication, metal organic frameworks as low-k materials, advanced memory materials such as FeRAM or MRAM Spintronics, and Selective Atomic Layer Deposition.

  • The Semiconductor Technology Conference (STC): This conference explored the efforts of our industry to ensure productivity enhancements for future advanced technology nodes, considering both a wafer size transition, and a continuation of current state of the art and smaller wafer sizes. Updates from around the world on wafer size transition activities were heard and there was a dedicated focus on “beam-based” metrology activities from METRO450 in Israel. SEMI invited their partners to share with attendees their insights, activities, and results in the preparation of future offerings of process equipment, materials, IT/fab automation systems, facilities and fab infrastructure, in order to rise to the challenge to ensure a continued economic manufacturing of state of the art semiconductor chips.

This year we exhibited as part of Silicon Saxony's Industrie 4.0 booth that consisted of about 40 kiosks representing companies with varying focuses within the industry. On Wednesday night, Silicon Saxony played host to all of the booth's exhibitors in a "Countries of Europe"-themed party. The event gave the Cimetrix team a chance to catch-up with friends and colleagues, and discuss new business opportunities. We'd like to thank Silicon Saxony for the great networking opportunity.

We are looking forward to SEMICON Europa 2016 in Grenoble, France next October and hope to see you there. If you didn't get a chance to meet with Cimetrix in Dresden this week and you would like to learn more about our complete line of factory connectivity and equipment control software solutions, please click here

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

SEMICON Japan 2014

It was exciting to be at SEMICON Japan a couple of weeks ago. The show was in a new venue – Tokyo Big Sight; in previous years, it had been at the International Exhibition Halls & International Conference Hall in Tokyo.



Tokyo Big Sight

I was especially interested in seeing some of our equipment supplier customers, since we have several new customers who have completed their systems and will ship products using Cimetrix software in 2015 using both our Interface A and SECS/GEM software.

We were well represented at the show. We had a large presence in the booths of our distributors in Japan.




Both Meidensha and Rorze had banks of computers set up to demonstrate Cimetrix software, and both booths were busy with demos.


SEMICON Japan was first held in 1977, and is the largest of the SEMICON events held worldwide each year. This year, there were forums covering subjects such as:

  • Recent advances in 2.5D/3D ICs
  • TSVs in 2.5D and 3D
  • IoT (Internet of Things) and its application
  • Advanced Lithography
  • Design For Manufacturing (DFM)

You can read more about the event at SEMICON Japan.

Topics: Partners, Events, Global Services

Trends in Semiconductor Equipment Industry - August 2013 Update

When I posted a blog back in April, I wrote about the change in the industry outlook over the previous six months. In October 2012, the semiconductor equipment industry looked as if it was going to go into a decline, perhaps a steep decline, but by January 2013, the outlook looked brighter. By March 2013, industry analysts were predicting 2013 would be down, but not as badly as analysts originally thought. Still, TSMC was reporting they are adding capacity and Applied Materials announced they were on an up cycle. In addition, the forecast for 2014 was looking bright, with predictions of healthy growth.

As we move into the third quarter of 2013, the expectation is that semiconductor equipment total year revenues will decline somewhere between 1.5% and 7.5% from the $36.9 million in 2012. We are seeing equipment suppliers being a bit cautious about Q3 of this year. Several companies are offering guidance of no growth this quarter.

The forecast for 2014 continues to be upbeat, with SEMI expecting equipment revenue up by 21% and VLSI Research calling for a 27% increase. The majority of that growth will be in wafer processing equipment, which is expected to increase by 24% from 2013 levels.

Here is the chart provided by SEMI in July (see SEMI Sees 21% Increase in Chip Equipment Spending for 2014):

 SEMI Forecast - July 2013

Another encouraging sign is the SEMI North American book-to-bill ratio has remained above 1 for the past six months (see North American Semiconductor Equipment Industry Posts June 2013 Book-to-Bill Ratio of 1.10).

