Industry News, Trends and Technology, and Standards Updates

#Techtoo? Awareness is key to avoiding headlines

Posted by Brice Laris MPC, CPLP; Human Resources Manager on Apr 3, 2019 11:00:00 AM

DiscriminationpicThe #MeToo movement has brought the issues of harassment and discrimination to the forefront of American thought. High profile celebrities, business people and politicians have had their illegal behavior exposed as a result of the movement. While the situations generally profiled in the media center around rampant abuse and overtly inappropriate behavior, it is important to consider that not all issues of harassment and discrimination take the form of sexual assault. In fact, sometimes even our best-intentioned behaviors can send the wrong message.

For example, let's say a hiring manager is looking at four candidates for a software engineer position. Three of the candidates are male, one female. The hiring manager currently has all males reporting to him and they frequently go out to sporting events and movies together. The hiring manager worries that if he hires a female, the fun dynamic he has now will be impacted. After all, women may not be interested in football or slasher movies, right?

There are two fallacies in this hiring manager’s thinking. The first is the impact of choosing someone who is not like the others. Often times the most productive teams are those that bring a variety of skills, knowledge and experience to bear. The second fallacy is in making assumptions about a person based on gender. When gender (or race, religion, sexual orientation, etc.) impacts your expectations of how someone will act or work, it is not only insulting to the person, it can lead to bad decision making.

Of course, one key fact is that when hiring, you should not be looking for a friend to hang out with. You should be looking at someone who can perform the job and make positive contributions to the company. Worrying too much about team dynamics, and not enough about job skill, can lead to a bunch of friends who can’t meet the goals of the company.

We must be aware that even our most well-intentioned actions can potentially be inappropriate, and possibly illegal. A male employee working the night shift at a grocery store along with several other employees gets asked to bring in the shopping carts. He agrees and brings in the carts. After this happens for a few nights in a row, the employee asks his manager why only he has to get the carts while none of the female employees do. The manager replies, “Well, this late it is pretty dark, and I don’t like sending our female employees out alone in the dark. There are a lot of crazy people out there.”

While this may seem like a perfectly reasonable explanation, making an employment decision such as work assignments, based on gender is illegal. If there is a legitimate safety concern about female employees being out after dark, then the manager should look for solutions that don’t involve gender bias. Perhaps security cameras need to be installed. Maybe two people should be sent out instead of just one. There are many possibilities you could brainstorm that would not run afoul of the law.

negative-space-office-team-building-fist-bump-desk-rawpixel

Finally, it's important to watch how small impact behaviors can escalate into larger issues. What if one of the female office clerks that supports your team often says things like, “You know women, we change our minds a lot” or, “I need a big strong man to help me move this table.”? If you thought you don’t need to be concerned because a female is talking about females, then you could be making a harmful mistake. If a male said something like, “This is women’s work” it would almost instantly raise our eyebrows and we’d address it. But either gender making denigrating comments about their own gender can also have a cumulative effect. People who get to used hearing a stereotype reinforced may start to view the statement as fact. How do we memorize something? Repeat it over and over. How do we build a negative attitude towards anything? By hearing or saying negative things about it over and over. The result is that, at some point we may become so desensitized, we inadvertently speak or act in an inappropriate way.

While this blog post has focused mainly on gender; any protected class such as race, religion, gender identity, sexual orientation or veteran status can be substituted in. When working with managers, co-workers and direct reports, the only legal thing to do is treat everyone equally. Don’t let non-job-related factors influence your judgment. Treat people fairly and make your employment decisions based on knowledge, skills and abilities and not any other factors.

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture

SEMICON China 2019, one of the largest SEMICON Shows ever, is in the books!

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Director of Marketing on Mar 28, 2019 12:22:50 PM

Read the Post-show report of the SEMICON China 2019 show today. Read it now in Chinese or below in English.

SEMICON China 20193月20日至22日在上海国际博览中心举行的SEMICON China 2019,不仅是全球规模最大的SEMICON展会,还与Productronica China, Electronica China和FPD China同时举办,集高科技领域于一体,令人惊叹。因此,SEMICON中国吸引了世界领先的技术公司,这些公司设计、开发、制造和供应驱动着当今最复杂的消费和商业产品的微电子产品。这个庞大的群体为这个行业创造了巨大的能量和令人兴奋的事物!这是Cimetrix作为独立参展商参加展会的第一年,整个展会期间我们的展位都很忙碌! 我们的团队成员来自全球各地,包括中国大陆的黄玉峰和刘波(Clare Liu), 来自台湾的Samson Wang, 来自韩国的Hwal Song和来自美国的Bob Reback, Dave FaulknerBooth finished 2和Kim Daich。以我们传统的SECE/GEM和EDA产品为特色,我们的展位展示了各种设备的连接和控制解决方案。

