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, Customer Support, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0

Meet the Client Training & Support Team: Mark Bennett

Posted by Cimetrix on Apr 13, 2018 10:43:00 AM

CIM_2017-6624-903825-editedMeet Mark Bennett, a member of the Client Training and Support team. Read on to learn a little bit more about Mark.

How long have you been working at Cimetrix?

I have  been with Cimetrix for over 15 years. I started back when Cimetrix was primarily involved with robotics.

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

I went to Brigham Young University, and got a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering.

What brought you to Cimetrix originally?

At the time, I was working in the HVAC (Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning) industry as a Mechanical Engineer. This was my first job out of college, and I decided that I didn’t want to make HVAC my career choice.  I got introduced to Cimetrix by my brother, who was working with Cimetrix as a customer.

What do you like most about your job?

I like solving problems and learning new things. What we do is not rocket science, but it’s probably just about as challenging.

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

Solve customer issues and help them successfully get their equipment deployed.

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

A few years ago, I was sent to TSMC in Taiwan to help a customer get a tool accepted in the FAB. They were having problems getting the E84 automated material handling system working. It was a very difficult assignment because the tool was already installed in the FAB and there were a lot of problems to fix. The FAB only allowed us to perform one or two tests per day. So, I captured log files from the tests, went out to the parking lot, and made code changes in the car. To fix the problem, I pretty much had to rewrite the entire E87 AMHS handling code, and a lot of the load port code as well.

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

Most of the challenges I face involve solving issues that customers report. Here are some things that I might try:

  • Reproduce the problem using a sample application. Try to identify if this is a problem with the product, or if the customer is not using it properly.
  • Search our database to see if this issue has been reported before. Find out how it was resolved in the past.
  • Look through the SEMI standards to see how it should behave.
  • Look through product documentation and release notes.
  • Ask others for their opinions/suggestions.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Lately, we have been staying close to home for vacations.  We have taken trips to the San Francisco Bay area.  We enjoy that.

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

I’ve learned a lot about the SEMI standards. I have also learned a lot about software development and programming.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy watching movies. I also like trying to perfect my cooking skills on my Kamado barbecue grille.

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

Meet the Client Training & Success Team: Joe Cravotta

Posted by Cimetrix on Mar 15, 2018 10:36:00 AM

Cimetrix-Joe_Cravotta.jpgMeet Joe Cravotta, a member of the Client Training and Support Team. He's been with Cimetrix for two years and has been a significant contributor in his position. Read on to learn a little bit more about Joe.

How long have you been working at Cimetrix?

I've been working at Cimetrix for two years. 

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

I went to the University of Utah and obtained a degree in computer science.

What brought you to Cimetrix originally?

I had just graduated and looking for a job I would enjoy that also fit my schedule.

What do you like most about your job?

I like that I am Constantly learning. Every day I am introduced to new equipment, processes, programming methodologies, and products.

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

Many would probably jump to an answer such as “to provide the correct answer/solution in a short amount of time.” However, some issues may take days or weeks to resolve.

For all cases, I think great customer support requires keeping the customer up to date. This is easy to satisfy when the answer/solution can be provided in a short time. However, the difficult issues that take days, weeks, or maybe months is where communication is most important. Providing updates allows the customer to know the issue has not been set aside, and provides insight into the progress that has been made to resolving the issue.

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

I recently received the  Cimetrix Super Charged award, which is fairly significant. However, I would say my biggest sense of accomplishment came from helping a customer resolve an unreproducible issue that only occurred on one equipment.

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

I try to break a problem/challenge into smaller pieces. It is also important to communicate. Most challenges will take significantly longer to resolve, if at all, without the ability to provide and ask for information.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

I prefer vacations where I stay close to home. Vacations where I travel are nice, but I think I expreience an all new stress when traveling for vacations. I'm always worried about schedules and having something to do. However, I find vacations where I stay home without a bunch of plans relaxing.

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

Simply stated, a lot. I’ve learned several details about equipment and how they are controlled. I’ve also learned about different software and programming technologies. Oh, and international flights are very long…

What do you like to do in your free time?

I have few different hobbies. If it is summer, I’ll be running, messing around with R/C cars, and hiking. I’m not a big fan of the cold, so in the winter I spend more time indoors. This allows me to design and print 3D objects, and mess around with different software/computer projects.

