Semiconductor Industry News, Trends, and Technology, and SEMI Standards Updates

Semiconductor

CIMConnect: Making GEM Implementation Simple for Any Industry Using Automated Manufacturing Equipment

Posted by Brian Rubow: Director of Client Training and Support

May 26, 2016 1:00:00 PM

CIMConnect_spooling.png

Interest in SEMI standard E30, known as the GEM standard has grown in recent years. That interest has increased in various manufacturing industries has matured in which factories are seeking to increase automation and carefully monitor equipment activity in order to increase production and product quality. Initially, the GEM standard targeted just the semiconductor industry, but then expanded to include any industry that used manufacturing equipment. In fact, a number of years ago the name of the GEM Standard changed from the “Generic Model for Communication and Control of Semiconductor Equipment” to “Generic Model for Communication and Control of Manufacturing Equipment.” Adoption by other industries is possible because the GEM standard defines generic features to control and monitor any manufacturing equipment. The GEM standard technology is not limited to semiconductor manufacturing. Over time, other industries have taken notice, especially as they try to develop increased control over their equipment.

CIMConnect™ is the best software product on the market for implementing the GEM standard. Of course CIMConnect supports all of the required GEM features as well as additional capabilities. This even includes excellent support of the Spooling feature, which saves messages that are otherwise dropped during a loss of communication. Early implementations of the GEM standard by others gave the GEM standard’s Spooling feature a bad reputation. This reputation is undeserved when Spooling is implemented by a robust product like CIMConnect. In CIMConnect, not only does Spooling work; it works well. It has been proven by customers that CIMConnect’s Spooling implementation does not lose any messages—even while under high-stress conditions. This means that when using CIMConnect, the Spooling feature can be used to effectively preserve critical data from the equipment.

Another feature that makes CIMConnect the best GEM software product is the CIMConnect Control Panel. In the new CIMConnect release, this application was completely rewritten, redesigned in .NET,  giving it a modern look and feel while adding lots of new convenient functionality. With other GEM products, the GEM interface is essentially a black box. With CIMConnect, however, the Control Panel application gives full visibility into the GEM interface. And you can run it at any time during GEM interface development and also during production. This means that you can see what reports and traces are defined, the link between reports and events, the status of all state machines, the state of each alarm, the enable status of every event, the history of occurring collection events, the history of alarm state changes and the current values of all data variables, and status variables and equipment constants. You can also view and capture the SECS-II message logging at any time for scenario diagnostics. Additionally, the CIMConnect Control Panel provides features to simulate the occurrence of collection events, collection event data, alarms, and variable data; thereby making it a built-in simulator included requiring no additional effort. And when you are ready to update your GEM documentation appendix with the list of defined collection events, alarms, status variables, data variables, and equipment constants, use the documentation builder feature.

CIMConnect has also already adopted use of new SEMI standard E173 Specification for XML SECS-II Message Notation (SMN). CIMConnect allows software applications to use SMN notation both when providing variable values to CIMConnect, as well as when getting variable values from CIMConnect. This means that you can pass data around in XML, retaining the data type and data structure information; bringing the convenience of XML into the SECS/GEM technology. You can log the GEM communication messages using SMN format making log messages much more useful, and they are able to be easily deserialized by any software applications that has XML libraries.

For additional detailed information about CIMConnect or to request a product demonstration, please contact us.

Topics: SECS/GEM, SEMI, CIMConnect

New Updates of CIMConnect and SECSConnect are Now Available for Download

Posted by David Francis: Director of Product Management

Nov 18, 2015 1:00:00 PM

My parents built a house in 1953 and still live in it today. It’s a good house and they haven’t felt any need to move, but over the years they have done projects to refresh the house and add new features that weren’t available when they originally built it. They have painted many times, installed new carpeting, updated the kitchen with new cabinets and modern appliances, and added a new room off the back of the house to provide a little extra space. Just like my parent’s house, CIMConnect has been around for a while providing reliable GEM Host connectivity to hundreds of semiconductor equipment manufacturers, so over the better part of 2015, we at Cimetrix have been giving CIMConnect a little refreshing.