总的来说,SEMICON China对Cimetrix来说是一个巨大的成功,我们对中国半导体市场的机遇有了第一手的了解。我们的客户也对我们的产品感到满意。展会已经结束,我们还有很多工作要做,去跟进的新需求和机会。

Final booth pic

要了解更多关于Cimetrix产品和服务的信息,您可以随时安排会议。

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SEMICON China1-1

SEMICON China 2019, held on March 20-22 at Shanghai International Expo Center, is not only the largest SEMICON show in the world, it was co-located with FPD China, Productronica China and Electronica China… an awe-inspiring collection of high technology at one venue. As such, SEMICON China attracts the world's leading technology companies who design, develop, manufacture, and supply the microelectronics that drive today's most sophisticated consumer and commercial products. The huge crowds created a tremendous amount of energy and excitement for the industry!Booth finished 2

This the first year Cimetrix participated as a stand-alone exhibitor, and we stayed very busy at our booth throughout the event! Our team consisted of a global group with Yufeng Huang and Clare Liu from China, Samson Wang of Taiwan, Hwal Song from Korea and Bob Reback, Dave Faulkner and Kim Daich from the U.S. And, featuring our traditional line of GEM (SECS/GEM) and EDA products, we had demos available in the booth for our full range of equipment connectivity and control solutions.Final booth pic

Overall, SEMICON China was a great success for Cimetrix, and we came away with first-hand knowledge of the scope of opportunity in the China semiconductor market. Our customers are happy and there is a lot of work to do now that the show is over to follow up with new leads and opportunities.

To learn more about Cimetrix products and services, you can schedule a meeting any time.

Schedule a Meeting

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

Resources Round-up: White Papers

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Director of Marketing on Mar 26, 2019 11:15:00 AM

Resource Center-1The Cimetrix Resource Center is a great tool for anyone who wants to learn more about industry standards including GEM (SECS/GEM), GEM300, EDA/Interface A, and more. These standards are among the key enabling technologies for the Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 global initiatives that are having a major impact on many industries. Manufacturers and their equipment suppliers must be able to connect equipment and other data sources, gather and analyze data in real time, and optimize production through a wide variety of applications. The free white papers listed below provide in-depth coverage of the most broadly used equipment connectivity standards. They have been written by technical experts who have participated in and led the standards development process for more than two decades.

Be sure to stop by our Resource Center any time or download the white papers directly from the links in this posting.

Resources

Topics: Industry Standards, SECS/GEM, EDA/Interface A, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Programming Tools, Photovoltaic/PV Standards, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0

Meet the Front Office - Brice Laris

Posted by Cimetrix on Mar 21, 2019 11:30:00 AM

Brice_Laris-1It's time to meet the folks that keep Cimetrix running - our Front Office team! Meet Brice Laris, Human Resources Manager at Cimetrix.

Read on to learn a little bit more about Brice

How long have you been working at Cimetrix? 

I've been at Cimetrix a little under a year.

What is your role at Cimetrix?

I am the Human Resources Manager.

What drew you to Cimetrix originally?

The opportunity to create a Human Resources organization for a company that had never needed one, but now did because of its growth. 

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

The opportunity to train employees on the “soft skills” that help them to be successful. 

What do you find to be most challenging about your job?

Finding candidates that are a great fit for our specialized positions. At Cimetrix, we want talented people, who want a long term career, and who can exemplify our company’s core values of Integrity, Team, Growth and Clients. Finding one of those attributes is easy, two is challenging and three is down right difficult. But when you do find that great candidate and there is alignment between what we want and what the candidate wants, it is a great day!

What are your top 3 favorite movies and/or books?

Movies: 1. Independence Day, 2. all of the Star Trek movies JJ Abrams didn’t do, and 3. Hamlet 2.
Books: 1. Heir to the Empire by Timothy Zahn, 2. World War Z by Max Brooks, 3. Red Rising by Pierce Brown

What do you like to do in your free time?

Travel, especially to places where there is a beach or a Disney park. I also read about 24 books a year, play video games and take care of my three cats. 

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

EDA Implementation Insights: What Data Should I Publish?

Posted by Derek Lindsey: Product Manager on Mar 19, 2019 11:30:00 AM

Previous blog posts have discussed the merits of choosing a commercial software platform for implementing the equipment side of EDA (Equipment Data Acquisition) and how you would use that package to differentiate your equipment data collection capabilities from your competitors.

