Industry News, Trends and Technology, and Standards Updates

Meet the Client Training & Support Team: Mark Bennett

Posted by Cimetrix on Apr 13, 2018 10:43:00 AM

CIM_2017-6624-903825-editedMeet Mark Bennett, a member of the Client Training and Support team. Read on to learn a little bit more about Mark.

How long have you been working at Cimetrix?

I have  been with Cimetrix for over 15 years. I started back when Cimetrix was primarily involved with robotics.

Where did you go to school and what did you get your degree in?

I went to Brigham Young University, and got a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering.

What brought you to Cimetrix originally?

At the time, I was working in the HVAC (Heating Ventilating and Air Conditioning) industry as a Mechanical Engineer. This was my first job out of college, and I decided that I didn’t want to make HVAC my career choice.  I got introduced to Cimetrix by my brother, who was working with Cimetrix as a customer.

What do you like most about your job?

I like solving problems and learning new things. What we do is not rocket science, but it’s probably just about as challenging.

What do you think it means to provide great customer support?

Solve customer issues and help them successfully get their equipment deployed.

What’s the biggest accomplishment you’ve had at Cimetrix?

A few years ago, I was sent to TSMC in Taiwan to help a customer get a tool accepted in the FAB. They were having problems getting the E84 automated material handling system working. It was a very difficult assignment because the tool was already installed in the FAB and there were a lot of problems to fix. The FAB only allowed us to perform one or two tests per day. So, I captured log files from the tests, went out to the parking lot, and made code changes in the car. To fix the problem, I pretty much had to rewrite the entire E87 AMHS handling code, and a lot of the load port code as well.

How do you deal with challenges that come up at work?

Most of the challenges I face involve solving issues that customers report. Here are some things that I might try:

  • Reproduce the problem using a sample application. Try to identify if this is a problem with the product, or if the customer is not using it properly.
  • Search our database to see if this issue has been reported before. Find out how it was resolved in the past.
  • Look through the SEMI standards to see how it should behave.
  • Look through product documentation and release notes.
  • Ask others for their opinions/suggestions.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Lately, we have been staying close to home for vacations.  We have taken trips to the San Francisco Bay area.  We enjoy that.

What's something you’ve learned while working at Cimetrix?

I’ve learned a lot about the SEMI standards. I have also learned a lot about software development and programming.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I enjoy watching movies. I also like trying to perfect my cooking skills on my Kamado barbecue grille.

Topics: Customer Support, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture

Meet the Client Training & Support Team: Tami Tracey

Posted by Cimetrix on Apr 5, 2018 11:09:00 AM

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Meet Tami Tracey, Manager of Client Training and Support. She's been with Cimetrix for six years and has been a significant contributor in her position. Read on to learn a little bit more about Tami.

Where did you go to school and what did you get your degree in?

I went to the University of California at Irvine and graduated in Computer Science. During my undergraduate degree I was more interested in circuits and robotics. When I moved to the Bay area, I was drawn to the semiconductor equipment manufacturers in Silicon Valley where software applies to the physical world nearly directly.

What brought you to Cimetrix originally?

I worked in control systems software development on semiconductor front-end equipment for more than a dozen years, which from time to time touched on factory communications. A work colleague mentioned an opening and I liked the idea of working on software that integrates the equipment and the factory.

What do you like most about your job?

Debugging. Diagnosing problems feels like part-logic, part-archaeology, and part-intuition, and it is a fun place for my brain.

What do you think it means to provide great customer support?

Listening carefully to clients, learning their use cases and concerns, and advocating for their needs when it comes to product improvements

What’s the biggest accomplishment you’ve had at Cimetrix?  

The most memorable client “issue” lasted more than a year and required both technical analysis of incident logs, product testing, and sustained project management. We were successful helping the client, and I earned the respect of their engineering lead.

How do you deal with challenges that come up at work?

I keep an eye on the big picture. Hard work is hard work and can’t be avoided, so I prefer to dig in and get it going. I also have a practice of summarizing any particular incident for myself, so that I can be clear on what was learned and be able to return to that analysis later if needed.

