Industry News, Trends and Technology, and Standards Updates

Our Cimetrix Japan Team is headed to SEMICON Japan in Tokyo Next Week

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Director of Marketing on Dec 1, 2021 5:00:00 PM

SEMICON Japan 2021 is back and our team in Japan will be there! You can read about it now in Japanese or below in English.

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セミコンジャパン2021が東京ビッグサイトで12月15日から17日の3日間開催されます。 「共に前進しよう」のスローガンの下、弊社Cimetrixも出展致します。

Cimetrix独自のブースを以て出展する2回目のセミコンジャパンとなります。今年はブース番号#1608にて皆さまのご来場をお待ちしております。また共同出展を行って頂ける、ローツェ株式会社様(#5411)、株式会社明電舎様(#4941)にても、Cimetrixのご案内を差し上げております。

半導体産業における製造技術、装置、材料をはじめ、車やIoT機器などのSMARTアプリケーションまでをカバーするエレクトロニクス製造サプライチェーン唯一の国際展示会。東京ビッグサイトでのリアル展示会に加えて、リアルとオンラインセミナーも提供し、今年は「SEMICON Japan 2021 Hybrid」として開催されます。

Cimetrixは私共が誇る世界標準としてご利用いただいておりますGEM通信、装置制御ソリューション、またEDAなどのソフトウェア製品をご紹介させて頂きます。

また生産現場でご利用いただけるハイパフォーマンスデータ収集のプラットフォームであるサピエンスもご紹介しております。 CimetrixのSapienceはクラウドネイティブのデータ解析やマシーンラーニング等にご活用いただける装置データ収集のパイプラインプラットフォームシステムです。

では皆さまのご来場を楽しみにしております。

Meet with Us


SCJapan Hybrid Logo_horizontal_4c-2
SEMICON Japan 2021, with the theme “Move Forward Together” will be held at Tokyo Big Sight from 15 December – 17 December, and Cimetrix Incorporated will be there!

We will exhibit for the second year at booth #1608 and welcome you to come and join us. You can also find information about Cimetrix at our partner Rorze Corporation (booth #5411).

SEMICON Japan will be a hybrid show this year that offers both an in-person exhibition as well as programs and seminars online. It is a must-attend event that connects technologies in the digital transformation era, bringing together the entire semiconductor manufacturing supply chain as well as the “SMART” applications powered by semiconductor technology such as IoT.

Cimetrix will be showing all our world-class GEM equipment connectivity and control software solutions, as well as our EDA/Interface A products. These factory automation software products all leverage open-architecture designs and industry standards.

Cimetrix Sapience will also be available for a demo at our booth. Sapience is a scalable, distributed platform for managing high-performance data pipelines. This cloud-native platform is ideal for streaming analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence applications requiring massive amounts of data directly from the production equipment.

We encourage you to stop by booth #1608 and speak with an expert for your Smart Equipment and Smart Factory software needs. You can also book a meeting with us in advance by clicking the button below. We hope to see you soon!

Meet with Us

 

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

A Delayed SEMICON West 2021 is Going Live and Cimetrix Will be There!

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Director of Marketing on Dec 1, 2021 10:45:00 AM

SEMICON-west-2021-banner

After missing the live and in-person event last year due to the pandemic, SEMICON West is once again opening its doors to connect the entire electronics supply chain, and Cimetrix Incorporated will be exhibiting. Our booth is #345 and we hope you'll stop by and see us!

SEMICON West will be held December 5-7 in the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA, USA – the theme for this hybrid event is "Explore, Network, Interact." After almost two years of restricted travel and virtual events, SEMICON West is a great place to reconnect with contacts, customers, and partners to drive your business forward. We couldn’t be more excited about finally meeting in person for the first time since 2019!

Cimetrix expert Alan Weber will participate in the "Optimizing Your Manufacturing—Connecting the Smart Way" track in the Smart Manufacturing Pavilion on Tuesday, December 7 at 2:45 PST. His presentation is titled “Accelerating Advanced Backend Automation Through Smart Application of Frontend 300mm Standards" and we invite you to join us at the Smart Manufacturing Pavilion to learn about this important topic firsthand.