Here are some of the updates we made to reinvigorate CIMConnect:

  • Created support for the latest SEMI GEM communication standards

  • Validated it on new operating systems

  • Developed a new control panel to make it easier for customers to interact with and monitor the application. The new control panel provides simplified checking and monitoring of variable values, better visibility of collection event states, and more efficient loading of large EPJ files

  • Added a new support tool to automatically gather information necessary for Cimetrix Support to help diagnose problems

  • Integrated a new 64-bit Value COM object for easier use with 64-bit equipment control applications

  • Included support for the new SEMI E173 – Specification for XML SECS-II Message Notation (SMN) standard

  • Improved logging and log message readability

  • Incorporated a new log file viewer with enhanced diagnostic tools

In addition, we have also released a new update to SECSConnect as it too was in need of a little sprucing up. This version also integrates the new 64-bit Value COM object for easier use with 64-bit equipment control applications as well as supports the new SEMI E173 standard just as the new CIMConnect does.

If that weren’t enough, Cimetrix has also added a new License Manager that will be included with all Cimetrix products going forward. The License Manager provides a better way for managing software licenses for Cimetrix products for our clients that we hope will make your life a little easier.

Just like my parent’s house, CIMConnect and SECSConnect have been around for a long time and they were due for a little freshening up. As always, Cimetrix is committed to continually providing reliable, stable products that our clients can count on for meeting their connectivity needs and so we felt it was time to release updates to both products. We will continually make improvements to our current products to provide support for our clients now, while we provide innovative new products to help our clients in the future.

Topics: Licenses, CIMConnect, Doing Business with Cimetrix, SECSConnect

To Better Serve Our Clients, We Will Be Discontinuing the Mailing of CDs and Hardcopy COAs for Runtime Licenses

Posted by David P. Faulkner: Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Nov 3, 2015 12:34:00 PM

We here at Cimetrix are excited that we are implementing a new process that will both benefit our clients and the environment. We have always delivered our software runtime license orders to our clients on CDs along with hardcopies of their Certificates of Authenticity (COA). Well, starting January 1st, we will begin delivering orders to our clients through emails that will include a digital COA for each runtime license and instructions on how to download their software.

As a company, we have always prided our self on providing the finest quality customer experience possible so we feel that this new process is just one more step in improving our service. There are a number of benefits of this change:

  • Most of our clients integrate Cimetrix’s software with their own software by using the Software Development Kit (SDK), most runtime license CDs are simply thrown away, which in today’s world is really not acceptable. By making this simple change, we will be eliminating thousands of pounds of potential waste.

  • We are constantly improving our software products and the latest version should always be obtained from our Support website (cimetrix.com/online-support)—not from a CD stored on a shelf somewhere for who knows how long. This change ensures that the latest version of our software will always be used.

  • The shipping cost and time delay by sending CDs by a carrier will be eliminated which will be a direct cost savings to you. 

  • The proof-of-purchase for our runtime license is the COA, not the CD. The COA number is what is used to obtain the license code using our online license generator. 

So the only thing we need our clients to do is to make sure we have an email address on file of where they would like their future orders sent. It’s that simple. We do foresee a period of adjustment for some clients, so for those that still want CDs and hardcopy COAs delivered, we will have this option available for an additional fee.

Of course, if you have any questions or comments regarding this policy, we are always happy to hear from you.  You can contact us at Orders@Cimetrix.com.

Topics: CIMPortal, CIMControlFramework, Support, CIM300, CIMConnect, EDAConnect, SECSConnect

Connecting GEM-Based Equipment to PLCs

Posted by Cimetrix

Nov 10, 2014 4:17:00 PM

The Cimetrix open source GEMBridge solution is now updated to use with Kepware Technologies KEPServerEX OPC platform. Cimetrix customers using CIMConnect and CIM300 can use GEMBridge to connect their PLC-controlled equipment to SECS/GEM and GEM 300 interfaces using an OPC-compliant interface.

Cimetrix announced this solution last week in a press release. With this solution, OEMs can send messages to and from programmable logic controllers to enable complete equipment control throughout the system. 

Kepware’s KEPServerEX is a flexible and scalable solution for connecting, managing, monitoring, and controlling diverse automation devices and software applications. Communications is managed through a robust platform that supports an array of open standards such as OPC, propriety communication protocols, API's, and various automation systems' interfaces. KEPServerEX enables improved operations and decision making throughout all levels of an organization.

Kepware CIMConnect resized 600

KEPServerEX provides the ability to consolidate data and information from various sources. This not only ensures consistency and reliability, but also reduces the number of Third-Party communication servers from which the end application must gather data. Furthermore, having a single source gather data for client applications reduces network traffic, device and system resource usage, and data inconsistencies. Instead, it provides a manageable and scalable platform for automation communications.