What's something you’ve learned while working at Cimetrix?

Cimetrix is a growing company and its value system is really led by the executives. The company has challenged itself to improve internally, and the culture embraces both change and respect. I’ve learned a lot about myself, others, and ‘organizations’ in this time.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Switzerland, because of the Alps.

What do you like to do in your free time?

I volunteer for a local non-profit involved in education about emergency preparedness; last year I helped the organization get their non-profit status. I also have played frisbee sports for a long time, and I help run a disc golf tournament for women where I am responsible for sponsorship, social media marketing, and event operations.

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture

EDA Applications and Benefits for Smart Manufacturing Episode 3: Real-Time Throughput Monitoring

Posted by Alan Weber: Vice President, New Product Innovations on Mar 28, 2018 11:13:00 AM

In the introduction to this series (posted December 19, 2017), we listed some of the manufacturing stakeholders whose work objectives are directly addressed by the applications we’ll highlight in this and subsequent postings. In the second article, we explained the process used to map the careabouts of key stakeholder groups into specific EDA interface requirements which are can then be directly included in the purchasing specifications. semiconductor wafer

In this post, we’ll explain how some of those interface requirements support an important factory application that has general applicability across all equipment types, namely “real-time throughput monitoring.” This application can realistically work with a variety of equipment types with no custom code or configuration depending, of course, on how faithfully the equipment supplier implements the SEMI standards referenced in the requirements specification. This powerful concept greatly improves the software engineering productivity of a fab’s automation team, so we’ll take some time to explain how this is possible.

Problem Statement

This application addresses the problem of monitoring equipment throughput performance in real time, and raising an alarm when it drifts away from “normal” for any reason. This is especially important for bottleneck equipment (e.g., litho tracks and scanners), because any loss of throughput ripples throughout the line, resulting in lost production and its associated revenue and profit. Stated simply, “lost time on a bottleneck tool can never be recovered.” 

Solution Components

This application requires data that includes primarily the equipment events that chronicle the movement of substrates through the equipment and execution of the recipes appropriate for this equipment type (process, metrology, inspection, sorting, etc.). With this information, the application calculates the process time “on the fly” and compares the current value with the expected (“normal”) value. 

Models_4.pngSmart_Mfg_EDAappsandbenefits_ep3.3.png

This is not as simple as it first may seem, because the expected value will likely depend on the product type, process type, material status, layer, recipe, and several other factors. Taken together, the set of factors that determines “equivalence” of different lots for some processing purpose is called “context.” For this application, the context parameters ensure that you are comparing apples and apples when looking for variations in process time.

EDA (Equipment Data Acquisition) Standards Leverage

By “EDA,” we include not only the standards in the Freeze II / 0710 suite, but also SEMI E164 (EDA Common Metadata), E157 (Module Process Tracking), and by reference, the entire GEM 300 suite. This ensures not only the granularity and breadth of event support necessary to precisely track wafer movement and step-level recipe execution, but also specifies the naming conventions of those events and their associated parameters, regardless of equipment type or vendor.

If the equipment automation purchase specifications include clauses that state “we require that all state machines, states, state transition events, and attributes of the objects defined in the referenced 300mm SEMI standards be implemented and named exactly as specified in the standards,” then all the information you should need to write a truly generic throughput monitoring application will be available on demand.

A robust real-time throughput monitoring algorithm can be implemented with information solely from the following SEMI standards: E90 (Substrate Tracking), E157 (Module Process Tracking), E40 / E94 (Processing / Control Job Management), and E87 (Carrier Management). The Harel state diagrams, events of interest, and EDA metadata model representation* for a couple of these (E90 and E157) are shown in the figures below.

Models_1.png

Models_3.png

Note that as little or as much of the parameter information required to be available for each event (the rightmost picture in each figure) can be collected via the EDA construct of a “Data Collection Plan” (DCP) with one or more “Event Requests.” For more information about these capabilities, consult the SEMI E134 (Data Collection Management) specifications directly, or review some of the extensive educational material available on our web site.