Stop by our booth any time to visit with our team of experts and discuss our standards, connectivity, and control solutions. We will also feature our Smart Manufacturing cloud-native connectivity and application platform Cimetrix Sapience®. You can visit with us in our booth any time during the show or make an appointment ahead of time by clicking the link below.
Contact Us

 

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

A New Benefit for our CIMConnect Customers: Training Videos Available Now

Posted by Brian Rubow: Director of Solutions Engineering on Nov 24, 2021 11:45:00 AM

Background

Cimetrix CIMConnectTM customers enjoy many benefits to maintaining an active support contract, and today we are announcing yet another one: access to a set of product-specific training videos.

A few years ago, the Solutions Engineering team at the Cimetrix Connectivity Group posted product training material including the full set of CIMConnect training PowerPoint presentations to facilitate self-training for those unable to attend a formal session. We update this repository periodically as the training material is revised and improved. The material is available online through the Customer Portal. After logging in, you can find the presentations here:

CIMConnect-training-videos-pic1

Training Videos

To complement the presentation material shown above, the Solutions Engineering team is now creating video training material. As of mid-June, 2021, the first set of training videos for CIMConnect is also available via the customer portal (see below).

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By clicking on the “CIMConnect Video Library”, you can see full set of available training videos and access them via this table:

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The material is organized by topic, such as Collection Events or Status Variables. Each topic is subdivided into one or more instruction parts. When there is a lab, the implementation of the lab is covered twice. First, the implementation of the lab is reviewed and demonstrated in CIMConnect’s “Getting Started” sample application. Second, the lab is implemented step by step from scratch in a new application.

A few of the training PowerPoint presentations are not yet complete but should be available soon. This includes topics like Remote Commands, Equipment Constants, Factory Setup, and Operator Interface. Solutions Engineering plans to expand the training to other products as well.

Also, note that other videos are also available that go beyond the scope of the training material. These are found on the same “CIMConnect Video Library” page at the bottom.

Customers are welcome to purchase CIMConnect training and/or consulting services at any time. The training material described above is not a substitute for working directly with a product and standards expert, where a customer can discuss specific equipment hardware, software architecture, and unique customer requirements. Nevertheless, this material should help our customers when they need a refresher course and especially when new employees are assigned to work with CIMConnect after its initial development.

Topics: Industry Highlights, SECS/GEM, Semiconductor Industry, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0, Cimetrix Products

Cimetrix is Going to Productronica Next Week!

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Director of Marketing on Nov 10, 2021 11:15:00 AM

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Next week, the world will once again gather at the industry’s leading trade fair for electronics development and production. The 2021 productronica and SEMICON Europa shows are open for in-person attendance and Cimetrix Incorporated will definitely be there. We hope to see many of you there as well!

The 2021 productronica show is co-located once again with SEMICON Europa in Munich, Germany from November 16-19 at the Messe München expo center. With safety protocols in place, Messe München is opening its doors to welcome the decision-makers and thought leaders from the industry to participate in showing new and innovative products and solutions spanning the entire value chain.

The Cimetrix booth will be in Productronica halls, where we will demonstrate our Smart Factory platform Cimetrix Sapience, to show how we can help with your smart manufacturing connectivity and application needs. Sapience, a cloud-native platform, features a distributed, scalable architecture for managing high-performance data pipelines from electronics equipment. As such, it is ideal for streaming analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence applications requiring data directly from the production equipment.

We are also highlighting an open position for a Munich-based Field Applications Engineer at the productronica career center and here on cimetrix.com.


We invite you to drop by our booth at productronica #437 in Hall A3, or you can make an appointment ahead of time by clicking the button below. We look forward to seeing you soon!