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

Equipment Control Logging Benefits

Posted by Derek Lindsey: Product Manager on Mar 8, 2018 11:02:00 AM

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Equipment control applications are highly complex and have many moving parts that require a high level of coordination. Because of the high degree of difficulty, problems are bound to crop up. Sometimes the problems are related to a hardware issue. Sometimes the problems are caused by operator error. Sometimes problems are timing related. Sometimes problems happen infrequently. Regardless of the frequency or the cause of the errors, how do you go about debugging issues that happen in the field if you are unable to attach a debugger to the application?
 
The answer is logging.

As part of the CIMControlFramework (CCF) product for creating equipment control applications, Cimetrix developed a logging package. Our logging package has two parts – collecting the log messages and analysis of the messages.

The logging package allows you to assign a source and a type for each log message. The source specifies where the log message originated. The type is a category that can be used to route the log 

messages to specific output locations called log sinks. We have found the most useful log sink to be a text-based log file. The logging package can be configured for the types of messages to log. It can also be configured for how long to keep log files and how many to keep. This helps keep hard drives from getting too full.

logging.bmp

The temptation for many users is to enable all log messages while developing the equipment control application and then turn all the logging off when the equipment ships to the factory. Cimetrix recommends leaving as much logging enabled as possible. This will help you avoid trips to the fab when a problem arises that can be solved via the logging package. Some clients worry about resource usage by the logging package. We have found that the impact of the logging package is light enough that it is advantageous to leave it on all the time.

The Cimetrix logging package was such a success in CCF, that we have started using the logging package in all Cimetrix products. The logging package has earned rave reviews from Cimetrix product users. Here are a few quick examples that show how valuable logging is:

1. An OEM customer called in a panic because because an end user was withholding payment due to a timing/throughput issue in the application. Together Cimetrix and the OEM reviewed the log file. Using some of the LogViewer analysis tools we were able to isolate and identify the problem within 30 minutes. The OEM was able to confidently tell the end user that they had found the problem and a fix would be available within the next software release. Because the OEM was able to support them so quickly remotely, the end user had confidence in the OEM and released the payment.

2. At Cimetrix, we often hear, “This only happened once, but…” With logging always enabled, it is possible to diagnose problems after the fact. This is especially important for problems which occur infrequently. Users of the Cimetrix logging package are able to resolve issues that happen only rarely.

3. Occasionally an equipment control application will deadlock – two different modules are waiting on each other and neither is free to proceed. Using the LogViewer’s Callstacks plug-in, in conjunction with the Timing Chart plug-in, make the process of diagnosing the deadlock much easier.

logging-1.png

4. An end user called up their OEM equipment provider because the software stopped unexpectedly. They wanted to OEM to put someone on a plane immediately to come diagnose the problem. The OEM was able to view the log file to see that an operator had stopped the tool without the supervisor realizing it. When asked, the operator confirmed he had stopped the tool. Crisis averted. No plane ride required by the OEM to satisfy their customer!

5. A client came to Cimetrix for a training class. This client brought in a contractor to attend the class as well. Part of the Cimetrix training was used to review the logging package. During a break in the training, the contractor approached the instructor and asked if he could purchase the logging package separately for use in his other contracts because he could see several applications that would benefit from the power of the logging package.

6. Cimetrix is continuing to add useful plug-ins to the LogViewer. We recently added an E84 (automated material handling system) plug-in to assist in implementing and debugging material transfer. LogViewer allows users to implement their own custom plug-ins for analyzing data important to them.

logging-2.png

These are just some of the success stories we have heard about in relation to the logging package. With equipment control applications and factory automation, there will always be issues to be addressed and opportunities to root cause unexpected behavior. Having a powerful logging package makes that process much easier.

 

Topics: Equipment Control-Software Products, Customer Support, Cimetrix Products

To the Cimetrix Community of Clients, Partners, Shareholders, and Employees

I believe that 2015 will be viewed as a significant turning point in the history of Cimetrix. When I accepted the role and responsibility of president and CEO of Cimetrix in 2001, Cimetrix was a publicly traded company. In addition to the normal challenges of running a business, Cimetrix was required to comply with all SEC reporting obligations. When the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) imposed additional financial reporting obligations with increased internal controls, Cimetrix was required to spend even more time and money. I’ve always believed if you are going to do something, you should do it to the best of your abilities. Consequently, Cimetrix dutifully fulfilled its quarterly SEC reporting and SOX compliance obligations. Every year independent SOX auditors performed the required annual audit and their reports always concluded that there were no material weaknesses in our financial reporting or internal controls.