The other point of leverage for the EDA standards is the multi-client capability. This contributes to the productivity and responsiveness of your automation software team members by allowing them to collect and process the data for this application independently from any other application. Specifically, the throughput monitoring functions can be implemented separately from whatever systems host the GEM command and control capabilities, which are usually managed very carefully because of their potentially negative impact on fab operations.

Key ROI Factors

apc2017_5.pngAs we said in the initial post of this series, this application is not just something you could build and deploy with EDA-enabled equipment… in fact, this has already been done, and is delivering real production manufacturing benefit! Specifically, the ROI factors impacted (and benefit delivered) by this application include productivity excursion mean-time-to-detect (MTTD, 50% reduction), selected equipment throughput improvement (3-5%), and overall cycle time reduction (difficult to quantify precisely because of the staged implementation process). 

Of course, these results will vary depending on the manufacturer’s fab loading, operations strategy, and overall automation capabilities, but are representative for leading edge production wafer fabs running at near capacity. However, since these are very common ROI factors, most companies can easily quantify these improvements in real financial terms.

In Closing...

As always, your feedback is welcome, and we look forward to sharing the Smart Manufacturing journey with you.

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*The visualizations of equipment metadata model fragments are those produced by the Cimetrix ECCE Plus product (Equipment Client Connection Emulator).

Let us know if you would like to schedule a meeting to learn more:

Schedule a Meeting

Topics: EDA/Interface A, Smart Manufacturing, EDA in Smart Manufacturing Series

That's a wrap - SEMICON China 2018

Posted by Cimetrix on Mar 22, 2018 10:30:00 AM

semichina1.jpgSEMICON China was held from March 14-16, 2018 in Shanghai at the Shanghai New International Expo Centre. Simultaneously co-located at this huge complex were Productronica China and Laser World of Photonics China. All three shows were very busy this year, and it is clear the electronics manufacturing industry in China is booming.

Cimetrix attendees included Dave Faulkner (VP Sales and Marketing), Ranjan Chatterjee (VP Smart Factory Business Unit), Michael Lee (Country Manager Taiwan), Yufeng Huang (Senior Software Engineer), Alan Weber (VP New Product Innovations), and Kimberly Daich (Marketing Manager); Hwal Song (Country Manager Korea) was also able to attend for one day. The Cimetrix booth was busy throughout the show, and provided a comfortable and convenient setting for the many scheduled and walk-in meetings that took place.

Cimetrix partners Facet and Flagship also attended the show, and participated in several customer/prospect discussions. In conjunction with our partner Facet, Cimetrix software products are now used in more than 25 production factories within the China market segment. Moreover, the relationships we have established throughout the semiconductor and electronics markets are strengthening our global presence and enable Cimetrix to provide local support to current and potential clients. The most recent example is our Shanghai office, opened in 2017.

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In addition to the exhibitions, SEMICON China sponsored many forums for expert speakers throughout the show. One of these included the New Technology Release Forum where our own Alan Weber was selected as a speaker. His topic “Integrated Equipment Data Collection and Management for Smart Manufacturing” was well received by those in attendance. Smart Manufacturing has been a topic of keen interest at all SEMICONs over the past 18 months, and China was no exception; a separate forum dedicated to Smart Manufacturing drew a standing-room-only crowd to hear a broad range of speakers across the technology spectrum.

We are currently expanding our Shanghai office in response to the exciting growth opportunities we see for our industry in China, and look forward to many years of collaborative work in this region.

Topics: Events, SEMICON, Smart Manufacturing

Meet the Client Training & Success Team: Joe Cravotta

Posted by Cimetrix on Mar 15, 2018 10:36:00 AM

Cimetrix-Joe_Cravotta.jpgMeet Joe Cravotta, a member of the Client Training and Support Team. He's been with Cimetrix for two years and has been a significant contributor in his position. Read on to learn a little bit more about Joe.

How long have you been working at Cimetrix?

I've been working at Cimetrix for two years. 

Where did you go to school and what did you get your degree in?

I went to the University of Utah and obtained a degree in computer science.