Contact Us

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

Continuous Flow Sample Added to Cimetrix CIMControlFramework

Posted by Derek Lindsey: Product Manager on Oct 27, 2021 11:14:00 AM

Cimetrix CIMControlFramework™ (CCF) is a software development kit (SDK) that enables users to design and implement a high-quality equipment control solution using provided components for supervisory control, material handling, operator interface, platform and process control, and automation requirements. CCF is built on the reliable Cimetrix connectivity products which provide GEM/GEM300/EDA interface functionality.

See previous series of blog posts on the functionality of CCF here.

While CCF does provide a built-in interface to handle GEM300 messages, CCF can be used just as effectively for building back-end and electronics equipment control applications handling the movement of chips and trays rather than wafers and carriers.black-red-chip-1

To demonstrate this ability, Cimetrix has added a continuous flow back-end sample as one of the fully working implementations provided with CCF. If you are already familiar with CCF, you will have seen the front-end Atmospheric and Vacuum cluster tool samples.

The continuous flow sample is different from these other samples as described below.

JEDEC input and output trays

For the Atmospheric and Vacuum samples, material is delivered as wafers in SEMI E87 carriers. For back-end and electronics markets, material is usually not in the form of a wafer and is not delivered in a carrier. For the Continuous Flow sample, the material is delivered on input trays and removed from the system on output trays. All trays used in the sample are similar to JEDEC trays, standard-defined trays for transporting, handling, and storing chips and other components. The trays have slots that can hold material in rows and columns. A JEDEC tray may appear as follows:

Integrated-circuits-tray-1The Continuous Flow sample allows users to specify the number of rows and columns in a tray using configuration parameters. The sample has two input trays and two output trays.

Continuous Flow

industrial-start-panel-1As the name of the Continuous Flow sample indicates, material is continually processed until there is no more material or until the user tells it to stop. The sample does not use SEMI E40 Process Jobs or SEMI E94 Control Jobs to determine how material is processed. Rather the user selects a recipe to use during processing and presses the Start button. Material will continue to be processed until the Stop button is pressed.

By default, the Continuous Flow sample will process all material from the first input tray and then all of the material from the second input tray. When an input tray becomes empty, the empty tray will be removed and replaced with a full one. Similarly, when an output tray becomes full, it is automatically removed and replaced with an empty one. This allows the processing to run continuously until stopped.

Scheduler

The Continuous Flow sample scheduler is different from the schedulers in the Atmospheric and Vacuum samples in that it is not dependent on Process Jobs or Sequence Recipes to know how to move material through the system. It simply picks the next input material and places it in the first available process slot. It then picks the next completed material and places it in the first available output slot.

Visualization

A new visualization was created for the Continuous Flow sample. Rather than using round material, SEMI E87 carriers, load ports, and wafer handling robots, the new visualization draws rectangular material that looks like chips that may arrive in JEDEC trays. Rather than trying to render a robot, the visualization renders a circular end effector that moves material through the system. The following screenshot displays what the sample visualization looks like while processing.

CCF_continuous_flow-1

In an upcoming version of CCF, the components of this visualization will be included in a visualization library that users can employ to customize their visualization more easily than has previously been possible in CCF.

Remote Commands

The Continuous Flow sample comes with three fully implemented remote commands that allow a host or host emulator to run the continuous flow sample. These commands are:

  • PP_SELECT – Specify the recipe to be used for processing material.
  • START – Start material processing using the selected recipe.
  • STOP – Don’t introduce new material to be processed and stop after all processed material has been sent to output trays.

The following shows the S2F49 remote command body for selecting the recipe as sent from Cimetrix EquipmentTest.

CCF_continuous-flow-2

Conclusion

We hope that the new Continuous Flow sample in CCF allows those who are creating semiconductor back-end or electronics equipment control solutions a great starting point for creating their applications. Please contact Cimetrix for additional information by clicking the button below.