SEMI Book-to-Bill June 2011 to June 2013

North American Semiconductor Industry Bookings and Billings ($M)

The above chart shows that bookings have been going up since November 2012, and, since January 2013, more orders were received compared to products that were shipped, meaning that the industry is growing.

The question is “What is fueling this drive to build more capacity?” The answer is demand for mobile computing and communication. SIA (the Semiconductor Industry Association) announced worldwide sales of semiconductors in May 2013 of $24.70 billion, an increase of 4.6%. That is the largest sequential monthly increase in sales for the industry since March 2010.

IDC forecasts the mobile wireless communication segment will grow over 10% in 2013, and the consumer segment, including tablet computers, e-readers, set top boxes, and DVD recorders, will grow over 15% this year. Even automobiles are getting smarter, and semiconductor content will grow over 5% in vehicles this year (see IDC Forecasts Worldwide Semiconductor Revenue Will Grow 6.9% and Reach $320 Billion in 2013).

We are in a cyclical industry, and we know that what goes up must come down. If the analysts are correct, next year should be a robust year for semiconductor equipment makers. We will keep you posted on what we are seeing in the semiconductor equipment industry.

Topics: Semiconductor Industry

Trends in the Semiconductor Equipment Industry

By Dave Faulkner

Executive VP, Sales and Marketing, Cimetrix

Back in October of 2012, the outlook for the semiconductor equipment industry was dominated by dark clouds. First, the U.S. and European economies were in the doldrums, and there was a great deal of discussion about an economic slowdown in the China. But the economy was not the only factor that weighed upon the industry. There was also a significant amount of uncertainty about what was happening with the personal computer market. Demand for PCs was dropping, which impacted not just microprocessors, but DRAMs as well.

With all the news about the global economic health and the trends in PCs, analysts were calling for a significant fall-off in semiconductor equipment orders. Gartner, in October of last year, forecasted 2012 would end with a 13% drop in equipment revenue from 2011 levels, and that 2013 would be flat to slightly down. (See Semi Equip Spending To Drop 13.3% In 2012, Gartner Says).

However, the story became even worse. In December, Gartner’s forecast changed to a drop of 17% in revenue in 2012 and a further decrease of 10% in 2013 (Gartner: Fab equipment still getting softer, next up cycle starts in 2014). SEMI’s forecasts for 2012 and 2013 reflected a similar decline of 12% and 2%, respectively (See Semiconductor New Equipment Market $38.2 Billion for 2012; Recovery in 2014.

Analysts were so focused on the bad news that they did not consider the good news coming out. For example, the drop in PCs was accompanied by an increase in demand for tablet computers and smartphones, both of which used processors, flash memory, and mobile communications chips. Just a couple of months after the dismal forecasts, the three largest semiconductor manufacturers announced their intent to continue or increase equipment expenditures.

When industry analysts started to see some of the brighter signs, the picture improved. In January, SEMI called for a flat to down year, with an uptick in the second half of 2013 (In 2013, Fab Equipment Spending for Front-End Fabs to Shrink Back to 0% Growth). Here is what they predicted, effectively forecasting 0% growth in 2013:

 Fab Equipment Sales By Region

While 0% growth does not sound very good by itself, it certainly sounds better than down 10% or more!

In January 2013, market analysts were calling for a strong increase in semiconductor device sales, led primarily by communications chips (See EETimes: Semi Upswing Seen in 2013). TSMC described plans to increase their capital expenditures by 8% to a record $9 billion for 28nm production and initial 20nm technology. Intel announced they would invest $13 billion in 2013, including $2 billion on construction of a 450mm facility. Samsung even stated they would invest $11-$12 billion in 2013, approximately what they spent in 2012.

In addition, Applied Materials’ latest quarterly report showed a strong forecast, up 15-25% ( In SEMI’s February and March 2013 semiconductor book-to-bill reports, we had some very good news, showing the market for equipment growing with a robust book-to-bill of 1.10 for each month.