What brought you to Cimetrix originally?

I had just graduated and looking for a job I would enjoy that also fit my schedule.

What do you like most about your job?

I like that I am Constantly learning. Every day I am introduced to new equipment, processes, programming methodologies, and products.

What do you think it means to provide great customer support?

Many would probably jump to an answer such as “to provide the correct answer/solution in a short amount of time.” However, some issues may take days or weeks to resolve.

For all cases, I think great customer support requires keeping the customer up to date. This is easy to satisfy when the answer/solution can be provided in a short time. However, the difficult issues that take days, weeks, or maybe months is where communication is most important. Providing updates allows the customer to know the issue has not been set aside, and provides insight into the progress that has been made to resolving the issue.

What’s the biggest accomplishment you’ve had at Cimetrix?

I recently received the  Cimetrix Super Charged award, which is fairly significant. However, I would say my biggest sense of accomplishment came from helping a customer resolve an unreproducible issue that only occurred on one equipment.

How do you deal with challenges that come up at work?

I try to break a problem/challenge into smaller pieces. It is also important to communicate. Most challenges will take significantly longer to resolve, if at all, without the ability to provide and ask for information.

What’s your favorite vacation spot?

I prefer vacations where I stay close to home. Vacations where I travel are nice, but I think I expreience an all new stress when traveling for vacations. I'm always worried about schedules and having something to do. However, I find vacations where I stay home without a bunch of plans relaxing.

What's something you’ve learned while working at Cimetrix?

Simply stated, a lot. I’ve learned several details about equipment and how they are controlled. I’ve also learned about different software and programming technologies. Oh, and international flights are very long…

What do you like to do in your free time?

I have few different hobbies. If it is summer, I’ll be running, messing around with R/C cars, and hiking. I’m not a big fan of the cold, so in the winter I spend more time indoors. This allows me to design and print 3D objects, and mess around with different software/computer projects.

Topics: Customer Support, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Cimetrix Company Culture

Equipment Control Logging Benefits

Posted by Derek Lindsey: Product Manager on Mar 8, 2018 11:02:00 AM

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Equipment control applications are highly complex and have many moving parts that require a high level of coordination. Because of the high degree of difficulty, problems are bound to crop up. Sometimes the problems are related to a hardware issue. Sometimes the problems are caused by operator error. Sometimes problems are timing related. Sometimes problems happen infrequently. Regardless of the frequency or the cause of the errors, how do you go about debugging issues that happen in the field if you are unable to attach a debugger to the application?
 
The answer is logging.

As part of the CIMControlFramework (CCF) product for creating equipment control applications, Cimetrix developed a logging package. Our logging package has two parts – collecting the log messages and analysis of the messages.

The logging package allows you to assign a source and a type for each log message. The source specifies where the log message originated. The type is a category that can be used to route the log 

messages to specific output locations called log sinks. We have found the most useful log sink to be a text-based log file. The logging package can be configured for the types of messages to log. It can also be configured for how long to keep log files and how many to keep. This helps keep hard drives from getting too full.

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The temptation for many users is to enable all log messages while developing the equipment control application and then turn all the logging off when the equipment ships to the factory. Cimetrix recommends leaving as much logging enabled as possible. This will help you avoid trips to the fab when a problem arises that can be solved via the logging package. Some clients worry about resource usage by the logging package. We have found that the impact of the logging package is light enough that it is advantageous to leave it on all the time.

The Cimetrix logging package was such a success in CCF, that we have started using the logging package in all Cimetrix products. The logging package has earned rave reviews from Cimetrix product users. Here are a few quick examples that show how valuable logging is:

1. An OEM customer called in a panic because because an end user was withholding payment due to a timing/throughput issue in the application. Together Cimetrix and the OEM reviewed the log file. Using some of the LogViewer analysis tools we were able to isolate and identify the problem within 30 minutes. The OEM was able to confidently tell the end user that they had found the problem and a fix would be available within the next software release. Because the OEM was able to support them so quickly remotely, the end user had confidence in the OEM and released the payment.