Ask an Expert

Topics: Industry Highlights, Semiconductor Industry, Equipment Control-Software Products, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0, Cimetrix Products

Standards Activity Report SEMI NA Spring 2021

Posted by Brian Rubow: Director of Solutions Engineering on May 12, 2021 11:45:00 AM

Stcked_Standards_logoFor the first time since the Fall of 2019, the SEMI North America Information & Control Committee (I&CC) was finally able to meet and conduct business online. Throughout all of 2020, the I&CC was not able to meet because SEMI regulations did not at that time allow voting in online meetings. Instead, only the task forces have been meeting. As a result, any passing ballots, unless super clean, had to wait for adjudication in the North America I&CC.

This year, prior to the I&CC meeting on April 1 and 2, all of the associated task forces also met as usual, including the GEM 300, Diagnostic Data Acquisition (DDA), and Advanced Backend Factory Integration (ABFI) task forces. Moreover, the I&CC was able to conduct all the unresolved business that had accumulated over the last year. During the committee meeting, the I&CC successfully used the SEMI Virtual Meeting (SVM) software which runs in an internet browser, allows each committee member to log in, and allows for official voting to take place during the meeting. The North America I&CC will meet again during the summer.

GEM 300 Task Force

In the GEM 300 task force, the primary activity was to officially redefine its charter and scope to match what it has already been doing for the last 20 years. Each SEMI task force defines a “Task Force Organization Force” document (aka TFOF) to establish its charter and scope. Somehow, the GEM 300 task force charter and scope were severely out of date.

In addition to this update, some changes to the E5 standard finally passed voting, pending some final approval. The E5 changes include several new messages and establish definitions for commonly used data collection terminology. The new messages complement the existing set of messages by allowing the host to query information about the current data collection setup. Currently, it is common for a host program to reset and redefine all data collection after first connecting to an equipment because there has been no way to query this information. With these new messages, the host will be able to query the setup and confirm that no data collection has changed while disconnected. Finally, it will be easier to test GEM interfaces with these new messages.

The task force already approved tasks to consider some major work to the GEM standard. The task force is also considering changes to the E116 standard, but there is some resistance to these changes. Here is a summary table of the GEM-related standards activity from across the globe.

Region

Ballot

Standard(s)

Status

Topic

South Korea

5832

New

Cycle 5, 2020

Generic Counter

South Korea

6695

E87

Adjudication

Ready to unload prediction changes.

North America

6572

E30

Development

Add Stream 21, more stream 2, Cleanup Process Program Management.

North America

6552

E5

Adjudicated Spring 2021

Data collection setup, terminology. Ratification ballot proposed.

2 line-items pending since Summer 2020

North America

6598

E37, E37.1

Cycle 7, 2020

Standardize TCP/IP port numbers

North America

6597

E173

Adjudicated Spring 2021

Minor updates, clarification

Pending since Spring 2020.

North America

6647

E116

SNARF Revision

Recommendations from the ABFI task force

North America

6683

E148

Development

Line item revision

 

DDA Task Force

In the Diagnostic Data Acquisition (DDA) task force (responsible for the EDA standards, aka Interface A), freeze 3 development is moving forward. All of the ballots still failed as expected. The number of remaining technical issues nevertheless has dwindled to just a handful. E132, E125, and especially E164 need the most work.

Following is a summary of the previously completed work.

Standard (Ballot)

Ballot Status

Lead

E132 (6337)

Published - 04/29/2019

Brian Rubow (Cimetrix)

E138 (6336)

Published - 03/15/2019

Brian Rubow (Cimetrix)

E134 (6335)

Published – 03/29/2019

Inhyeok Paek (Link Genesis)

E120 (6434)

Published – 05/30/2019

Inna Skvortsova (SEMI)

E145 (6436)

Published – 05/31/2019

Inna Skvortsova (SEMI)

E178 (6300)

Published – 01/10/2020

Mitch Sakamoto (ZAMA)

E179 (6344A)

Published – 03/27/2020

Albert Fuchigami (PEER)


And here is a summary of the work in progress.