For more information, contact Cimetrix at info@cimetrix.com.

Topics: SECS/GEM, CIM300, CIMConnect

8 things to consider when implementing a GEM Interface

Posted by Cimetrix

Feb 9, 2010 7:57:00 AM

by Matt Mayer,
Principal Software Engineer, Global Services

GEM interface checklist

  1. Establishing Communication- A standardized communications mechanism ensures both equipment and host have agreed, and all requirements necessary for properly collaborating data (between tool and host) based on the SEMI® SECS messaging standards (E5) are compatible during the connected status and after connection could have been disrupted.
  2. Spooling- Spooling is an essential part of keeping synchronization with the tool. Communications (connect status) can be disrupted. In the event of communication disruption, the tool can be configured to spool collection event (S6F11) messages after communications has been restored and the host requests the last know transactions for the lost time span.

    Spooling can be configured to retain a SECS message pooled history of almost any stream and function (SEMI E5 standard). With this enriched functional capability, any condition of the tool can be relayed at anytime after communication has been re-established (e.g.: alarms, events, processing state changes, etc…).

    With that said about spooling, the host is required to take special care of the data received and re-act to the latest available data (spooled messages) in the most appropriate manner. In many cases, this behavior of the host takes special care at documentation and tool manufacturer collaboration.

  3. Alarm Handling- The alarm handling capability provides for host with notifications and management of alarm conditions occurring on the equipment. Typically an alarm is associated with abnormal conditions of the equipment.

    With each alarm a correlating set/clear event notification will be issued to the host. As with each event definition, a report can be defined and linked in order to associate variable data specific to the alarm (see Event Handling).

  4. Event Handling- Event handling provides a dynamic and flexible method for the tool manufacturer to customize the equipment to meet needs specified by the fabrication facilities with respect to data representation and presentation to the host. The event based approach to data collection provides automatic notification to the host and its activities which are useful in monitoring the equipment and in maintaining synchronization with the equipment.

    Reports can be configured by the host application and attached to event report messages (S6F11). These reports are linked to the desired event and are typically associated with variable data relating to the event generated by the equipment.

  5. Variable Handling- The variable handling capability provide both the tool and equipment the ability to share details. Variables are categorized in three groups.

    Groups:

    • Equipment Constants, provides the capability for the host to read and change the value of selected variables of type EC which allow the host to reconfigure the variety of equipment functionality.
    • Status data, the values of a status variable will be current.
    • Discrete data, the values of DVs are only guaranteed to be valid at the occurrence of a collection event.
  6. Process State Model Handling- The processing state model is dependent on the equipment process and technology. However, there are expected common aspects to these models. Many of these equipments use the GEM proposed state model with some variations. An ERROR and MANUAL state can be utilized during initialization and when the state is idle.

    Based on the SEMI E30 standard, the equipment must generate collection events for each processing state transition, as well as provide status variables (ProcessState, PreviousProcessState) which values represent the current processing state and the previous processing state. Other collection event reports can be defined and linked to event triggers.

  7. Remote Command Handling- The capability which provides the host with control over the equipment and its operations. A remote command consists of parameter name/value pair with a particular host command (S2F41). The equipment manufacturer will provide unique names for any supported command parameters. The command parameters are defined by fabrication facilities and equipment manufacturers.

    A typical set of remote commands are listed below. However, the list is not a constraint and any set of remote commands can be specified and used.

    • PPSELECT
    • START
    • STOP
    • PAUSE
    • ABORT
  8. Recipe Upload/Download Handling- Recipe handling provides the means for transferring process (recipe) information between the host and the equipment. The specifications for equipment processing (e.g. recipes) are managed through SECS messages (E5). Recipe uploading and downloading will be accomplished using several formats and combination thereof.

    Formats:

    • Unformatted recipe content
    • Formatted recipe content
    • Value based content transfer
    • File based content transfer
  9. In addition to the above mentioned considerations, Cimetrix's CIMConnect, an object-oriented software development kit for equipment suppliers to quickly develop a GEM interface, also allows for multi-host connections.

    You might also be interested in:

Topics: SEMI Standards, SECS/GEM, CIMConnect, GEM Interface

Receive Email Updates

Follow Us

Learn More About the
SEMI Standards

SECS/GEM

GEM 300

Interface A/EDA

PV2 (PVECI)