2. At Cimetrix, we often hear, “This only happened once, but…” With logging always enabled, it is possible to diagnose problems after the fact. This is especially important for problems which occur infrequently. Users of the Cimetrix logging package are able to resolve issues that happen only rarely.

3. Occasionally an equipment control application will deadlock – two different modules are waiting on each other and neither is free to proceed. Using the LogViewer’s Callstacks plug-in, in conjunction with the Timing Chart plug-in, make the process of diagnosing the deadlock much easier.

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4. An end user called up their OEM equipment provider because the software stopped unexpectedly. They wanted to OEM to put someone on a plane immediately to come diagnose the problem. The OEM was able to view the log file to see that an operator had stopped the tool without the supervisor realizing it. When asked, the operator confirmed he had stopped the tool. Crisis averted. No plane ride required by the OEM to satisfy their customer!

5. A client came to Cimetrix for a training class. This client brought in a contractor to attend the class as well. Part of the Cimetrix training was used to review the logging package. During a break in the training, the contractor approached the instructor and asked if he could purchase the logging package separately for use in his other contracts because he could see several applications that would benefit from the power of the logging package.

6. Cimetrix is continuing to add useful plug-ins to the LogViewer. We recently added an E84 (automated material handling system) plug-in to assist in implementing and debugging material transfer. LogViewer allows users to implement their own custom plug-ins for analyzing data important to them.

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These are just some of the success stories we have heard about in relation to the logging package. With equipment control applications and factory automation, there will always be issues to be addressed and opportunities to root cause unexpected behavior. Having a powerful logging package makes that process much easier.

 

Topics: Equipment Control-Software Products, Customer Support, Cimetrix Products

SECS/GEM series: Documentation

Posted by Joe Cravotta, Client Support Engineer on Mar 6, 2018 11:27:00 AM

Case_studies.jpgAs the first article in this Features and Benefits of SECS/GEM series points out, the SECS/GEM standards define a standardized interface that may be used on any equipment. A GEM interface exposes an equipment's capabilities through status variables, data variables, collection events, alarms, data formats, error codes, SECS-II messages, and other optional GEM capabilities. The GEM standard requires each equipment to come with documentation; ensuring a factory has the information it needs to use an equipment’s GEM interface. This documentation is commonly referred to as the GEM manual.

The GEM manual may be distributed in many ways. Currently, most GEM manuals are provided digitally in a Word, Excel, or PDF  document. The vast amount of information in a GEM manual is used to make purchasing decisions, develop host software, and test equipment. For a full GEM interface, the GEM manual must include the following topics: State Models, Scenarios, Data Collection, Alarm management, Remote Control, Equipment Constants, Process Recipe Management, Material Movement, Terminal Services, Error Messages, Clock, Spooling, Control, Supported SECS-II messages, GEM Compliance statement, and Data Item Formats. To keep this post a reasonable length, we will only cover a few of the required topics.

GEM Compliance Statement

The compliance statement is one of the first topics to be reviewed. It is a quick and easy way to understand the features of an equipment’s interface. The manufacturer is required to mark which GEM capabilities are implemented on the equipment, and if they are implemented in a way that is compliant with the GEM standard.

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State Models

State Models is a fundamental GEM capability, and is therefore implemented on every equipment. This capability defines the Communication, Control, and spooling behavior of the equipment. A processing state model must be provided. However, it is not possible to define a processing state machine that can be used on every equipment. The processing behaviors that should be the same for all equipment are specified by the standard. Each state model must be documented with a state model diagram, a transition table, and a text description of every state. The consistent and detailed information about each state model enables a factory to start writing a host application as soon as they have the GEM manual.

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Alarms, Collection Events, Equipment Constants, Data Variables, and Status Variables 

Alarms, Collection Events, and Variables are large components in gathering data from an equipment. It should not be a surprise that these are required to be in the GEM manual. Each alarm on the equipment should have its ID, name, description, and associated Set/Clear events in the GEM manual. The documentation for each collection event should include the ID, name, description, and a list of associated variables. The documentation for all variables will include an ID, name, description, and the data type. Information about a variables default value or value range should also be provided when appropriate. Although not required, it is common to display all this information in five tables that are easy to find. There would be a single table for each of the following: alarms, collection events, equipment constants, data variables, and status variables. See the examples below.

