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

SEMICON Japan 2015 Spotlights IoT and its Effects on the Semiconductor Industry of the Future

December 16-18 in Tokyo, SEMI played host to SEMICON Japan that was co-located with the WORLD OF IOT, a special “show-within-a-show” dedicated to the Internet of Things usages that are propelling the next generation of microelectronic advances. SEMICON Japan is of note as Japan has the world’s largest installed fab capacity with more than 4.1 million 200mm equivalent wafers per month representing a high product mix.

Over 60,000 visitors attended the three-day event who met with nearly 800 exhibitors; attended forums, technical sessions, and networking events; and had the opportunity to see new innovations and technologies within the industry.

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One highlight of the show was the Sustainable Manufacturing Pavilion. The pavilion focused on 200mm fab capacity where increased demand from IoT devices is anticipated. Revamping of the existing capacity and building cost-conscious capacity will be key to the sustainable growth of the industry. Sustainability in microelectronics manufacturing is quickly moving from a minor area of focus to a major consideration in business planning. Forward-thinking device makers, materials suppliers, and equipment manufacturers are all beginning to understand sustainable manufacturing makes economic sense for the future.

The pavilion offered many related sessions throughout SEMICON including the SEMI Technology Symposium Test Technologies for Automotive Semiconductors; the SEMI Technology Symposium on DFM in the Trends towards Fabless/Foundry Manufacturing and Alliances; the SEMI Technology Symposium on The Dreams and Reality of TSV/2.5D/3D Packaging; and a Sustainable Manufacturing and High Tech Facility Forum.

This year’s SEMICON Japan also featured a Manufacturing Innovation Pavilion that showcased inventive processes, equipment, manufacturing, components, and materials technologies that enable smarter and faster—yet cheaper—semiconductor devices to create our advancing society, industry, and life. The pavilion demonstrated that developing microelectronics technologies that will make the IoT possible requires continued innovation in semiconductor manufacturing equipment, materials, and components.

In conjunction with the Manufacturing Innovation Pavilion, SEMICON conducted a Semiconductor Executive Forum, a Lithography Business Forum, and a Manufacturing Innovation Forum to exchange ideas and share knowledge about the topics featured in the pavilion.

The WORLD OF IOT brought together leading global electronics and microelectronics companies whose innovations are driving the expansion of mobile technologies, cloud computing, and network-connected devices. Held in conjunction with SEMICON Japan, WORLD OF IOT was a "show-within-a-show". Exhibitors included such noteworthy companies as Tesla Motors, Toyota Motor Corporation, and Intel KK that demonstrated current projects and developing technologies. Executive forums and technical sessions were also offered everyday during the show.

Cimetrix was proud to be represented by our two distributors in Japan, Meidensha Corporation and Rorze Corporation, who both featured our SECS/GEM and EDA product lines. For Rorze, 2015 has been a significant year, the company celebrated its 30th anniversary. Stay tuned for my upcoming blog about its amazing anniversary celebration.

SEMICON Japan 2015 made a great end cap to the year as it focused so heavily on where the semiconductor industry is headed. Hopefully all the SEMICONs in 2016 will continue to be forward-looking as we here at Cimetrix are and remain focused on seeing how managing big data is becoming an ever more important issue within manufacturing. For more information on how EDA/Interface A is equipped to manage data acquisition in fabs, click here.

Topics: Semiconductor Industry, Interface A, EDA, SEMICON Japan, Data Management, IoT

2015 Advanced Process Control (APC) Conference Focused on High Quality Equipment Data

Posted by Alan Weber: Vice President, New Product Innovations on Oct 23, 2015 1:00:00 PM

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Cimetrix participated in the recent Advanced Process Control (APC) Conference in Austin, Texas, along with more than 120 control professionals across the semiconductor manufacturing industry. This conference, now in its 27th year, is one of only a few global events dedicated to the domain of semiconductor process control and directly supporting technologies, so it was encouraging to see its attendance and energy level rebound from its low water mark a few years ago. The calendar may have indicated it was fall, but nobody told the weather forecasters… Austin set temperature records that week, even hitting 99°F one day!

Given the importance of high quality equipment data for all types of equipment- and factory-level process control applications, it is vital that Cimetrix and its customers understand the current requirements and future direction of this industry segment. Many presentations addressed these topics indirectly, but perhaps the newest insights in this regard came not from the wafer fabrication processes, but rather from the Back End, OSAT (Outsourced Assembly and Test), and advanced packaging segments.

As evidence, a number of presenters mentioned the growing need for equipment data collection in these areas, and cited the following reasons: 1) increasing demands by the consumer product manufacturing customers of these facilities (especially smart phone providers, but others as well) for equipment data to support their product quality and supply chain optimization initiatives; 2) emphasis on the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) productivity metrics, and the event/status data needed to support their automated calculation; 3) broader deployment of multi-variate Fault Detection and Classification (FDC) applications, which require more equipment trace data parameters than have typically been collected from back end equipment; and finally, 4) actual feedback control based on back end metrology – the best example of this presented last week was an application on dicing equipment that showed how kerf data collection and analysis can be used to adjust saw process parameters

The takeaway for Cimetrix in all this is that the back end equipment suppliers will need to anticipate this demand and may need to upgrade their interface capabilities substantially.