Over the last four months, we have seen a significant shift in the semiconductor industry forecast, from a flat-to-down year to an overall positive year for semiconductor equipment revenue. When we look at history of the semiconductor equipment industry over the last 15 years, we see how the industry cycles up and down. It is our belief we are currently experiencing the industry trough, when capital equipment sales are at their lowest in the cycle and they are about to trend upwards. At this point, it is difficult to forecast accurately what that increase will be, but we think the trends are positive.

Stay tuned and we will continue to update the story.

Topics: Semiconductor Industry

So Much Data, So Little Time

by Dave Faulkner,
EVP, Sales & Marketing

Engineers love data. Business people love information. But it all starts with high-quality, real-time data. The possibilities are endless with good data.

As an equipment supplier, history probably has you living with a tool architecture from the early 300mm days. The focus was on implementing AMHS systems and meeting the GEM300 standards. A data driven architecture wasn't on the radar screen. And it wasn't a business priority. Times have changed. Fabs started asking for more data by creating the SEMI Interface A standards - and equipment suppliers are learning they can produce more productive equipment by leveraging the right data.

Interface A was an interesting concept when it started in the early 2000s. Discoverable data available to the fabs in real time would seem to be the answer to many problems. But the adoption has been less than stellar - even with strong endorsement and technical support by ISMI. Lack of fab side applications plumbed to use the Interface A data and "ownership" issues of the data haven't helped. These are real business problems that must be solved and will be solved with the next wave of fab purchases.

But what have we learned as equipment suppliers and software providers? Tool data models are helpful. Self description is great. We can create high performance data gathering applications that integrate with existing tool control architectures to make data available and controllable by the equipment supplier. Look at the performance of CIMPortal, our comprehensive equipment data acquisition (EDA) solution. We also learned that given the opportunity to "start over", we can create new tool control architectures that are data driven and prepared for the future. Look at CIMControlFramework. So the data is available - or you can make it available with an existing or new tool control architecture.

Let's put this data to work. Either to benefit you as the tool supplier or to help your customer. How is your tool accepted at the fabs? Do you have contingencies on your customer's payments? Does tool uptime have an impact on the tool price? Are your warranty costs too high? You get the point. With high-quality, real-time data at our fingertips, we can solve some of these business issues. We are at the beginning of a phase where the tool supplier makes use of this data and it directly impacts business results. Tool side fault detection, preventative maintenance, whatever is needed. The important point is we are finally starting from a strong foundation with the right data at the right time - and it can lead to increased margins or higher levels of customer satisfaction. Bring us your business problem and let's build something together to put this data to good use. Let's do it now!

Topics: Industry Highlights, EDA/Interface A, Equipment Control-Software Products, Data Collection/Management, Cimetrix Products

Are we in recovery yet?

by Dave Faulkner
Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing

Semiconductor Financial RecoveryIt is starting to feel like a recovery in the semiconductor industry.  Wall Street is saying to keep on eye on semiconductor stocks and even semiconductor equipment stocks.  SEMI just reported that worldwide semiconductor equipment bookings for Q2 2009 were 83% greater than Q1 2009.  Capacity utilization is likely to reach 88% in Q3 2009 according to IC Insights, up from 57% in Q1 2009.   And the SEMI World Fab Forecast is now calling for a 64% increase in fab spending in 2010.  The fear is starting to subside.   Q1/Q2 2009 appear to be the low point for equipment suppliers and we appear to be heading up the hill, but starting from a very low elevation.  I think we are finally in the recovery.

We have a very unique look at the semiconductor industry.  Our customers report tool shipments based on license orders.  And our customer base is very broad including all tool types in the frontend and backend.  We see who is booming and who is busting.  While we would never, never, never discuss individual company progress, I can say that shipments (via way of license revenues) have hit their bottom and are on the way back up.  And we are seeing this in all areas of the semiconductor industry.  It is like seeing a bit of blue sky during the storm, it gives us hope for all.  We just need to give the rest of the storm clouds time to move on…..

Topics: Semiconductor Industry