IMG_5110-1For a small company like Cimetrix, we can be proud of these accomplishments. We are very thankful to have had Jodi Juretich as CFO for these past eight years. Jodi managed the company’s financials and was responsible for preparing all of our SEC filings. For those of you not aware, the SOX laws include significant personal liability for the CEO and CFO in the event of any material errors or misstatements. As a result, while we had no idea how many people might read our SEC filings (other than the fact that we know our competitors all meticulously read each and every one), each filing had to be reviewed not only internally, but also by SOX compliance consultants, auditors, lawyers, and the board of directors. Significant management time and precious time with our board of directors was spent reviewing and approving SEC filings. As I hope everyone can appreciate, this represented a huge burden for a small company like Cimetrix. In addition to the hard costs that we estimated at approximately $250,000 per year, it is difficult to overstate the amount of energy in terms of management time and attention that went into reviewing and approving not only the financial statements, but the mandatory narratives for these quarterly SEC filings.

Since the introduction of SOX, many public companies have made the decision to go private, and we received a lot of advice over the years that Cimetrix would likewise be much better off as a private company. As you can imagine, however, there are many factors that go into such a decision. We always considered what is best for our shareholders, clients, and employees. Accordingly we were careful and patient in waiting for the right opportunity. From our perspective, that opportunity arose last year, which allowed us to go private without the need for external capital or any dilution to our shareholders. We believe it was an excellent use of the company’s cash to remove the ongoing “tax” of being a public company, which we accomplished in late 2014.

As I reflect back on our first year as a private company, there were a number of highlights in 2015.

  • The change in management focus has been remarkable. From the board-level to the daily and weekly operational meetings, the focus is now centered on clients, products, and strategy. How can we better serve our clients? How can we operate more effectively and efficiently?

  • Maybe the timing was coincidental, but Cimetrix also completed a major corporate organizational restructuring in early 2015. We involved ten of our key employees in an off-site workshop to map out the type of company we wanted to be going forward. Using an experienced coach and facilitator, we spent time reviewing and reaching agreement on “core” items including our shared vision and values, identification of our core customers, what is our promise to our clients, what is our long term “big hairy audacious goal,” and, equally important, what are the things we should stop doing. We identified the key functions of the company and the people with the best skills and experience to lead those functional areas. The result was a much flatter organization with opportunities for some of our most experienced engineers to assume more management responsibility. It was a very energizing and invigorating process that aligned the entire company on the path forward.

  • We also made the commitment to go through our product lines and address all outstanding issues. Over time, the number of product issues that were not urgent or high priority had been slowly building. We made the decision that in order to position the company for faster long-term growth, as well as to reflect our values and brand promise to our clients, we should refresh our current product lines and drive the number of outstanding issues down to zero. This strategy will greatly reduce the long-term costs of maintaining our product lines going forward, as well as further improve the quality and performance of our industry leading product lines. It was wonderful to see the cooperation of our different departments work through the full database of all reported issues and reach resolution. During 2015 we completed new Service Releases for our GEM and GEM300 product lines, which included SECSConnect, CIMConnect, and CIM300, that resolved all reported issues and significantly increased the test coverage for each product. Our Product Management group coordinated the effort to resolve all issues with appropriate stakeholders. Once the backlog of work was clearly identified, our Software Engineering group accepted the challenge and took great pride in doing the work they had wanted to do, but never had had the time, to improve our products and significantly increase the level of automated tests.

  • As part of the strategy to improve our customers’ experience using Cimetrix products, we expanded our customer support group into a “Client Training & Support” group with an enhanced staff of senior engineers. Their responsibility is to demonstrate Cimetrix products during the sales cycle, train new clients, and serve as proactive technical liaisons as our clients progress through the critical development cycle. Initial feedback from clients has been outstanding. In particular, I had one new client tell me that in his experience, it is natural for the level of support to fall off a bit after they place an order for a product. However, in the case of Cimetrix, we provided a very high level of attention and support during the sales cycle, and once they placed the PO, they were pleasantly surprised to see that the level of attention and support from Cimetrix actually increased. While they have had problems with other suppliers “over-promising and under-delivering,” their experience with Cimetrix has been overwhelmingly positive, as our software does what we say it will do, and we provide very responsive and passionate support with senior engineering staff.