Alarms

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Collection Events

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Status Variables

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Remote Control

Once a factory can gather data from an equipment they start looking at how to control the equipment. Remote Control is the GEM capability that allows a host application to request an equipment to perform an action. Each remote command should be in the manual with its name, description, and details about each command parameter that may be sent with the command. The details of a command parameter should include the name, the format, and a description. An example is shown below.

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SMN and SEDD

GEM manuals rarely come in a format that is easy to parse in software. This often results in duplicating code and making small changes in order to communicate with other equipment. SEMI E172 SECS Equipment Data Dictionary (SEDD) and E173 SECS Message Notation (SMN) are two standards that can drastically increase the flexibility and reusability of a host application. SEDD is an xml file that is easily distributed and parsed in software. SEDD can be considered a modernized GEM manual because it contains much of the same information that is found in a GEM manual. For example, a SEDD file contains details about every variable, collection event, alarm, and supported SECS-II message. A SEDD file uses SMN to represent the data items, variables, and SECS-II messages. SMN is also XML and is the first standard to define a notation for representing data items and SECS-II messages. This means a single application can read a SEDD file, have a short configuration process, and then immediately start using the GEM interface of an equipment. These features allow a single application to be used with multiple equipment instead of creating slightly different variants for each equipment.

Wrap up

The GEM manual is a crucial piece of documentation that is required by the GEM standard to be provided with every equipment. The GEM Manual should be the first place to look for an answer when there is a question about an equipment’s GEM interface. SEMI continues to improve the content and flexibility of a GEM manual by updating existing standards and creating new standards.

Click here to read the other articles in our SECS/GEM Features and Benefits series. 

To download a white paper on an introduction to SECS/GEM, Click below:

SECS/GEM White Paper

Topics: SECS/GEM, Smart Manufacturing, SECS/GEM Series

Cimetrix International, Inc., China; 矽美科国际有限公司,中国

Posted by Yufeng Huang; Software Engineer China on Feb 28, 2018 11:40:00 AM

Yufeng Huang of Cimetrix talks about our China Office Opening. Read now in Chinese or English.

美国矽美科股份有限公司上海代表处成立于2017年8月,地址位于称为中国硅谷的上海张江高科技园区。公司总部(矽美科股份有限公司)创建于1987年,地址位于美国犹他州盐湖城。矽美科公司是一家为半导体行业、SMT行业、PCB行业、光伏行业、LED行业及相关行业的设备制造商和生产工厂提供产品和服务的软件公司。

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矽美科公司有着非常良好的客户评价,公司不仅将自己视为客户的重要供应商,更加将自己视为客户值得信赖的合作伙伴。我们坚信有能力为客户提供全球最先进的基于SEMI标准的软件解决方案。

矽美科上海代表处为中国、台湾等亚太地区客户提供售前产品咨询,客户培训,售后技术支持服务。我很荣幸在今年8月份加入到矽美科上海代表处,在过去的几个月内我们不断收到老客户给予的好评和新客户的合作意向。感谢新老客户对公司的支持,我们将一如既往的为客户提供最优质的、高效的服务,希望我们的产品和服务能让您满足,并为您带来巨大的帮助。

美国矽美科股份有限公司上海代表处
地址:上海市浦东新区盛夏路399弄1号(A座)3楼328室3069单元 (邮政编码201210)
技术联系:黄玉峰
电话:+86-21-8022-0935

销售联系:Michael Lee
电话:+886-926395649


American Cimetrix Incorporated Shanghai Representative Office was established in August 2017. It is located in ZhangJiang High-Tech Park, which is also known as China’s Silicon Valley. The headquarters of Cimetrix, Inc, founded in 1987, is located in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Cimetrix is a software company that provides software products and services to OEMs and Fabs in the semiconductor, SMT, PCB, photovoltaic, LED and related industries.