In this post, we discuss how to design the equipment model to contain enough information to make it useful without publishing so much data that it becomes cumbersome for your factory customers to find the data that is most important to them.

Data to Publish

The automation requirements for the most advanced fabs call for the latest versions (Freeze II) of all the standards in the EDA suite, including the EDA Common Metadata (SEMI E164) standard. In addition to providing an excellent foundation for a new equipment model, E164 enables consistent implementation of GEM300, commonality across equipment types, automation of many data collection processes, less work to interpret collected data, and true plug-and-play client applications—all of which contribute to major increases in engineering efficiency. These capabilities benefit both the equipment suppliers and their factory customers alike. Therefore, equipment models should make all E164-compliant data available.

To summarize, those who remember the complexity of implementing SECS-II before GEM came along (pre-1992) will understand this analogy: E164 is to EDA what GEM was to SECS-II.

  • Fab-specified Data

The second blog post made the following statement:

“In effect, the metadata model IS the data collection 'contract' between the equipment supplier and the fab customer."

“This is why the most advanced fabs have been far more explicit in their automation purchase specifications with respect to equipment model content, going so far as to specify the level of detailed information they want to collect about process performance, equipment behavior, internal control parameters, setpoints and real-time response of common mechanisms.”

You only have to read the latest requirements specs for these fabs to get more specifics. Pick the one from your customer base that sets the bar highest and let that be your target.

Data to Avoid in the Model

It is easy to fall into the mindset that if publishing some data through the EDA interface is desirable, the more data we can publish, the better. This is not always the case. In his fascinating book, The Paradox of Choice, Barry Schwartz makes the case that freedom is defined by one’s ability to choose, but more choice doesn’t mean more freedom. In fact, too many choices actually cripple one’s ability to choose. The same can be said of data published in an EDA interface. Making too much data available actually hinders the creation of EDA client applications.information-overload-1-1

We were recently working with a fab to perform a proof-of-concept where we connected an EDA client to a piece of equipment with an EDA interface. We were able to connect to the equipment in a matter of minutes, but finding suitable data to collect for our proof-of-concept took almost an hour because there was so much superfluous data published from the equipment.

Publishing everything including the kitchen sink reduces the ability to create an efficient EDA client application.

Some examples of data to avoid publishing in the model include:

  • Parameters that have no value – If a parameter is available in the model, but the value is not published by the equipment control application, that parameter is just extra noise in the interface. Consider not adding it to the model.
  • Parameters with values that do not change – If a parameter value does not change during the life of the application, it does not make sense to collect that parameter’s data. For example, if an application uses an equipment constant, it may not be necessary to publish that constant through the EDA model.
  • Irrelevant data – If a parameter contains data that is irrelevant to data publication, it should not be added to the model. For example, having parameters in the model that contain the IP address or port number for connection are not very useful in the equipment model. This information is necessary in connecting with an EDA client, but is not relevant for data collection in the model.

The takeaway: Publish data required by E164 and additional fab-specified data, but carefully evaluate other data to be published to make sure it is relevant and useful for data collection.

If you have questions about Equipment Data Acquisition or would like a demo of the functionality described above, please contact Cimetrix to schedule a discussion

You can download an introduction to EDA White Paper any time.

Read the White Paper

Topics: Industry Standards, EDA/Interface A, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0

Will we see you at SEMICON China 2019?

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Director of Marketing on Mar 13, 2019 4:22:00 PM

SEMICON China 2019 is fast approaching and we will be there! You can read about it now in English or below in Simplified Chinese!

1550139700619Shanghai is the best place to be March 20 – 22 as it welcomes SEMICON China, Productronica China and more this year in the Shanghai New International Expo Centre. Cimetrix will be attending SEMICON China for our fourth straight year and we hope to see many of you there! Please drop by booth #N4- 4284 any time during the expo!

China is a growing market for the industry and for Cimetrix! We have expanded our office to better serve our customers as we expand throughout the region and we believe SEMICON China is the perfect place to come together with our current customers and many of the industry leaders.

The main focus of SEMICON China is to further the development of the China semiconductor and related emerging industries. You will see high-level executives from the semiconductor industry and others showcase their products and give presentations during this three-day show.

As we prepare for the show, we welcome any meeting requests by clicking the button below. Or you can always drop by our booth at any time. We hope to meet you there!

Meet with Us


15501397006193月20日至22日,上海新国际博览中心将迎来本年度的SEMICON China、Productronica China等诸多盛会。Cimetrix将连续第四年参加SEMICON China,我们诚挚的邀请您展会期间莅临N4-4284展位交流,由衷的希望能在那里见到各位!