Since some of Cimetrix’ customers have pioneered the application of the latest generation of SEMI EDA (Equipment Data Acquisition) / Interface A standards in plumbing data from external “add-on” sensors to fault detection applications, I presented a generalization of this approach during one of technical sessions. This presentation, “Data Fusion at the Source: Standards and Technologies for Seamless Sensor Integration” is available on the Cimetrix website for those who want to learn more about how this is done.

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Check back next week to learn more about creating good EDA/Interface A purchasing specifications.

Topics: Equipment Data Acquisition, Market Trends, Interface A, EDA, Events, Data Management, Data

So Much Data, So Little Time

Posted by Cimetrix on Jun 24, 2010 6:00:00 AM

by Dave Faulkner,
EVP, Sales & Marketing

Engineers love data. Business people love information. But it all starts with high-quality, real-time data. The possibilities are endless with good data.

As an equipment supplier, history probably has you living with a tool architecture from the early 300mm days. The focus was on implementing AMHS systems and meeting the GEM300 standards. A data driven architecture wasn't on the radar screen. And it wasn't a business priority. Times have changed. Fabs started asking for more data by creating the SEMI Interface A standards - and equipment suppliers are learning they can produce more productive equipment by leveraging the right data.

Interface A was an interesting concept when it started in the early 2000s. Discoverable data available to the fabs in real time would seem to be the answer to many problems. But the adoption has been less than stellar - even with strong endorsement and technical support by ISMI. Lack of fab side applications plumbed to use the Interface A data and "ownership" issues of the data haven't helped. These are real business problems that must be solved and will be solved with the next wave of fab purchases.

But what have we learned as equipment suppliers and software providers? Tool data models are helpful. Self description is great. We can create high performance data gathering applications that integrate with existing tool control architectures to make data available and controllable by the equipment supplier. Look at the performance of CIMPortal, our comprehensive equipment data acquisition (EDA) solution. We also learned that given the opportunity to "start over", we can create new tool control architectures that are data driven and prepared for the future. Look at CIMControlFramework. So the data is available - or you can make it available with an existing or new tool control architecture.

Let's put this data to work. Either to benefit you as the tool supplier or to help your customer. How is your tool accepted at the fabs? Do you have contingencies on your customer's payments? Does tool uptime have an impact on the tool price? Are your warranty costs too high? You get the point. With high-quality, real-time data at our fingertips, we can solve some of these business issues. We are at the beginning of a phase where the tool supplier makes use of this data and it directly impacts business results. Tool side fault detection, preventative maintenance, whatever is needed. The important point is we are finally starting from a strong foundation with the right data at the right time - and it can lead to increased margins or higher levels of customer satisfaction. Bring us your business problem and let's build something together to put this data to good use. Let's do it now!

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Topics: Equipment Data Acquisition, SEMI Standards, Interface A, CIMPortal, CIMControlFramework, Equipment Control-Software Products, Data Collection, Data Management, Data

Selecting or Designing a Yield Management System

Posted by Cimetrix on Jan 27, 2010 9:43:00 AM

by Sheethong Ho,
Solutions Architect

It is a natural tendency to think that Yield MaYield Managementnagement Integration is simply a data integration job that gathers related manufacturing and test data into a Yield Management System (such as dataPOWER, PDF), and thereafter the engineers and their Yield Management System live happy ever after.

For the fact that a production environment is never static and is evolving constantly makes the maintenance aspects of the Yield Management System a formidable challenge. It is fairly common to see a facility struggling to have its newly implemented Yield Management System keep up with new production needs. Any intentional or unintentional change in manufacturing data may break the loading of a data feed causing its yield analysis capabilities render useless.

The following are some of the key considerations when designing or selecting a solution for the implementation of a Yield Management System.

  1. How flexible is the solution in adapting to changing needs in the manufacturing environment? For instance, a new foundry plant is providing the assembly testing that feeds an existing data source for the Yield Management System. However, its test data does not comply with the expected format and could not be processed and loaded. What will be the cost and effort associated with fixing the assembly test data feed?
  2. How easy is it to manage and administrate the system? Anyone tasked to manage and maintain the data processing and data feed for the Yield Management System will experience a substantial amount of time investigating why a certain data failed to load. Hence, the question: does the solution provide good error reporting and handling? When the system administrator is approached by the yield engineer on a certain high priority lot not appearing in the Yield Management System – what tools are available to help diagnose the problem or to track down the missing lot? Will the system provide any further means to answer these questions:
    • Did the test data for the lot make it to the Yield Management system? Perhaps the lot has not even been tested or data was not made available to the system.
    • What is the cause for the failure? A typical failure is the missing Meta (e.g. Wafer Map Configuration) data that is required for the loading. (Usually the Process Engineers are responsible in keeping the Meta data updated)
    • How the error could be eradicated and the data loading be resumed. What tools are provided to facilitate such activities?
  3. Does the system provide critical alarms and warnings ahead of time such that problems are not identified only when data are discovered to be missing or incorrect during yield analysis? These alarms and warning could also include system resources such as storage space and CPU usage that could affect the processing and loading of yield related data.

In considering a solution for Yield Management System integration, perhaps more than simply concerning about getting the data accurately into the system, the ease of system maintenance is equally important.

Contact Cimetrix Global Services to discover Cimetrix can help with your Yield Management System implementation and integration.

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Topics: Data Collection, Global Services, Yield Data Management, Data Management

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