Enjoying excellent customer reputation, Cimetrix considers itself more as customer’s trusted partner than customer’s supplier. We firmly believe that we have the ability to provide customers with the world's most advanced SEMI-based software solutions.

Cimetrix Shanghai Representative Office provides pre-sales consulting, customer training, after-sales technical support services to mainland China, Taiwan and other Asia areas. I am greatly honored to join Cimetrix Shanghai Representative Office in August 2017. In the past few months, we have continuously received favorable comments from existing customers and cooperation intentions from potential customers. Thanks for their trust and support of the company, we will, as always, provide our clients with the best and most efficient services. We believe that our products and services will meet customer satisfaction and greatly enhance your product quality.

American Cimetrix Incorporated Shanghai Representative Office
Address: Unit 3069, Room 328, Floor 3, No. 1 (Block A), Lane 399, Shengxia Road, Pudong New Area, Shanghai (Post Code: 201210)

Technical Contact: Yufeng Huang
Telephone: +86-21-8022-0935

Sales Contact: Michael Lee
Telephone: +886-926395649

 

Topics: Announcements, Global Services, Smart Manufacturing

SECS/GEM series: Recipe Management

Posted by Bill Grey: Distinguished Software Engineer on Feb 20, 2018 10:54:00 AM

recipe management SECS/GEMFollowing several SECS/GEM series blog posts, including Collection Events, Data Polling and Alarms, we now get into the features and merit of the GEM feature called Recipe Management. We will cover the definition of recipes, what recipe management means and why you need this feature!

What are recipes?

Recipes are sets of instructions describing how the equipment should process its material.  The Recipe content is defined by the equipment supplier.

What is recipe management?

Recipe management allows the factory host to transfer recipes to and from the equipment.   It also requires the equipment to notify the factory host when recipes are changed on the equipment.

Why do you need this feature?

Almost all semiconductor factories require this feature to ensure recipe integrity and to support traceability.   The host will upload approved recipes from the equipment and save them for later use to ensure that the recipe does not change.   For traceability, the recipe is usually saved with the process data.

How does recipe management work?

Recipes are passed between the host and equipment via SECS messages.   There are several sets of SECS messages to enable this.  E30 GEM specifies formatted, unformatted, and large recipe message sets.  The large recipe message set will not be discussed here. 

The equipment is also required to notify the host whenever recipes are changed by an operator at the equipment.  A PPChange collection event is generated with two data variables PPChangeName containing the PPID of the recipe that changed and PPChangeStatus containing the type of change (created, deleted, edited).

Once a recipe has been transferred to the equipment, the equipment should verify the content.  If the recipe is invalid, then a PPVerificationFailed collection event should be generated with a  PPError data variable containing the validation failure information to notify the host of the problem.  The recipe should not be used if it fails verification.

Identification

Each recipe is identified by an ASCII name called a process program ID or PPID.  The factory host and the equipment GEM interface use the name in recipe operations.

Persistence

Recipes are persisted in a GEM interface. If the host disconnects and reconnects, or if the equipment is restarted, the GEM interface will remember the recipes.   In addition, most factory hosts will save recipes on the factory side.

Which messages are used?

Here is a summary of each of the primary messages related to collection events. Note that the “S” identifies the “stream” and “F” identifies the “function”. Together, a stream and function number uniquely identify a message.

All Recipes

Message ID

Direction

Description

S7F17

Host -> Equipment

Delete a recipe from the equipment.  

An empty list will delete all recipes from the equipment.

