Industry News, Trends and Technology, and Standards Updates

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!

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

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

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

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

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 the Client Training & Support Team: Tami Tracey

Posted by Cimetrix on Apr 5, 2018 11:09:00 AM

Cimetrix-Tami_Tracey_copy.jpg

Meet Tami Tracey, Manager of Client Training and Support. She's been with Cimetrix for six years and has been a significant contributor in her position. Read on to learn a little bit more about Tami.

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

I went to the University of California at Irvine and graduated in Computer Science. During my undergraduate degree I was more interested in circuits and robotics. When I moved to the Bay area, I was drawn to the semiconductor equipment manufacturers in Silicon Valley where software applies to the physical world nearly directly.

What brought you to Cimetrix originally?

I worked in control systems software development on semiconductor front-end equipment for more than a dozen years, which from time to time touched on factory communications. A work colleague mentioned an opening and I liked the idea of working on software that integrates the equipment and the factory.

What do you like most about your job?

Debugging. Diagnosing problems feels like part-logic, part-archaeology, and part-intuition, and it is a fun place for my brain.

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

Listening carefully to clients, learning their use cases and concerns, and advocating for their needs when it comes to product improvements

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

The most memorable client “issue” lasted more than a year and required both technical analysis of incident logs, product testing, and sustained project management. We were successful helping the client, and I earned the respect of their engineering lead.

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

I keep an eye on the big picture. Hard work is hard work and can’t be avoided, so I prefer to dig in and get it going. I also have a practice of summarizing any particular incident for myself, so that I can be clear on what was learned and be able to return to that analysis later if needed.

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

Cimetrix is a growing company and its value system is really led by the executives. The company has challenged itself to improve internally, and the culture embraces both change and respect. I’ve learned a lot about myself, others, and ‘organizations’ in this time.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Switzerland, because of the Alps.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I volunteer for a local non-profit involved in education about emergency preparedness; last year I helped the organization get their non-profit status. I also have played frisbee sports for a long time, and I help run a disc golf tournament for women where I am responsible for sponsorship, social media marketing, and event operations.

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture

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

President's letter to our shareholders, customers and employees

Posted by Bob Reback: Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer on Jan 17, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Cimetrix-Bob Reback copy.jpgWow – what a great year for Cimetrix and exciting time for our industry!

The president and CEO of Applied Materials recently said, “This is the most exciting time in the history of the electronics industry.” The race is on for faster/better/cheaper devices, cloud computing, autonomous vehicles, Big Data, artificial intelligence, the “Internet of Things” and more. This means the world needs not only a lot more computer chips, but also innovations in chip design, packaging and electronics assembly. The fast moving (and giant) electronics companies driving these trends are also pushing to get far more data from the factory floor to support their “Smart Manufacturing” and “Industry 4.0” initiatives.

2017 was a record setting year for Cimetrix. Revenues increased 34% year-over-year. The Company continued to operate profitably on a quarterly basis with operating income over 10% for the year. We invested heavily in R&D to pursue new technologies and products for long-term growth while strengthening our balance sheet with solid increases in cash and stockholders’ equity.

Going Forward

Cimetrix is uniquely positioned as the world leader in developing and using standards that connect manufacturing equipment to factory software systems. We are second to none in knowledge of “equipment connectivity” standards. We chair the relevant global standards committees, and are well known throughout the industry as experts in this vital domain. In addition, our products are used worldwide in hundreds of thousands of equipment connections. We recently expanded the Cimetrix team with some great new employees located around the world to better serve our growing international customer base, which now includes over 30 factories in Taiwan and China.

Based on what we see, the industries we serve will continue to expand their usage of equipment connectivity standards such as the Generic Equipment Model (GEM) to integrate more equipment into their factory systems, while the more advanced semiconductor manufacturers will accelerate their adoption of the latest Equipment Data Acquisition (EDA) connectivity standards.

While we are very bullish on the longer-term trends for our industry and Cimetrix, it is always a little difficult to forecast short-term results. For 2018, industry analysts are currently predicting a single-digit percentage increase in semiconductor capital equipment spending. While you might think we would be satisfied with another year like we had in 2017, we expect to perform better than the overall industry in 2018 for a number of reasons. First, the “design wins” we worked so hard to earn in prior years should lead to market share gains that result in higher percentages of equipment using Cimetrix software products. Second, we believe the adoption rate will accelerate for the newer EDA equipment connectivity standards, where Cimetrix products are the most proven and widely used in the industry. Lastly, we believe our reputation for providing the highest levels of technical support to customers worldwide, especially in the Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese and Chinese markets, will enable us to continue winning new customers.

From all of us at Cimetrix, we thank our customers and shareholders for the faith and confidence they have placed in our products and our team. We will continue to strive for excellence in satisfying our worldwide base of customers and delighting them with innovative new products. 

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture, Global Services, Investor News

Meet the Team Series: Ranjan Chatterjee, VP & GM, Smart Factory Business

Posted by Cimetrix on Jan 3, 2018 11:24:00 AM

Ranjan-chatterjee.jpegJoin us as we meet the Leadership Team of Cimetrix in our “Meet the Team” series.