Standard (Ballot)

Ballot Status

Lead

E125 (6718)

Development

Brian Rubow (Cimetrix)

Hyungsu Kim (Doople)

E132 (6719)

Development

Mitch Sakamoto (ZAMA)
Albert Fuchigami (PEER)

E134 (6720)

Development

Brian Rubow (Cimetrix)

E164

 

Alan Weber (Cimetrix)

E125.2 (6345)

Development

Albert Fuchigami (PEER)

E132.2 (6346E)

Development

Albert Fuchigami (PEER)

E134.2 (6347)

Development

Albert Fuchigami (PEER)

E125 (6527C)

To Abolish

Replaced by 6718

E132 (6571C)

To Abolish

Replaced by 6719

E134 (6553C)

To Abolish

Replaced by 6720

 

All of the failed ballots will be reworked and resubmitted for voting. For many of these ballots, it will be the sixth time to go through the SEMI ballot procedure. Consensus is very nearly achieved, and the defects in the ballots have been identified and corrected. Additionally, there are plans to modify SEMI E179, the standard that defines how gRPC will be utilized. While testing EDA freeze 3, Cimetrix has identified two simple ways to modify the E179 protocol buffer files in order to reduce overhead. These and a few other changes will be proposed in a new ballot.

One of the last changes to the freeze 3 standards will be the introduction of passwords. In the current freeze 1 and freeze 2 versions, there are no passwords. Any client that knows a valid, unused Access Control List entry (ACL, the equivalent of a user name) can connect; therefore, there really isn’t any authentication unless using the SSL protocol with certificates. Passwords will enhance EDA security and facilitate EDA interface setup by allowing client applications to use the same ACL entry while defining a unique password to block other clients from using the same entry. The final E132 ballot will finalize the password feature.

The task force leaders are asking the voting members to raise any final issues before these ballots are submitted to SEMI to the next voting cycle so that we can approve these standards, give implementers a chance to experiment with EDA freeze 3, raise any serious issues that impede the implementation, and then propose the final changes which incorporate that feedback. Until a version of these standards is formally approved, it will be difficult to get concrete and widespread feedback on the new technology, which is a necessary precursor to its adoption and use.

ABFI Task Force

The Advanced Factory Integration task force passed more changes in E142 without controversy. The task force plans to create E142.4, another GEM implementation of E142, designed for larger wafer maps to allow for increased traceability possibilities. Additionally, the task force continues to make plans to develop an adoption matrix as a new standard to describe when GEM and GEM 300 standards should be adopted in backend equipment based on equipment features.

Topics: Industry Highlights, SECS/GEM, Semiconductor Industry, EDA/Interface A, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0, GEM300, Standards

SEMICON China 2021 is coming up next week!

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Director of Marketing on Mar 9, 2021 7:00:00 PM

Read the pre-show blog of the SEMICON China 2021 show today. Read it now in Chinese or below in English.

Semicon-china-2021-blog

SEMICON China 2021将于2021年3月17日至19日在上海新国际博览中心举办。矽美科公司将一如既往的参加,希望在展会上和你们相遇!

如果您也在此展会,欢迎您光临我们位于N3-3157号展位。我们将展出GEM和EDA/Interface A产品以及我们的智能工厂平台。

SEMICON China将我们和世界上发展最快、最具活力的微电子市场联系在一起,并为参展商提供了一个为中国最专业的人士展示我们的产品和技术的平台。

在我们为展会做准备的过程中,我们欢迎任何会议邀约,无论是在线的还是具体地点面对面的,请单击下面的按钮预约。如果您也参与展会,我们随时恭候您光临我们的展位。希望我们很快能见面!

Schedule a Meeting


Semicon-china-2021-blog

SEMICON China 2021, an in-person, is taking place March 17-19, 2021 at the Shanghai New International Expo Center. Cimetrix Incorporated will be exhibiting and we hope to see many of you there!

If you are able to be at the exhibition during this time, we encourage you to visit Cimetrix Incorporated at booth N3 3157. We will be featuring our GEM and EDA/Interface A products as well as our Smart Factory Platform.