  • We have been at the forefront of the new industry standards for “Interface A,” or its alias “Equipment Data Acquisition (EDA),” for over ten years. When these standards were initially conceived and driven by representatives from Intel and AMD, we thought these new standards made logical sense and would ultimately be adopted by the industry, but we had no idea how long it might take for these standards to be adopted. A large semiconductor foundry in the industry has become the leading user of EDA. Our strategy has been to work closely with this company and the large number of equipment makers that selected Cimetrix’ CIMPortal Plus product to meet the company’s requirements for EDA. While Cimetrix did this facilitation work on our own dime, we believe this investment has paid off handsomely as we’ve helped many of our clients achieve good success in this company's factories, and, as a result, we now have very appreciative clients all over the world that serve as solid references for Cimetrix and our EDA products. In parallel, our Sales and Account Management team has been evangelizing the benefits of EDA to other semiconductor manufacturers. The list of companies now implementing some aspect of EDA has grown to include industry leaders such as Globalfoundaries, Infineon, Inotera, Samsung, Toshiba, and TSMC. The biggest news was Samsung announcing plans for an EDA pilot project in 2016. In a recent briefing to local Korea-based equipment makers, it was reported that some large equipment makers such as Applied Materials and Tokyo Electron developed their EDA solutions in-house, but “most of the rest use Cimetrix products.” To respond to these opportunities, the Cimetrix Sales and Account Management group worked quickly to establish relationships, distribution channels, and local sales and support for Cimetrix products in Taiwan and Korea. While Cimetrix has great partners in Japan, we have learned that each country is different and customers prefer to receive support from companies within their own country, in their native language. Dave Faulkner and Alan Weber logged many miles this year explaining the best practices for EDA and establishing these very important relationships for Cimetrix, which we believe position Cimetrix to sell and support our products more effectively within these markets. In 2016 Cimetrix is scheduled to exhibit in industry trade shows in Korea, China, Taiwan, and Japan that we believe will lead to new clients in these growing markets.

  • Lastly, even though we are no longer required to publish SEC filings, we maintain the same high level of internal controls and fiscal discipline. The only difference is we don’t go through the seemingly endless quarterly reviews and narratives. The semiconductor capital equipment market is widely reported to have declined during 2015 and is expected to be flat for 2016. Cimetrix has noticed similar trends among our client base. During 2014, Cimetrix was profitable every quarter with total revenue in the $6 to 7M range with over $500,000 of adjusted EBITDA. For 2015, we continue to operate profitably on a quarterly basis and expect to have similar full-year financial results as 2014. We expect to end the year with close to $2M of cash and, of course, no debt.

Going Forward

Going forward, industry analysts predict a decrease in semiconductor capital equipment spending for 2016. Cimetrix has a number of irons in the fire that we hope will counteract the overall industry trends and enable us to grow next year. We have some major clients in adjacent markets that have the potential to contribute increased revenue. We also hope to get some traction from our efforts to add new clients and grow revenue in the Taiwanese, Korean, and Chinese markets. However, as we have learned over the years, it takes time to develop such new markets, so we are not planning to see large increases in revenue in the immediate future.

Japan show

By working closely with our clients in semiconductor and adjacent markets, we have identified a number of opportunities for new products. We plan to continue to invest in our current product lines for GEM, EDA, and Equipment Control, as well as look for opportunities to develop new products in conjunction with industry leaders.

If I sound excited about the future for Cimetrix, it is because I am. We have a great team here at Cimetrix and we added a number of solid new team members during 2015. While we have made great progress, we are never satisfied, and will strive for continual improvement as we pursue closer relationships with our clients, improvements in our efficiency and effectiveness, and above all, building great products that help our clients be successful and perform well for those they care about.

I want to thank our clients for the faith and confidence they have placed in Cimetrix’ products and team members, our employees for their passion, dedication and commitment, and our shareholders for their patience that we believe will ultimately be rewarded.

Topics: Semiconductor Industry, EDA/Interface A, Customer Support, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture, Investor News

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 (cimetrix.com/online-support)—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 Orders@Cimetrix.com.

