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CIMControlFramework Dynamic Model Creation

Posted by Derek Lindsey: Product Manager on Apr 14, 2016 1:00:00 PM

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Have you ever watched one of those cooking shows where the chef spends a lot of time whipping up the ingredients to some elaborate dish, and, when it comes time to put the dish in the oven to bake, there is already a finished one in there? If only the real world worked that way. Sometimes it would be nice to be able to go to the oven and have a delicious meal already waiting for you.

The Cimetrix CIMControlFramework™ (CCF) product is unique among Cimetrix products in that it not only provides source code, but also combines several other Cimetrix products (CIMConnect, CIM300, and CIMPortal™ Plus) and takes full advantage of all the features provided by each product.

One of the features of CIMPortal Plus that is used in CCF is the concept of an equipment model. The equipment model describes the data that your equipment provides through Interface A. The tool hierarchy is modeled along with all of the parameters, events, and exceptions published by the tool. It used to be that CCF users had to manually create the tool hierarchy in their base equipment model. CCF would then populate the model with the parameters, events, and exceptions. If the tool hierarchy changed, the base model would have to be modified. It made changing the tool configuration much more difficult.

Starting with the CCF 4.0 release, a base equipment model that is common to all equipment was installed. Generally, CCF users will not need to modify the base model. CCF takes advantage of the modeling API provided by CIMPortal Plus to dynamically add hierarchy nodes to the base model depending on the components that are created in CCF. This new feature makes it easy to change the configuration of the CCF tool because the user does not have to make modifications to the base model and redeploy the package to be able to run CCF.

The dynamically created model is also compliant with the SEMI E164 Common Metadata standard. This compliance is possible because of the dynamic nature of model creation. The required elements of E164 are added to the equipment model dynamically during the startup of Tool Supervisor.

Having a dynamically created Interface A model that exactly matches your equipment structure and is guaranteed to be E164-compliant without having to do any extra work is similar to going to the oven and finding a delicious dish already cooked and waiting for you.

Topics: EDA, CIMControlFramework, Product Information, Software

Choice is Good!

Posted by David Francis: Director of Product Management on Mar 30, 2016 1:00:00 PM

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The snow on the north side of my house finally melted the other day. That is a sure indication that spring is coming. I don’t have anything against winter, but I do love spring — except that it means a lot of yard work. One of the first tasks is to get some fertilizer down so the grass will be green and healthy during the summer months. So I went to the store to get some fertilizer and couldn’t believe all the choices. There are fertilizers for pre-emergent control, organic fertilizers, granular, liquids, and the list goes on. The nice thing about this is that you can choose the right fertilizer for your needs.

Advances in semiconductor manufacturing are now driving equipment OEMs to look at new ways to meet growing manufacturing requirements. Not all OEMs will have the same processing requirements. Some may have large data sets or image files they need to deal with. Others may not. For some, speed of execution may be very important, while it may not be for others.

Starting today Cimetrix makes available the new release of CIM300. For CIM300 customers that develop on 64-bit operating systems, you now have a choice to develop 32-bit applications or 64-bit applications. This allows greater flexibility in speed and memory use options when using CIM300. Choose your target when you compile your application, no coding changes are needed.

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The new release of CIM300 also has fixes and enhancements requested by customers as well as updated support for the latest SEMI GEM300 standards. With this release, customers will continue to enjoy the reliability of CIM300 with new benefits. Under the hood, we have increased our GEM compliance testing to ensure that interfaces developed with CIM300 will pass factory acceptance testing.

One new feature in this version of CIM300 is a new utility that allows logging to be configured at runtime. The CIM300 Settings utility works with the CIMConnect logging package. CIMConnect logging can also be configured through this utility.

So CIM300 customers, exercise your option to enjoy added flexibility and new features combined with the same reliability you expect from Cimetrix products.

Topics: CIM300, Product Information

CIMControlFramework Work Breakdown

Posted by Derek Lindsey: Product Manager on Mar 15, 2016 1:00:00 PM

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“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

“Watch out for that first step Mac, it’s a lulu!” – Bugs Bunny

These quotes by the great philosophers Lau Tzu and Bugs Bunny have more in common than would appear at first glance. At the beginning of a journey you have the element of the unknown. There is excitement that it could be a great journey, but there is also an element of the unknown that may make that first step the hardest to take. If you haven’t put in the preparation for a successful journey, that first step might be a lulu.