SEMICON China connects people in the world’s fastest growing and most dynamic microelectronics market and gives exhibitors the platform to showcase our products and technologies in front of the most qualified audience of industry professionals in China.

As we prepare for the show, we welcome any meeting requests, both virtual or in-person depending on location, by clicking the button below. Or if you are able to be in Shanghai during SEMICON, we look forward to you dropping by our booth at any time. We hope to meet with you soon!

Schedule a Meeting

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

Technologies Unite Global Summit is Almost Here!

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Director of Marketing on Feb 9, 2021 8:30:00 AM

tech-unite

SEMI Europa is sponsoring a new event – Technologies Unite Global Summit – and we are excited to announce that Cimetrix Incorporated will have a virtual booth at this online event on 15-19 February, 2021. 

Technologies Unite Global Summit brings together the global microelectronics supply chain, manufacturers, and the end users for this digital experience that spotlights digital transformation and microelectronics industry innovation and growth. This summit will feature eight forums presenting the latest innovations, as well as seven pavilions from around the world where exhibitors and attendees can connect with the global SEMI community.

After a year of cancelled and postponed in-person events, we are happy to participate in these virtual events that gives all of a us a chance to re-connect with our global communities. Be sure to register for and attend this brand new event and be sure to stop by our booth!

Thomas Simon, the General Manager of our Europe office will be available during booth hours to host discussions about all of our products, and particularly our Cimetrix Sapience® Smart Factory Platform.

We hope to see you there. You can contact our team any time to schedule a demo or make an appointment by clicking the button below.

Contact Us

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

SEMICON Japan 2020 is Going Virtual!

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Director of Marketing on Dec 7, 2020 5:30:00 PM

SEMICON Japan 2020 is going virtual and we will be there! You can read about it now in Japanese or below in English.

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今年のSEMICON JapanはCovid 19の世界的大流行の影響もあり、仮想環境での開催となりました。Cimetrix Incorporatedは12月14〜17日の4日間バーチャルブースに出展致しますので、皆様のご来訪を心よりお待ちしております。

日本では現在、半導体製造装置の3分の1と材料の半分以上を世界の半導体製造業界に供給しています。 世界がよりスマートになるにつれて、革新的なソリューションとテクノロジーがこのような大きな展示会で紹介され続けています。

Cimetrixは、GEM機器の接続と制御、およびEDA /interfaceA活用して装置データの収集、提供を行う事が出来ます。

Cimetrix Sapienceは、単一のイベント駆動型フレームワーク内でさまざまな工場設備をシームレスに接続するスマートファクトリープラットフォームです。 Sapienceプラットフォームにより、工場のITシステムは工場の機器に直接アクセスでき、その結果として生じる機器の通信、データ収集、およびプロセス制御により、インダストリー4.0、ビッグデータ、およびスマートファクトリーのイニシアチブの基盤が確立されます。

もし別途ご相談いただければ、デモンストレーションを行う事も出来ますので、お気軽にご連絡ください。

それでは2020年の最後のSEMICONショーにて皆様に会える事を心から楽しみにしています。

Meet with Us


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After Cancelling the show several months ago in Tokyo, due in part to the Covid 19 world-wide pandemic, SEMICON Japan reconsidered and decided to go forward with the Exposition in a virtual environment. Cimetrix Incorporated (now a part of PDF Solutions) is proud and excited to be participating with a virtual booth on the 14-17 of December and we hope to see many of you there!

Japan supplies one third of the equipment and more than half of all materials to the global semiconductor manufacturing industry. As the world gets smarter, innovative solutions and technologies continue to be introduced at big shows like this.

We will be able to schedule demos of our GEM equipment connectivity and control software solutions, as well as our EDA/Interface A products.

The Cimetrix Sapience platform will also be available for a demonstration by visiting our virtual booth to make an appointment with our team. Sapience is the Smart Factory Platform that seamlessly connects varying factory equipment within a single event-driven framework. The Sapience platform allows factory IT systems direct access to factory equipment, and the resulting equipment communication, data collection and process control establishes the foundation for Industry 4.0, Big Data and Smart Factory initiatives.

We encourage you to join the Cimetrix Japan team at our virtual booth at this last SEMICON show of 2020. We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy, and hope to see you soon!

To schedule a demo prior to the show, click the button below.

Meet with Us

 

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

Thinking Ahead: Why would I want to buy EDA client libraries for my equipment?

Posted by Alan Weber: Vice President, New Product Innovations on Nov 11, 2020 11:30:00 AM

Background and Audience

Over the past several years, I have written numerous blog postings heralding the benefits of the SEMI Equipment Data Acquisition (EDA, also known as Interface A) standards, promoting their adoption by 300mm wafer fabs around the world, explaining how to develop robust purchase specs to ensure the interfaces delivered by the equipment suppliers meet the fab customers’ expectations, describing how the various components of the standards work together and the importance of the embedded equipment model, and finally explaining how to run compliance and performance tests on an EDA interface to validate its fitness for production use. The target audience for most of these postings has been the factory users, for they are the ones who increasingly depend on detailed equipment and process data to profitably run their enterprises.

By contrast, this posting is aimed at the equipment suppliers who are looking to increase the value of their product families by augmenting their hardware offerings with software capabilities that only they are uniquely qualified to provide.

This is not a new idea. Several major equipment suppliers have offered so-called “Equipment Engineering Systems (EES)” products as companions for their equipment over the years, providing applications like Fault Detection and Classification (FDC), production monitoring, maintenance management, local repositories for diagnostics and field support, and other capabilities that leveraged deep domain knowledge of the equipment. However, these systems necessarily relied on private interfaces to the equipment for their data, such as an additional network connection, direct access to the file system, or other mechanisms. And from the fab’s perspective, these constituted yet another piece of infrastructure to maintain.

Now there’s EDA: a key enabler for value-added equipment applications

Since the SEMI EDA standards are inherently multi-client, a single EDA interface can support not only the factory information and control systems that depend on equipment data, it can also provide whatever information a supplier-specific application may need as long this data is represented in the equipment metadata model. Since that model is designed by the equipment suppliers as a fundamental component of the EDA interface, they can choose to put as much information in these model as they want, possibly well beyond that required by the fab customers’ purchase specifications. In fact, these models could be used to implement the diagnostic logging capability that suppliers usually build into their equipment for their own use, but without requiring custom software to read and interpret that information. See the figure below for an example of such a configuration.

EDA-Equipment-1The EDA standards also include a provision for “built-in DCPs” (DCP = Data Collection Plan) which can be shipped with the equipment and protected from accidental deletion at the factory site. These DCPs could be crafted by the equipment supplier to directly feed whatever value-added applications the supplier chose to develop, whether these resided on a computer local to the equipment in the fab, on portable computers used by field service engineers to diagnose problems, or on remote cloud-based systems allowed to connect via secure EDA-defined URLs. This flexibility opens up a wide range of application types, from those that embed equipment-specific algorithms to generic Machine Learning frameworks… the possibilities are endless.

What all these approaches have in common is a standard EDA client capability that can establish a session with the equipment, activate Data Collection Plans, and receive the ensuing Data Reports. The Cimetrix EDAConnect product provides all these features and more in a lightweight set of .NET libraries which can be deployed wherever they are needed to consume EDA data.

Conclusion

More and more semiconductor factories are requiring EDA interfaces with their new equipment purchases with highly prescribed equipment models and demanding performance criteria. From the equipment supplier’s perspective, these requirements have been viewed as a source of additional cost, with all the benefit accruing to the factory customers. But it doesn’t have to be that way…

Why not take advantage of this interface to offer additional value using a standards-based approach? This just might be an idea whose time has finally come. If you agree, give us a call – we can help you make it happen!

Topics: Industry Highlights, Semiconductor Industry, EDA/Interface A, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Standards