对于整个半导体行业和Cimetrix来说,中国是一个不断增长的市场! 随着Cimetrix在全球规模的不断扩张,我们已经拓展了我们的办公区域,以更好地服务于我们的客户。我们相信,SEMICON China是与我们的客户和许多行业领导者相聚的完美地方。

SEMICON China的主要目标是进一步发展中国半导体及相关新兴产业。在为期三天的展会上,您将看到来自半导体行业和其他行业的高层管理人员展示他们的产品并发表演讲。

作为为展会做的准备,我们欢迎任何会议请求,点击下面的按钮。或者您可以随时莅临我们的展位。我们很希望在那里见到您!

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

Why Work in the Electronics Manufacturing Industry?

Posted by Brice Laris MPC, CPLP; Human Resources Manager on Mar 6, 2019 10:44:00 AM

A question that job seekers should always ask of potential employers is, “Why should I work in your industry?” It is an important question when you consider that only 60 of the original Fortune 500 companies from 1955 are still in existence in 2017. Changing customer tastes, mergers, technology and many other reasons are responsible for this, but it does give us at least one key takeaway: the company I start my career with probably won’t be the one I end it with. As a result, it is important to ensure the industry you go into will be able to stand the test of time.sand-to-systemspdf-1

When one enters an industry, be it as an engineer or an accountant, you begin to build specialized knowledge of that industry within your field. This provides you with a competitive advantage in the job market of that industry. Companies are willing to pay more for an engineer with experience in their industry than one they will have to train. If you suddenly find the industry you are in obsolete, all of your specialized knowledge becomes likewise obsolete. For example, someone who was an engineer in the cathode ray tube industry may not find themselves as competitive for the top jobs anymore. 

The electronics manufacturing industry is an exciting place to be, and there is no immediate replacement or end in sight. When you join a company like Cimetrix you have the opportunity to develop and support the software that runs manufacturing equipment in factories worldwide. Those factories create computer memory and processor chips, RF and microwave transmitters, sensors and actuators of all shapes and sizes, power devices and amplifiers, display drivers, and many more items that go into the electronics we use every day. 

You are also part of an industry that meets the demands of many different and diverse end users, providing some shelter from the ups and downs of any particular market. When cell phones became less popular in favor of smart phones, the demand for new products didn’t go away—it simply changed the type of products were called for. 

One specific benefit of life at Cimetrix is that we are an integral part of the the electronics manufacturing and related industriesy. We often refer to one another as family, we take care of each other, celebrate our successes and create an environment where people enjoy coming to work. We have very competitive benefits and compensation, so we can pay you what you are worth. Many employees even have the option of working from home up to three days a week, saving them wear and tear on their vehicles (and their nerves from driving in traffic!).

If you are ready to join an exciting, dynamic, growing and fun industry, please check out our open positions.

Careers

Topics: Cimetrix Company Culture, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0, Cimetrix Products

The Giga Factory Minute Series: Industry Drivers

Posted by Alan Weber: Vice President, New Product Innovations on Feb 27, 2019 1:19:00 PM

Giga FactoryIt’s time for another episode in our Giga Factory Minute series... And in keeping with the theme of moving around the clock, we see that the focus of this month is “process steps completed.” However, rather than focus on manufacturing processes, we’ll use this opportunity to highlight an important industry process that is underway. Specifically, I’m referring to the role that the automotive market has in quite literally “driving” important segments of the semiconductor and electronics industries. Even as portions of the industry forecast a slowdown over the next 6-9 months, those in the automotive sectors are busier than ever.

From a wafer fab standpoint, one of the biggest news items over the past 6 months has been announcement, groundbreaking, and construction of a new facility in Dresden, namely the Bosch RB 300 wafer fab. The automation aspects of this factory were featured in a very engaging presentation by Otto Graf (Managing Director, Robert Bosch Semiconductor Manufacturing Dresden GmbH) at the recent Innovationsforum for Automation in Dresden, Germany. 

A modern automobile is brimming with electronics, as you can see from the systems highlighted in the figure below. (Image courtesy of chipsetc.com)chipsetc

Every function in a car, from engine control to seating to headlamps to collision avoidance is getting smarter… and this is a welcome sight for the scores of companies that provide the components that realize these functions.

RedSmartFactory_225But the full impact of automotive electronics includes all the infrastructure technologies external to the car, such as 5G telecommunications, “smart” roads and traffic signals, routing and congestion management systems for major cities, satellite systems that provide GPS information, entertainment content providers for the non-drivers, and law enforcement, just to name a few. And as driverless cars approach commercial feasibility, the scope and importance of these systems increase significantly.