Similarly, when starting a new equipment control application, there is excitement for the great end product, but also some element of not knowing the best place to start. CIMControlFrameowrk (CCF) offers a great training program to get you started and many building blocks for helping create a first-class equipment control application. Even with these great starting tools, many users still have the question, “Where do I go from here?”

The first step is to create a work breakdown of what it takes to create a successful equipment control application. There will obviously be tasks that are unique to each equipment control application, but most applications have some common tasks or epic user stories that have to be completed during the project. The order in which these stories are completed may depend on milestones and expectations for when they are accomplished, but they generally all need to be completed during the project.

  • Integrate Devices – CCF provides an Equipment layer with abstractions of most commonly used devices. Integrating these devices into CCF only requires the implementation of the abstract interface.

  • Material Movement Through the Tool – CCF provides a flexible scheduler with complete working examples of different types of scheduling that could be done.

  • Implement the Process Module – CCF provides a process module interface that allows the rest of CCF to communicate with your process module – your secret sauce.

  • Create an Operator Interface (OI) – CCF provides an OI framework that allows commands to be sent and updates to be made. It also provides some default screens that use this interface. It also allows for insertion and use of custom OI screens.

  • Simulation – CCF provides a simulator that can be used in place of real hardware. The simulator can be used to deliver/remove material, perform robot moves, and do simulated IO. This is invaluable in continuing development before the hardware is ready or if there is limited tool time for the developers.

  • Recipes (Process Recipes and Execution) – CCF provides a recipe manager for passing recipes through the tool. The default recipe can be used or custom recipes can be added.

  • I/O – CCF provides ASCII serial drivers and other common IO providers. Custom IO providers can also be included in CCF.

  • Data Collection and Storage – Knowing what data to store and what medium to use for storage is recommended up front.

  • Factory Automation – CCF provides a fully integrated GEM, GEM300, and EDA implementation.

  • Diagnostics and Testing – The CCF logging package is a fantastic tool for debugging your application both on the tool and remotely.

  • Errors and Recovery – CCF provides an Alarms package for signaling of and recovery from error conditions.

By going through CCF training and creating a work breakdown of the tasks that need to be done for your equipment control application, you can ensure that your first step will be the foundation of a successful journey.

Topics: CIMControlFramework, Product Information, Software

When Should I Upgrade My Cimetrix Product?

Posted by David Francis: Director of Product Management on Feb 11, 2016 3:39:46 PM

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We live in a world where cell phone upgrades have become a way of life. Some people upgrade every time a new phone is available so that they can have the latest, greatest features and gadgets. Others prefer to keep their old phone since they are familiar with how it works and are satisfied with the phone’s functionality. While others still may upgrade because they have encountered a problem with their current phone that either can’t be fixed or has been addressed in the new model.

There are similar reasons to upgrade to a new version of a Cimetrix product. Here are a few sample questions that will help an OEM determine when is the best time to do so:

  1. Is there an issue my customers are currently facing that has been addressed in the new version of the product?

Cimetrix works to fix customer-reported issues as well as issues found during internal testing. It is not possible to make these fixes in all previously released versions of the product, so they are made as a fix in the latest released version of the product. Upgrading to the latest version benefits the OEMs by providing fixes to issues they may have reported or, more often, to issues they haven’t seen but have been reported by other OEMs.

  1. Are there added features or capabilities in the new version of the product that will improve my ability to support my customers and/or allow me to provide new functionality to my customers?

Cimetrix strives to support our customers by providing high-quality software products. As new technologies emerge and as scenarios in which our products are used evolve, we discover new ways to provide additional benefits to our OEM customers. These new capabilities are made available in new releases of our products. These improvements can include things like enhanced logging and diagnostic capabilities, new utilities for managing configuration files, or new screens for making setup easier.

  1. Am I planning a new release of my equipment control software?

Like Cimetrix, OEMs are continually looking for ways to improve their equipment and provide new features and functionality to their customers. This means that they will periodically release new versions of their equipment that may contain new hardware and/or software functionality. This is an ideal time for OEMs to also upgrade their Cimetrix software so that their new platform can take advantage of the latest fixes and enhancements that are available.

