Industrial Use of the SECS/GEM Standard
All GEM compliant manufacturing equipment share a consistent interface and certain consistent behavior. GEM equipment can communicate with a GEM capable host using either TCP/IP (using the HSMS standard, SEMI E37) or RS-232 based protocol (using the SECS-I standard, SEMI E4). Each equipment can be monitored and controlled using a common set of SECS-II messages specified by SECS GEM. When an equipment has a GEM interface, it takes just minutes (or even seconds) for factory GEM host software to establish communication and begin monitoring the machine's activity. This means that equipment manufacturers can spend more time and money improving the machine's quality by providing a common interface to all factories. Furthermore, factories can spend more time and money improving production and processes, rather than setting up communication to the machines.
There are many additional SEMI standards and factory specifications that reference the SECS/GEM standard. These additional standards are either industry-specific or equipment-type specific. Following are a few examples.
- Semiconductor Front-End
The semiconductor front-end industry defined a series of standards known as the GEM300 standards that include SEMI standards E40, E87, E90, E94, E116, E148, and E157. and also references the E39 standard. Each standard provides additional features to the GEM interface yet build upon the features in GEM E30 standard.
300mm factories worldwide use the underlying SECS/GEM standard's data collection features in order to monitor specific equipment activity such as wafer movement and process job execution.
The SECS/GEM standard and the additional GEM 300 standards are required on nearly each and every 300mm wafer manufacturing tool in order to implement the manufacturing automation. This industry has been the strongest supporter of the GEM and related SEMI standards. Read more about the GEM300 standards in the SEMI GEM300 Connectivity Standards introduction.
- Semiconductor Back-End
Numerous equipment in the Semiconductor Back-End industry implement the SECS/GEM standard. Additional standards have been implemented such as SEMI E122 Standard for Tester Specific Equipment Model and SEMI E123 Standard for Handler Equipment Specific Equipment Model.
- Flat Panel Display
The Flat Panel Display industry has largely been a long-time user of SEMI standards for connecting manufacturing equipment to their factory information and control systems, but the interfaces are typically user-specific and incorporate custom SECS messages.
As panel sizes and feature counts continue to increase (consider the large LED-based high-definition televisions), the FPD industry will undoubtedly make use of more and more manufacturing data to maintain product quality and manufacturing efficiency.
- Surface Mount Technology
Many equipment in the Surface Mount Technology industry support the SECS/GEM standard, including chip placement, solder paste, oven and inspection equipment. The GEM standard has been used on these equipment for over 15 years.
In 2008, the Photovoltaic industry officially decided to adopt the SECS/GEM standard and submitted a proposal for a new SEMI standard, ballot 4557, as a new PV industry standard. Even prior to adopting the SECS/GEM standard, several photovoltaic equipment suppliers already were capable of supporting the GEM/SECS standard. The new standard is called the "GUIDE FOR PV EQUIPMENT COMMUNICATION INTERFACES (PVECI)" and defines a framework that utilizes the SEMI E37 (HSMS), SEMI E5 (SECS-II), SEMI 30 (GEM), SEMI E148 and SEMI E10 standards.
- High-Brightness LEDs
The High-Brightness LED industry is currently working with SEMI to define needed standards through the HBLED Task Force. The adoption of GEM has been accepted and further investigation is taking place concerning the GEM300 and EDA (Equipment Data Acquisition) standards.