S7F19

Host->Equipment

Request a list of available recipes from the equipment

 

Unformatted Recipes

Message ID

Direction

Description

S7F1

Host<-Equipment

Equipment requests to upload a recipe

S7F3

Host<-Equipment

Equipment uploads a recipe to the host

S7F5

Host<-Equipment

Equipment requests a recipe from the host

S7F1

Host->Equipment

Host requests to download a recipe

S7F3

Host->Equipment

Host downloads a recipe to the equipment

S7F5

Host->Equipment

Host requests a recipe from the equipment

 

Formatted Recipes

Message ID

Direction

Description

S7F1

Host<-Equipment

Equipment requests to upload a recipe

S7F23

Host<-Equipment

Equipment uploads a recipe to the host

S7F25

Host<-Equipment

Equipment requests a recipe from the host

S7F1

Host->Equipment

Host requests to download a recipe

S7F23

Host->Equipment

Host downloads a recipe to the equipment

S7F25

Host->Equipment

Host requests a recipe from the equipment

S7F29

Host<-Equipment

Equipment requests to verify a recipe

S7F27

Host<-Equipment

Equipment sends recipe verification results


Frequently Asked Questions about Recipe Management

How large a recipe can be transferred?

For unformatted recipe messages, the recipe is either a single ASCII string or a binary array value.  A single array value is limited to 16.777215 MB.

Formatted recipe messages, the recipe is split up into a list of items. A single array value is limited to 16.777215 MB.  Total message size is limited to 4.294967295 GB.

Click here to read the other articles in our SECS/GEM Features and Benefits series. 

To download a white paper on an introduction to SECS/GEM, Click below:

SECS/GEM White Paper

Topics: SECS/GEM, SECS/GEM Series

SECS/GEM Series: Alarms

Posted by David Francis: Director of Product Management on Feb 14, 2018 10:30:00 AM

Previous posts have talked about functionality that allows data to be collected through the GEM interface so the factory applications described in the most recent post can analyze this data. With this posting, we return to a discussion of specific features and capabilities of the SEMI E30 GEM (Generic Equipment Model) standard, specifically the management of error conditions on the equipment.

In a perfect world everything goes according to plan, but in reality, things always go wrong. The secret to success is being able to know when something goes wrong, and then responding appropriately.

Minion_alarm.pngJust like a home alarm system, semiconductor fabs want to know when something bad has happened. They want to prevent the material being processed from being scrapped. Alarm management enables the equipment to notify the host when something goes wrong, and provide information about what has gone wrong. The GEM standard defines Alarm Management as the capability to provide host notification and management of alarm conditions occurring on the equipment. 

In GEM, an alarm is any abnormal situation on the equipment that may endanger people, equipment, or material being processed. For example, if a technician opens an access panel to replace a component, the equipment should send an alarm notifying the host that it is not safe to operate the equipment in its current condition. Another example might be if an equipment requires a high temperature for processing but a sensor detects a low temperature condition, it should trigger an alarm, since running the process under those conditions could damage the material being processed. It is also the responsibility of the equipment manufacturer to inhibit unsafe activities on the equipment when an alarm condition is present. The equipment manufacturer knows best what specific alarms are required on the equipment to ensure safety for people, equipment and material.

Often it is useful to have more information about the conditions in the equipment at the time an alarmflashing-red-light-1.png condition occurs. Communicating that additional information to the host is valuable, but cannot be done through the normal Alarm Report Send/Acknowledge messages. To provide a way to get this additional information, GEM requires that two collection events be defined for each possible alarm condition on the equipment – one event for when the alarm is set, and another for when the alarm is cleared. These collection events allow the GEM event data collection mechanisms to be used to send the additional related information to the host when an alarm changes state.

In addition to providing the time of an alarm state change, Alarm Management on the equipment must allow the Host to request a list of all alarm IDs and associated alarm text. The host must also be able to enable/disable individual alarms on the equipment, and query the equipment for the list of alarms that are currently enabled for reporting.

The state diagram for an Alarm is not very exciting, but it fills a vital need. The picture below illustrates the Alarm State diagram:

on-off-switch.jpg

GEM alarms only have 2 states: each alarm is either SET or CLEAR. It’s simple but effective.

Alarm Management isn’t rocket science, but through effective use of Alarm Management, fabs can carefully monitor the health of their process equipment and minimize negative impacts to their production yield. 

Click here to read the other articles in our SECS/GEM Features and Benefits series. 

To download a white paper on an introduction to SECS/GEM, Click below:

SECS/GEM White Paper

Topics: SEMI Standards, SECS/GEM, Smart Manufacturing, SECS/GEM Series