Ranjan Chatterjee—Vice President & General Manager, Smart Factory Business—joined Cimetrix at the first of 2016. Previously he had worked as the General Manager for Motorola Solutions — Software Solutions from 2007 to 2015, and as the Manager — Automation Systems Business Unit at Motorola — Global Software Group. He originally started with Motorola Corporation in 1989. With over 25 years in the technology industry, Ranjan has a natural ability to identify market opportunities, define and create winning products and strategies, and formulate unique go-to-market software business models. He has degrees in Computer Science from both the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University.

What brought you to Cimetrix originally?

I started working with Cimetrix for PC-based open architecture machine control software products for factory automation when I was at Motorola. It evolved to co-developing and deploying communications products for factory automation across all of our factories worldwide with thousands of machines.

What's your favorite thing about working here?

We are creating software products and deploying capabilities at the most sophisticated and expensive factories in the world. We are participating and evolving the way electronic products are made worldwide. We are enabling thousands of machines to be connected and delighting hundreds of customers. We are punching above our weight. I am very proud of that.

What do you think makes a great VP and GM of the Smart Factory Business?

We have created a business to meet the needs of our customers by providing solutions that take advantage of the growing needs of our customers for solutions. Our customers are asking for collecting data, analyzing it and help in making decisions using analytical tools in a cost efficient manner. As leader of this business, I need to enable my team and the company to deliver this vision to delight our customers. This is a great opportunity to serve our customers.

Do you have a favorite quote or saying? Why?

I have a lot of quotes that I like depending on the context, mood and company. One quote that is applicable to this forum – “The only constant is change”. We need to be able to embrace change and be able to lead this momentum called Industry 4.0.

How do you deal with challenges that come up in your work life?

I like to Collect Data (listen to as many people as possible), Analyze (get feedback from as many people as possible) and Act. Sometimes a good nap helps also.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I like reading. I use most of my free time reading.

What's the best thing that's happened to you in your time working at Cimetrix?

I love robotics and software and working at Cimetrix helped me get back to doing both. The management and team at Cimetrix have an innate desire to be the best at both. The timing and desire to pursue both at Cimetrix is the best thing that has happened.

Learn more about our leadership team by clicking below:

Leadership Team

 

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture

Meet the Team Series: Brian Rubow, Director Client Training and Support

Posted by Cimetrix on Dec 21, 2017 11:03:00 AM

Cimetrix-Rubow_Rubow_copy.jpgJoin us as we meet the Leadership Team of Cimetrix in our “Meet the Team” series.

Brian Rubow is the Director of Client Training and Support for Cimetrix. He is well-known within the industry due to his involvement with the SEMI standards committees. He currently serves as the co-chairs for the North America Information and Control Committee, the North America GEM300 Task Force, and the North America DDA Task Force. Brian has Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree and a Master of Science in Manufacturing Engineering degree both from Brigham Young University.

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What brought you to Cimetrix originally?


I was actually still a student at BYU earning my Master's Degree and one of my professors was one of the founders of Cimetrix. He brought me in to do work in Robotics, which was the original direction of Cimetrix. I was really excited to join Cimetrix because Robotics was an area in which I enjoyed working.


What's your favorite thing about working here?

I enjoy working with customers. I find it fulfilling to see the problems they have and help to solve the issues. I also travel quite extensively to client sites and I like seeing all the different kinds of equipment and technology being used across the world.

What do you think makes a great Director of Client Training and Support

First of all, I believe leaders should be as hands-on as possible with their team. I need to understand what my staff is working on in order to understand their needs and give them support as a manager. And all our Client Training and Support staff are engineers who have to know how to use the products in order to be able to solve the various issues that may arise. The Cimetrix Support staff are all very knowledgeable and about the products, but they also have to know how to work and communicate with people around the world. 

Do you have a favorite quote/saying? Why?

I don’t have a favorite quote, but I am a daily reader of the comics Dilbert and Zits. I also loved Calvin and Hobbes, especially when I was younger.

How do you deal with challenges that come up in your work life?

I am very methodical when it comes to solving problems. I try to understand the problem first, which means I spend a lot of time listening to problems. A common tendency might be to throw out an answer before understanding the problem thoroughly, but I try to really understand the root of the problem before determining a path to solution. I find this saves time in the long run even if it takes a little longer to get to the solution at first.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I have quite a few hobbies I enjoy. I am a bee keeper (which is only sometimes fun!). I’m also a father of 8 children which keeps me very busy. My family enjoys playing board and card games together. My boys and I like to play games with a lot of strategy involved and we can be extremely competitive! I also enjoy cycling, listening to audio books and woodworking.

What's the best thing that's happened to you in your time working at Cimetrix?

I think it’s been fun representing our company in the Industry Standards groups I’ve been involved with throughout my years at Cimetrix. I have enjoyed playing an industry leadership role and helping bring about change that affects such a wider variety of companies and people.

Learn more about our leadership team by clicking below:

Leadership Team

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture