Industry News, Trends and Technology, and Standards Updates

The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

Posted by David Francis: Director of Product Management on Nov 13, 2019, 7:45:00 AM

In the early 1990’s I worked with companies like Motorola, Wacker Siltronics, and AT&T to characterize the SEMI Equipment Communication Standards (SECS) interface on the equipment. It was early in the process of connecting process and metrology equipment to a factory control system (Manufacturing Execution System – MES), in the days before the leading chip makers at that time got together to define the Generic Equipment Model (GEM), which was eventually balloted as SEMI E30.

It was a fun and exciting time as process owners began to see the power and benefit of having an automated interface to the equipment. The first project I worked on was collecting critical dimension (CD) data from a microscope following a lithography process step. Previously the operators would manually enter 6 measurement data points to 8-digit precision. This was a very error-prone process, and each time a mistake was made, lots were put on hold until the problem was diagnosed. This affected not only the throughput of the lithography area, but also the overall fab, since the litho tools are invariably the bottleneck. The automated interface eliminated this problem because process engineers knew that any lot holds were due to real process errors rather than operator input errors.

Moving the automated interface to the process equipment was a little more difficult. An automated interface on a metrology tool cannot cause misprocessing, but an automated interface on a process tool was a little riskier. We decided that the first step would be to simply verify that the correct recipe was selected, and not allow processing to proceed until it was reviewed by the process Engineer assigned to that equipment. Within a few minutes of going live with the first automated interface for a process equipment, a mismatch was detected between the operator-selected recipe and the recipe specified in the MES. A quick check by the process engineer verified that the technician had indeed selected the wrong recipe—this simple check alone saved misprocessing the entire carrier of material.Prod20191

From these humble beginnings, full factory automation in front end 300mm fabs was adopted quickly and revolutionized semiconductor manufacturing. The level of automation in other areas of the semiconductor and electronics assembly industries is now increasing dramatically, motivated by the prospect of improved factory throughput and higher yields. Moreover, the experience gained through implementation of automated interfaces using SEMI communication standards will be a great benefit to semiconductor backend and electronics assembly markets. Some of the standards used in 300mm automation have already been modified for this purpose, and new standards are in work to better serve these industries.Prod20192

SMT-ELS-Equipment-link-standard

In September 2019, SEMI published the PCBECI (Printed Circuit Board Equipment Communications Interface) standard, officially designated SEMI A3. This standard is a simplification of the reliable and much-used GEM equipment communication standard.

Early in 2019 the SMT-ELS (Surface Mount Technology Equipment Link Standard) suite, designated SEMI A1, A1.1, and A2, was also published. These standards address the need for machine-to-machine (M2M) communications to support flow manufacturing processes. The adoption process for these new standards has just begun, but like the early adoption of the SECS and GEM standards, it is exciting times and good things are happening. 

Visit us as Productronica (Hall A3 Booth 421) or SEMICON Europa (Hall B1 Booth 525) to hear more about these new standards and the products Cimetrix has developed to support their implementation and validation in equipment and factories. Or you can get in touch with a standards expert any time by clicking the link below. 

Ask an Expert

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

Advanced Process Control Conference XXXI:  Retrospective and New Standards News

Posted by Alan Weber: Vice President, New Product Innovations on Nov 11, 2019, 9:15:00 AM

APC2019-1The 31st annual APC Conference is now in the history books, and the diversity of topics, presenters, and local distractions made it well worth the visit to San Antonio! This year’s agenda featured half-day tutorials on the basics of APC and cyber-security, keynotes from chip makers and leading suppliers on automotive industry requirements, smart equipment, and smart manufacturing, and a series of packed technical sessions covering sensors and equipment control, fault detection and feedforward/feedback control, advanced analytics, and standards.

One of the presentations in the standards session provided detailed information about the new SEMI SMT-ELS (Surface Mount Technology Equipment Link Standards) M2M (machine-to-machine) communications standard. Alan Weber made the presentation titled “SEMI Standards to Support APC for Post-Fab Operations” to an interested audience, which triggered a number of discussions about the automation roadmap for the semiconductor assembly and test segment. This was especially relevant, since some of the leaders of the newly formed SEMI Advanced Backend Factory Integration Task Force (ABFI TF) were also present.

APC2019pic2The SMT-ELS standard has come a long way in a short time, and the ambitious, integrated demonstration created by 4 major SMT suppliers (Fuji, Juki, Panasonic, Yamaha) that was exhibited in June (Japan) and August (China) will again be shown in productronica (Munich, 13-15 November). The basic functions of SMT-ELS (officially designated at SEMI A1, A1.1, and A2) appear in the figure below.

APC2019pic3Cimetrix will likewise demonstrate this new standard at productronica, showing not only an equipment-level implementation of the M2M features but also the host-based configuration process and a plug-in for doing protocol validation tests.

Smart Manufacturing was a common theme this year, with an entire session dedicated to this global initiative. The Factory Integration section of the IRDS (International Roadmap for Devices and Systems) will be reorganized around the tenets of Smart Manufacturing, and a two-volume multi-industry book on this body of technology is scheduled for publication early next year. Another of Alan Weber’s presentations was dedicated to this topic, as he wrote the chapter chronicling the semiconductor industry’s development and use of these technologies.

APC2019pic4If you would like any further information, you can speak with a Cimetrix expert, or you can stop by our booth at productronica this week (Hall A3 booth 451). 

Ask an Expert

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

We Will Be At Both productronica And SEMICON Europa This Year in Munich. Will We See You There?

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Director of Marketing on Nov 5, 2019, 11:30:00 AM

Productronica-semiconIn less than a week, two of the industry’s largest European shows will begin. The 2019 productronica show is co-located once again with SEMICON Europa in Munich, Germany from November 12-15 at the Messe München expo center. For the first time ever, Cimetrix will be exhibiting at both shows, and we welcome you to join us! 

Productronica is the world's leading trade fair for electronics development and production. Cimetrix will demonstrate our Smart Factory products, including Sapience, to show how we can help with your Smart Factory needs. Sapience is a simple solution for connecting multiple machines in a manufacturing line to a factory host system. It offers an economical and scalable solution that can support machines using many communications protocols, including SEMI SMT-ELS, the latest machine-to-machine (M2M) connectivity standard. Please be sure to visit us at our productronica booth #451 in Hall A3.Banner

Over in Hall B1, the SEMICON Europa show will be going strong. SEMICON Europa attracts an audience from every segment of the European microelectronics industries including semiconductors, PV, HB-LED, MEMS, and other adjacent markets.  The combination of SEMICON with productronica is the largest single exhibition for electronics manufacturing in all of Europe. We are excited to once again participate in this event to show how our products can fulfill your Smart Equipment needs.

semi-banner

Equipment manufacturers who want to embrace Industry 4.0 and all its benefits must first put the right digital building blocks in place. The foundation of this digital transformation is connectivity, and that's where Cimetrix can help. Whether you are an equipment manufacturer or an electronics factory, we can address your connectivity requirements. 

We invite you to drop by either of our booths at productronica or SEMICON Europa, or you can make an appointment ahead of time by clicking the button below. We look forward to seeing you there!

Meet with Us

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

Leveraging Cimetrix EquipmentTest to Develop a Reliable SMT-ELS Interface

Posted by Jesse Lopez: Software Engineer on Oct 31, 2019, 12:45:00 PM

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in the development, testing, and integration of the Cimetrix ELS library that encompasses the SEMI A1, A1.1, and A2 (SMT-ELS) standards. It’s been exciting to see how ELS has increasingly been embraced as a connectivity solution for electronic manufacturing equipment.

I was first introduced to the SMT-ELS standard in June 2019 by Alan Weber (VP, New Product Innovations, Cimetrix). To begin, I obtained a functioning ELS implementation from Siemens Japan as well as the needed hardware. To make sure I fully understood ELS, I attended a 2-day class presented by Siemens and began studying the ELS standard and the Siemens ELS implementation.

It took a significant amount of time to get familiar with Siemens Implementation and gain an understanding of what they did to support the ELS standard. Siemens Japan has done a great job with their SEMI SMT-ELS implementation, and their assistance with my efforts is greatly appreciated. Once I felt familiar enough with ELS, I built a SMEMA interface driver to simulate the conveyor signals.

Using the SMT-ELS communications library, the Cimetrix development team designed a sample equipment application which I was able to use for initial connectivity testing. At first, it was fairly difficult to get the two libraries to communicate. However, when I used the Cimetrix EquipmentTestTM software, I was able to find defects in our library, which were quickly and easily resolved by our development team. 

While it was beneficial to have a known ELS implementation to test against, it is now clear how valuable using a testing tool would be for anyone creating or validating their own SEMI SMT-ELS implementation.

Even though the SEMI A1, A1.1 and A2 standards are not long, they are dense. As adoption of these standards increases, it becomes paramount that equipment manufactures can test their SMT-ELS implementations during development. It is not effective or efficient for equipment manufacturers to test against other equipment as their primary form of testing. This is why the Cimetrix EquipmentTest SMT-ELS plug-in is so valuable.

I am currently working on test are written in C# and the code is easy to follow. The tests are split into two categories; one for horizontal communication between equipment ,and vertical communication to a factory system.

Horizontal Tests

For Panel Transfer verification, EquipmentTest connects to the first and last equipment in the line. This allows EquipmentTest to send messages to the first equipment and validate the format and content of the message from the last equipment. HCConnectionDiagram-1-1

For this test, the user defines the panel parameters. The panel is sent to the first equipment. Once the last equipment in the line sends the panel to EquipmentTest, the Material Data Content is verified. 

In addition to actual tests, EquipmentTest can be used to send user defined atomic messages such as SetMDMode.

Vertical Tests

EquipmentTest Connects directly to the vertical port of the equipment. Using EquipmentTest, I can set and validate the Net Configuration.

The EquipmentTest software has been pivotal in developing and test our SMT-ELS Implementation. A demonstration of EquipmentTest SMT-ELS and the Cimetrix EquipmentConnectTM SMT-ELS software will be given at Productronica from November 12-15, 2019 in Munich, Germany. Please drop by our booth any time, or feel free to set up an appointment in advance. We look forward to meeting with you and discussing your ELS needs!

Meet with Us

 

Topics: Industry Standards, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Smart Manufacturing/Industry 4.0, Cimetrix Products

Meet the Front Office Team: Emily Wang

Posted by Cimetrix on Oct 23, 2019, 10:45:00 AM

Emily-Wang-2018-1It's time to meet the folks that keep Cimetrix running - our Front Office team! Meet Emily Wang, a Cimetrix Staff Accountant. Read on to learn a little bit more about Emily.

How long have you worked at Cimetrix?

I’ve been working at Cimetrix for about 2 months.

What is your role at Cimetrix?

I am a staff accountant here at Cimetrix.

What drew you to Cimetrix originally?

I found the Staff Accountant position posting on LinkedIn. I had a video interview, and that was the first time I met people from Cimetrix. All of them were very nice and friendly even though they knew almost nothing about me at that time. Among all the companies I have interviewed with, Cimetrix was the first one that had a focus on a personality test. The company’s care about an employee’s personality surprised me and that’s the time I realized this company was looking for someone who really fit the company culture.

What do you enjoy most about the work you do?

This is my first full-time job after college. I find it interesting that the accounting knowledge I learned from books exists in the real world and this knowledge can actually help the growth of a company. It feels amazing knowing that my knowledge can help. Moreover, I am not just doing repetitive daily work at Cimetrix. There are always new challenges and tasks assigned to me. The company always says they want to set me up for success, which encourages me a lot.

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

I am still learning, and I knew little about practical accounting work when I started working here. It can feel confusing when the real-world scenarios are so different from the theoretical. But the more exposure I get to the practical world, the more I realize that accounting is not just about numbers, but about helping the company be sucessful. 

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

I don’t watch a lot of movies, but I watch millions of TV series. My top favorite three are: Doctor X, Person of Interest, and Modern Family. The actress in Doctor X, Ryoko Yonekura, is a part of the reason I came to US.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I liked to train my cat when he lived with me, although he never understood. I like video games. My favorite two are League of Legend and Overcooked.

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

The Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific (iTAP) Conference is Next Week!

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Director of Marketing on Oct 16, 2019, 5:00:00 PM

The Industrial Transformation Asia Pacific (iTAP) Conference is taking place at the Singapore EXPO on 22-24 October, 2019. We invite you to visit the Cimetrix booth #1K21 in the Singapore Pavilion. Cimetrix and our partner Electrotek will be on hand to discuss your Smart Manufacturing needs. itap-emailThere are many industry terms that you may be wondering exactly how they apply to you. Whether it's "Who is Cimetrix?", or "What does Industry 4.0 mean for me?", we have answers to your questions! See the list of items below that we will be on hand to discuss. 

  • Industry 4.0/Smart Factory
    • Basics
    • Terminology
    • Trends in I️ 4.0
  • I4.o Applied to SMT Processes: Data with SEMI Standards
    • Explanation of SECS/GEM | SMT-ELS | And other SMT Standards
    • Six Sigma Black Belt Lessons
  • Cimetrix Company Overview
  • Cimetrix Sapience Smart Factory Platform
    • How our Platform Sapience, uses standards to provide data

Cimetrix® Sapience is an extensible platform used to connect varying factory equipment within a single event-driven framework. Sapience provides rapid-deployment tools for factories to mine the treasure trove of data available from shop floor equipment, driving actionable insights for optimal decision-making.  Manufacturers, OEMs and 3rd-party developers use Sapience to gain access, through the web, to all kinds of factory equipment without having to understand the details of the myriad of shop-floor communications protocols. 

We hope to see you at our booth any time during the show, or you can schedule a meeting with us ahead of time by clicking the link below.

Meet with Us

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

The TPCA (Taiwan Printed Circuit Board) Show is in Taipei Next Week and We Hope to See You There!

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Director of Marketing on Oct 14, 2019, 4:00:00 AM

The TPCA show is coming soon and we will be there! You can read about it now in Chinese or below in English

TPCA-SHow-Taipei-1

TPCA(臺灣印刷電路板協會)2019年展會即將舉行,Cimetrix很高興能連續第三年參展!展覽將于十月二十三日至二十五日在臺北南港展覽中心舉行。我們邀請您#J-132參觀我們的展位。 

今年的TPCA展會的關鍵亮點之一將在PCB智慧製造論壇上舉行——"PCBECI機器應用互聯網引領智慧製造之路"。新的 PCBECI 標準是特色,Cimetrix 將宣佈我們已經在我們的 CIMConnect 設備連接產品和我們的設備測試合規性測試中支援此標準。

"通過符合成熟的半導體設備通信標準,臺灣PCB行業在全球同行中處於領先地位,利用PCBECI作為全球PCB行業智慧製造標準,有效解決了多樣化的設備通信標準"

PCBECI論壇將于2019年10月24日(星期四)930至12:00在臺北南港展覽中心R402AB舉行。 

TPCA 展會彙集了 PCB 製造商 SMT 製造和測試設備供應商,預計將有來自 50 多個國家的約 4000 名參觀者參加。展區將有400多家參展商和1,400多個展位。 

Cimetrix 再次很高興成為本次展會的一部分,我們期待討論我們支援智慧製造和 PCBECI 標準的創新軟體產品如何滿足您的設備通信需求。您可以在展會期間到我們的展位停留,或提前預約。

會議要求


TPCA-SHow-Taipei-1

The TPCA (Taiwan Printed Circuit Board Association) 2019 show is coming soon and Cimetrix is excited to be exhibiting for the third year in a row! The show will be held at the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center from October 23-25. We invite you to visit us at our booth #J-132.

One of the key highlights in this year’s TPCA show will take place at the PCB Smart Manufacturing Forum – “PCBECI Internet of Machines Applications lead to the smart manufacturing path.” The new PCBECI standard is featured, and Cimetrix will announce that we already support this standard in our CIMConnect equipment connectivity product and our EquipmentTest compliance tester.  

By complying with the mature semiconductor equipment communication standards, the Taiwan PCB industry takes the lead among its global peers as they utilize PCBECI as the worldwide PCB industry Smart Manufacturing standard, effectively solving the problem of diverse equipment communication standards.“

The PCBECI forum will be held on Thursday, October 24, 2019 from 9:30 – 12:00 at R402AB in the Taipei Nangang Exhibition Center.

The TPCA show brings together PCB manufacturers SMT manufacturing and test equipment suppliers, and expects about 4,000 visitors from over 50 countries. There will be over 400 exhibitors and more than 1,400 booths in the exhibition area.

Cimetrix is once again happy to be a part of this show, and we look forward to discussing how our innovative software products that support Smart Manufacturing and the PCBECI standard can help with your equipment communication needs. You can stop by our booth during the show, or schedule an appointment ahead of time.

Meet with Us

 

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

Advanced Process Control Conference XXXI: Preview and Invitation

Posted by Alan Weber: Vice President, New Product Innovations on Oct 10, 2019, 11:00:00 AM

The 31st annual APC Conference is coming up later this month (October 28-31), and will be held at the Embassy Suites Riverwalk in the scenic and historic setting of San Antonio, Texas.

sanantonioThis conference is one of the longest-running events specific to the semiconductor manufacturing industry, and always features speakers and topics that are germane to the industry’s leading practitioners of equipment/factory data collection, analysis, optimization, and control.  This year’s agenda promises more of the same – click here for a closer look at the details.

Specifically, as the automotive industry’s use of semiconductors continues to grow in anticipation of self-driving cars and their supporting infrastructure, the first keynote address from Steve Frezon of NXP Semiconductors (“Automotive Semiconductor ZERO DEFECT Enablement”) highlights the challenges that automotive customers place on the wafer fabs. A second keynote by Dr. Ben Rathsack of Tokyo Electron America (“SMART Tools: Intelligent Controls in Semiconductor Manufacturing”) focuses on the implications of the global Smart Manufacturing initiative for equipment suppliers, which has been a consistent theme of the conference under a variety of monikers since its earliest days.

The rest of the Technical Sessions Agenda includes presentations, posters, and exhibits across the semiconductor value chain: sensor and subsystem providers, software suppliers, equipment manufacturers, universities, standards organizations, and semiconductor IDMs and foundries. Given the importance of equipment connectivity and control across the product and technology spectrum of these companies, Cimetrix will participate directly as it has for many years. Alan Weber, VP of New Product Innovations, will present a summary of a chapter (“Semiconductor Smart Manufacturing: An Evolving Nexus of Business Drivers, Technologies, and Standards”) in a soon-to-be-published 2-volume book on Smart Manufacturing. He will also present material jointly developed 1) with SK hynix on customer-driven automation requirements development, and 2) with SEMI Japan, Applied Materials, and others on new standards for flow shop style manufacturing, such as semiconductor back end and PCB assembly.

Central Texas can be a beautiful place to be in late October, so mark your calendars today and plan to join us in San Antonio!

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

Resources Round-up: Presentations

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Director of Marketing on Oct 3, 2019, 11:16:00 AM

Resource Center-1The Cimetrix Resource Center is a great way to familiarize yourself with standards within the industry as well as find out about new and exciting technologies. 

Our resource center features information about equipment connectivity and control, data gathering, GEM (SECS/GEM)EDA/Interface A, and more. These standards are among the key enabling technologies for the Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 global initiatives that are having a major impact on the electronics assembly, semiconductor, SMT and other industries. Manufacturers and their equipment suppliers must be able to connect equipment and other data sources, gather and analyze data in real time, and optimize production through a wide variety of applications.

The many presentations featured in our resource center provide in-depth coverage from Cimetrix expert's presentations at many different conferences and expos around the world. Some of our most popular presentations are below.

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

Resources

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

The Cimetrix Team had a Great Time at SEMICON Taiwan 2019!

Posted by Kimberly Daich; Director of Marketing on Sep 26, 2019, 11:42:00 AM
semi-taiwan-2019-team

Last week was SEMICON Taiwan, and we left the show feeling very confident about the industry in Taiwan over the next few years. We were happy to meet with current clients, make new contacts, and participate in SEMICON in a variety of ways.

Cimetrix continues to strengthen its relationship with SEMI through our global participation and leadership in SEMI Standards meetings, as we have now done in Taiwan. Richard Howard, a Cimetrix director, and co-chair of the SEMI NA Security Task Force attended the Taiwan Computer and Device Security (CDS) task force meeting at the invitation of the Taiwan task force leadership and SEMI staff. The purpose of the meeting was to have a face-to-face discussion of how the regional task forces from Taiwan, North America and Japan could work together to define standards that address security in the microelectronic manufacturing industry. The principal goal of this meeting was to gain alignment between North America and Taiwan on an effective approach for defining these standards. Together we agreed that the best way forward was to develop a suite of standards, much like the GEM 300 and EDA standards, that subdivide this broad domain into discrete areas with specific objectives. Specifically, the international teams jointly decided to address equipment and device security by breaking out these standards separately. In this way, the global community can work simultaneously on standards development and eliminate duplication of effort. Participating in standards meetings and task forces is always a great learning experience.semi-taiwan-2019-Alan

The SEMICON Taiwan theme this year was “Leading the Smart Future,” and this sentiment was echoed throughout the exhibits, seminars, and special events. There was Smart Transportation, Smart Manufacturing, Smart MedTech, and even Smart Data. In recent years, Cimetrix has been a regular sponsor and participant in the Smart Manufacturing areas of SEMICON shows, and this year, our booth exhibit was in the Smart Manufacturing Pavilion. In addition. Alan Weber, VP of new Product Innovations, spoke on the topic of “Connectivity Challenges for Smart Manufacturing” at the Meet-the-Experts area of the pavilion. Speaking at SEMICON is always a great opportunity, and we are happy to share the presentation material with you here.

As always, our Cimetrix team was excited to once again be an exhibitor at the SEMICON Taiwan show. We are already looking forward to SEMICON Taiwan 2020!

 

 

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