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

New Cimetrix License History Report

Posted by Cimetrix on Sep 17, 2012 2:49:00 PM

by Brett Horsley
Customer Support Engineer

The Cimetrix Support Team has developed a new web tool to provide active support customers with information about their software licenses.

You can access the new tool by logging in at the Cimetrix Customer License Generator page. Choose License Report from the pull down menu, and the page will populate your company’s Cimetrix software license information in a table.

Here is an example of what you will see:

License History Report

You will be able to view the status of  all of the licenses your company purchased over the last 12 months, including information about whether the license is unassigned or assigned to a specific computer. You will also be able to see the MAC ID for any assigned licenses. To ease your internal reporting and communications, you can also download the history into a CSV file.

At Cimetrix, we constantly strive to provide outstanding support for our customers. Let us know how we can improve our support or communications.

Topics: Customer Support, Cimetrix Products

Critical System Support - Semiconductor, PV, LED OEMs

Posted by Cimetrix on Apr 16, 2012 3:41:00 PM

by Brett Horsley
Customer Support Engineer

Back in December 2011 and January 2012, I posted a couple of blogs about the Customer License Generator. You can see what I wrote at New Web License Generator and Transfer a Cimetrix License To A New Machine. Our customers have been using the license generator and we have had a lot of very positive feedback.

One of our goals in developing the license generator is to improve support for critical systems.  When a hardware failure occurs on a vital piece of capital equipment running Cimetrix software, we know our customer – and our customer’s customer – cannot waste time waiting for a response.  Often replacing hardware or re-imaging a control system's operating system will require the Cimetrix license file to be transferred to new equipment. In past years,  Cimetrix customers would need to submit a license request via email and then wait for our license department to complete that request.  This process could cause significant delays, particularly if these requests came in during after-hours or on weekends.   

With the Customer License Generator, customers can request new licenses and license transfers online and receive their license file instantly, no matter what time of day they use it. Furthermore, even if the old license information is not-recoverable, the Customer License Generator can provide a 10-day demo license for a critical system, so they can get back online as soon as possible while we sort out any licensing paperwork. 

Getting equipment back into production can make or break business relationships.  Providing this level of support to our customers’ critical systems, whether they are on the production floor or in the lab, is important to us. If you are an existing customer, please try the Customer License Generator and let us know how you like it.

If you need help accessing or using our Customer License Generator, contact us at licenses@cimetrix.com.

Topics: Customer Support, Cimetrix Products

Transfer Cimetrix License To A New Machine

Posted by Cimetrix on Jan 4, 2012 8:19:00 AM

By Brett Horsley
Customer Support Engineer

A couple of weeks ago we talked about the  new Cimetrix web license generator, discussing how our customers with up-to-date support contracts can go on to the Cimetrix web site and get new licenses emailed to them in just a few minutes. We should also point out that customers can also transfer a license from an old machine to a new one from the same site.

When you go to the License Renewal site, which you can access using your Support login user name and password, you can apply to transfer the license using the old MAC ID and a new MAC ID.  You will also provide your email address and we will email you the new license immediately. You save time and effort, and you don't have to wait for any paperwork to go through.

When you go to the License Renewal site, you will enter the required fields in a form you see below:

Web Lic Gen Transfer 2 resized 600

You should have received the user name and password when your company purchased our SDK product. The license will be sent to your email address. If you are not an SDK customer, please contact the Cimetrix Licensing team at licenses@cimetrix.com, or call us at 801-256-6500.

Give it a try and tell us how you like the experience.  Any questions - just email licenses@cimetrix.com.

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

New Web License Generator

Posted by Cimetrix on Dec 21, 2011 2:39:00 PM

By Brett Horsley
Customer Support Engineer

We are working to streamline our processes at Cimetrix in order to improve our customer service. We now have a new license generator on the Cimetrix web site that we know will reduce the paperwork and throughput time to obtain new SDK and runtime licenses.

Previously, you had to email us the information and we would attempt to send you a new license within 24 hours. We almost always achieved that goal, but because of holiday schedules we sometimes took more than a day to send new licenses. 

Now with the new web-based license generator, you can go to the Cimetrix web site and log in using your Support user name and password. Then you enter your COA (Certificate of Authenticity) number, MAC ID, and email address, and you will get an email with your new license.

It's fast and easy.  We have tested out the process and it works well, but, if you run into problems, send us an email at licenses@cimetrix.com.

Topics: Customer Support, Cimetrix Products