In this context, anyone who thinks the “good old days” of the semiconductor and electronics industries are behind us isn’t paying attention -- so buckle up and prepare to enjoy the ride!

If your company plays a role in the manufacturing aspects of this exciting market, and you are struggling with how to address the equipment control and connectivity challenges you face, give us a call. We’ve got people who can help you make sense of it all, and products that can transform your problems into solutions.

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

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Director of Marketing on Feb 26, 2019 11:32:00 AM

The fourth part of our Overview of the GEM Standard Video series is here! New call-to-action

In this video, Brian Rubow gives a description and dives a little deeper on some of the most important GEM features including the following:

  • Self-Description
  • Alarms
  • Remote Control
  • Equipment Constants
  • Recipe Management
  • Material Movement
  • Terminal Services
  • Clock
  • Spooling

View the entire series today!

Topics: Industry Standards, SECS/GEM, SECS/GEM Features & Benefits Series

Connectivity in The Age of Data

Posted by Ranjan Chatterjee on Feb 20, 2019 11:32:00 AM

ipcapex2019Our 2019 has started with a bang! First with CES (Consumer Electronics Show) at the beginning of January, rapidly followed by APEX at the end of the same month. What intrigues me is that the ingredient technologies promoted as essential to the success of autonomous driving, smart homes and smart cities at CES, are exactly the same as those discussed as enablers for smart manufacturing at APEX. The drive for Industry 4.0, like the drive for the digital transformation of our lives, will be built on connectivity, on data and, of course, on the actionable intelligence that is derived from that data.

At APEX, I spent a lot of my time listening to speakers, talking to our customers and prospects and sharing my own ideas with industry luminaries on panels. The story is extremely consistent. The fundamental need in the short term is to get everything in the factory, and in fact throughout the entire manufacturing ecosystem, connected and digitized. What is less consistent is the approach to doing that, with many making a simple process much more complex than it needs to be.One element which, to my mind, is creating unnecessary inertia, is the debate around standards. Within the industry there is considerable debate around the new standards. Whilst some great work has been done, and in many ways it is a fine example of how IPC can bring the industry together, the whole debate has made a simple task more complex than needed. Many users are asking which standard to use, do I need one or multiple, what machines connect to which standard and when will all the new standards be available everywhere?

Yes, the new standards could be good, but it certainly isn’t the only good standard, and it will take a long time to develop, debug, adopt and implement. The suppliers in the industry along with a few MES providers are quite animated about the new standards, but the EMS companies and OEMs making product as well as the PCB fabricators, and of course the semiconductor industry, are less excited. Many of them have existing communications standards like GEM, ELS, etc., that work perfectly well. Others have legacy machines that would need additional hardware and software to connect to new standards, but have some existing and functioning communications protocol.

The truth is connectivity should be simpler, and it can be. The semiconductor industry has been through this entire experience over the last two decades and many companies have successfully connected thousands of machines from hundreds of vendors in dozens of facilities in many countries. At Cimetrix, we have been working with them and have been delivering simple, scalable, economic connectivity solutions as well as the layers of analysis and intelligence that are built on top of that.

My advice to anyone starting their smart factory journey is to get the digitization and connectivity done and move onto building the digital building blocks of analytics and intelligence as well as value as quickly as possible. The inertia caused by worrying about standards is counter-productive and could cause companies to be left behind. They could also remain in the Proof-of-Concept purgatory forever.

One of the pleasing things about the debates and discussions related to smart factory at APEX is the willingness of vendors to collaborate. Most, if not all, recognize that smart factory solutions won’t come from a single vendor. Machine makers are also realizing that their deep domain knowledge combined with data manipulation only delivers part of the value and the way that data is shared on the line and beyond is where additional performance benefits can be found. There are now dozens of partnerships between the machines that collect data and those that use data, some in a closed loop but more recently in a manner that makes data available to whoever can derive value from it. These open communications and data formats will deliver real value in the future and make smart manufacturing a reality across the whole supply chain, from sand to phone.

There is a universal awareness that this digitization will drive a huge growth in data volumes. Many see cloud and hybrid cloud solutions as an important part of the data storage mix. Huge amounts of data also need manipulation and vendors are betting on AI (Artificial Intelligence) to help manage the data and derive real value.

It’s fascinating to see the ingredient technologies of the smart cities, smart homes and smart living, finding their way into smart factories and it will be exciting to see how the PCB and SMT industries utilize these huge leaps in progress driven by the consumer electronics world.

(This post first ran on EMSnow.com on February 14, 2019.)

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