This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list of questions to be asked/answered when determining the right time to upgrade to a new version of a Cimetrix product, but it does give you an indication of the type of things that should factor into your decision-making process. Each new software release has a set of Release Notes that describe the software fixes and new features that have been added in that release. These Release Notes are there to help you make the best determination as to when to upgrade, so be sure to read them carefully. And, as always, the Cimetrix Support team is available to answer any questions and provide additional information if you should need it.

Topics: Doing Business with Cimetrix, Product Information

Interface A New Freeze Version - are you prepared?

Posted by Cimetrix on Jun 8, 2010 4:00:00 AM

by Brian Rubow,
Product Manager

Be Prepared for the EDA Freeze VersionI have been a Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America for about 5 years now. Our troop goes camping several times a year. Utah offers a lot of beautiful and interesting camping areas. The variety is remarkable. In our troop we spent a lot of time teaching and preparing the boys to not only have fun, but also be safe and wise in their fun. Some planning ahead, training and common sense can make a huge difference. Nearly every week, I have our Senior Patrol Leader help all of the scouts in our troop recite a number of memorized phrases including the Scout Oath, Law, Slogan, Motto and sometimes even the Outdoor Code. The Scout Motto is the famous one known to almost everyone in the world; "Be Prepared". Reciting it every week helps our minds to remember to focus on being prepared for whatever may come. We prepare the boys to handle emergency situations such as medical and weather related emergencies. "Be Prepared" applies not only to scouting activities like camping, canoeing and hiking, but also to school, our careers and everything we do.

At Cimetrix we also like to "Be Prepared". In particular, at the time we designed our EDA (Interface A) products, CIMPortal and EDAConnect we recognized a need to support multiple versions of the standard. Since 2006, there has been only one allowed version of the EDA standards. This is the ISMI Freeze Version which specifies the 1105 version of the SEMI® standards. At Cimetrix we knew that at some point in the future the 1105 ISMI Freeze Version would not be the only version implemented. As co-chair of the DDA Task Force responsible for the development of the SEMI EDA standards, I can personally attest that the standards have continued to change, mature and improve. At Cimetrix, we predicted from the start that at some point in the future, factories would want these new features in the standards and that ISMI would announce another EDA Freeze Version.

Due to the nature of the underlying SOAP/XML technology, the client and equipment are required to use the same version of the SEMI standards. With one and only one ISMI Freeze Version, this is easy. Everyone's implementation works with everyone else's implementation. With more than one ISMI Freeze Version, it is more complicated. Each equipment supplier has to support each ISMI Freeze Version to communicate with the different client software at different factories or even in the same factory. Each factory has to support each ISMI Freeze Version to communicate with the different equipment implementing different versions.

ISMI is poised to announce another EDA Freeze Version soon. Certainly the factories using the EDA standards will expect equipment suppliers to adopt the new version as soon as possible. And certainly factory data collection applications will want to adopt the new version and take advantage of the new features.

To "Be Prepared" for the future, Cimetrix originally designed both EDA products, CIMPortal and EDAConnect, for the future. Each product is designed with an abstraction layer to be able to support multiple EDA versions at the same time. This makes it possible for Cimetrix to adopt the new EDA versions without rearchitecting the products. In turn, this passes on tremendous value to our customers who also will not have to rearchitect their solutions. In fact, Cimetrix customer should be able to upgrade to new Freeze Versions with relative ease. It is nice to "Be Prepared".

Schedule a meeting at SEMICON® West 2010 to discuss your Interface A needs further!
Or visit us at Booth #2331, South Hall.

You might also be interested:

Topics: SEMI Standards, SEMI, Interface A, CIMPortal, ISMI, Product Information, EDAConnect

CIMControlFramework Logging Benefits

Posted by Cimetrix on Jun 2, 2010 5:00:00 AM

by David Warren,
Senior Software Engineer, CIMControlFramework Solution Architect

Part 2 - Read Part 1

Would it surprise you to find out there are still people who pan for gold? Some are serious prospectors working for a payoff. Others are recreational prospectors who enjoy the outdoor activity and the actual finding of gold is of secondary importance. Regardless of their motivation, most prospectors must sift a great deal of material in order to find a few flakes of gold. Having the right equipment helps the serious prospector to sift more material and find gold more quickly than someone just looking for a good time.

What does panning for gold have to do with Cimetrix? In a previous blog, we talked about the importance of having log data when problems occur. Log data can be like panning for gold—most of the log data has little to do with the problem you are currently trying to solve, but a few of the messages will be pure gold. Having the right tools to find the gold log messages quickly can make all the difference in the world in resolving problems in a timely manner.

Analyzing tens of megabytes of text data with a text editor and a pair of Mark I eyeballs is difficult at best. Yes, text editors do have the ability to search for words or phrases, but that only helps if you already know what you’re looking for. Jumping into the middle of a log file lets you look at the messages in that part of the file, but gives you no context into what has happened before or after the log messages you are looking at.

CIMControlFramework, our tool control solution, contains a Log Viewer application to help analyze CIMControlFramework log files. It has standard text analysis features such as text search and bookmarking, but because it understands CIMControlFramework log messages, it has more powerful features as well. It adds features like time deltas, finding matching messages for function entry and exits, and tracing a single thread’s log messages. But its most powerful feature is being extensible through plug-ins. These plug-ins have the ability to analyze all the log messages and graphically display information to give context to the current log messages.

timing charts screen shotOne such plug-in is the Timing Chart. The Timing Chart looks at all the function entry/exit log messages and creates a timing chart centered on the current log message. This allows you to look at all the functions that are currently being executed and how long each function took to complete. It also shows which functions just finished and which functions are about to start. It just wouldn’t be feasible to keep track of all that information manually. Another plug-in tracks wafers as they move through tool. A third plug-in keeps track of GEM300 job data. And you are not limited to our ideas for plug-ins, you can develop your own to display the log data however you want.

Having the CIMControlFramework Log Viewer and its plug-ins helps you to sift through the log data and find the gold log messages quickly and efficiently. Finding the right log messages will enable you to resolve problems in a timely manner.

You might also be interested in:

Topics: CIMControlFramework, Equipment Control-Software Products, Product Information, Logging

WCF and CIMControlFramework

Posted by Cimetrix on Feb 1, 2010 7:08:00 AM

by Derek Lindsey,
Principal Software Engineer

When creating new tools for use in the semiconductor industry, most original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) prefer to concentrate on their area of expertise – the processing of wafers. The bother for them is that they have to conform to material handling standards to get the wafers delivered to the correct process module before they can perform process on the wafers. They also have other overhead that takes time and resources away from what they do best. This overhead includes operator interfaces, recipe management, error handling and the list goes on.

With CIMControlFramework™ we set out to create a flexible equipment automation framework that handles much of the overhead associated with wafer processing. This allows OEMs to spend more time on perfecting their processing while still creating a first class application to drive the tool. The framework includes packages for performing recipe management, alarm management, user management, configuration management, message logging, scheduling, factory automation, user interface and material handling.

Data generated at any point on the tool from any of these packages can be quickly and easily accessed by any other module or external application. This is where Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) enters the picture. To paraphrase Reggie Jackson, WCF is the straw that stirs the drink. It allows access to all of the functionality provided in these packages. Cimetrix chose to use WCF for distributing the functionality contained in each of these packages. WCF is as easy as ABC. In order to use WCF services, we need three pieces of information: an Address, a Binding and a Contract (A, B, C).

Each of the packages listed above provides a service with functionality for clients to access. The functionality provided by the service is the contract. An address is where the service is located. A binding is how the client talks to the service (what protocol is used.) These three pieces of information are called an Endpoint. Once a client application knows the endpoint, it can access the vast array of functionality provided by the CIMControlFramework service packages.

Once an OEM taps into CIMControlFramework, they can focus their resources on process technology and product differentiation.

An excellent blog on WCF can be found here: http://blah.winsmarts.com/2008-4-What_is_WCF.aspx

You might also be interested in:

Topics: CIMControlFramework, Equipment Control-Software Products, Product Information, Equipment Automation Framework, Programming Tools, WCF

Logging - enabling passionate support

Posted by Cimetrix on Jan 19, 2010 9:06:00 AM

by David Warren,
Senior Software Engineer, CCF Solution Architect

Logging ScreenshotIn today’s world, having great software is not enough. To be successful, software must also be supportable. Keeping a record of what the software is doing and has done enables after-the-fact diagnosis and makes remote support much more efficient. As an additional benefit, this information can also be displayed live to the GUI, giving the operator additional insight into what is happening. Having a record makes it possible to determine if the software is working correctly or incorrectly. In Cimetrix’s new tool control software, CIMControlFramework™, this functionality is provided by the Logging package.

The CIMControlFramework Logging package provides an MxN information delivery system—the logging package receives information from multiple sources and delivers it to multiple destinations. These sources may be different software components or instances within the same process. They may even be in other processes on the same or different computers. Likewise, the destinations may also be distributed. Some destinations may store the information for a few seconds or minutes, like printing to a console or displaying on a GUI. Other destinations may store information for many days or indefinitely in a database or file.

Logging is a two-edged sword however. There is a balance between information and performance. Storing too much information can adversely affect performance. Storing too little information boosts performance, but limits the benefits of logging. Too often the mindset is to turn logging off most of the time, and only turn it on when trying to solve a problem. I think it is more effective to turn on as much logging as possible—and then leave it on all the time. It may be necessary to limit the information flow to CPU intensive destinations to maintain acceptable performance, but it is worth it. By leaving logging on all the time, it is possible to find those problems whose descriptions start with “This only happened once, but…”

Logging enables passionate support. Just as surveillance cameras can provide more information than an eyewitness, a log record can provide more information than a customer incident report. The additional information is usually crucial in finding root causes and resolving customer issues quickly. And that’s something we are all interested in.

You might also be interested in:

Topics: CIMControlFramework, Equipment Control-Software Products, Product Information, Logging

New Year, New Operating System

Posted by Cimetrix on Jan 6, 2010 10:25:00 AM

by Brent Forsgren,
EFA Practice Manager

It is the start of a new year, thank goodness! I wonder what is in store for my Global Services team this year. Last year was a tough year for the semiconductor market, but early indications and market experts are saying that 2010 should be much better than 2009.

On top of the market’s expected upward turn, Microsoft released Windows 7 in late 2009 to replace their not so popular Windows Vista. I expect that a significant portion of our customer’s equipment sales this year will be of existing technology and software. But for our customers that will be developing and selling new tools and software, will you jump to Windows 7 or will you wait for it to prove itself in the market place? Additionally, if you switch to Windows 7 will you also make the jump to a 64-bit architecture or will you stay with the aging 32-bit architecture?

We welcome your comments and feedback! I would love to hear your thoughts and plans.  Please comment below or email me at brent.forsgren@cimetrix.com.

Topics: Customer Service, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Product Information, Global Services, Windows 7, Microsoft

Got Licenses?

Posted by Cimetrix on Dec 15, 2009 1:32:00 PM

software licensesby Stephanie Sampson,
Project & Sales Coordinator

Need a license for a Cimetrix software product? Not sure how to go about getting one?  Well, let me share with you some quick and simple steps for requesting and receiving a license as efficiently as possible.

First, you will need a Purchase Order. Once you have that we would love to see it! Email or fax, can’t decide which way to send it? Either one of these will work:

Upon receipt of the Cimetrix software and Certificate of Authenticity (COA), it’s time to request your license file. The license file contains installation codes required to correctly install the software. You can send all of your license requests, transfers, or questions to licenses@cimetrix.com.

Please list your MAC ID and indicate one of the following to activate your license:

  • Purchase Order Number
  • Sales Order Number
  • Certificate of Authenticity Number

If a license transfer is what you are looking for instead, then please send your “Old” MAC ID along with your “New” MAC ID to complete the transfer.

If you are not sure where to find your MAC ID, then please use the following steps:

  1. Go to the “Start” menu on the computer you want to license
  2. Click “Run”
  3. Inside the Open box type “cmd” then press OK
  4. At this point a Command/DOS/Shell window should pop-up
  5. Type “ipconfig –all” Then press Enter
  6. You can either take a screen shot here or type in the information that corresponds to the
  7. Physical Address of the primary network card.

Now that we have all of your information your license file will be emailed to you within the one business day.

See, it’s almost as easy as 1..2..3! If you are still unsure about any of these steps, please feel free to contact us at licenses@cimetrix.com or call 801-256-6500.

You might also be interested in:

Topics: Customer Service, Licenses, Doing Business with Cimetrix, Product Information

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