Traditional Chinese websiteSimplified Chinese website

Industry News, Trends, and Technology, and Standards Updates

Follow Up: Wait Time Waste Project and SEMICON West

Posted by Cimetrix on Sep 21, 2012 1:57:00 PM

By Alan Weber
Director of Value-Added Products, Cimetrix Inc.

One of the subjects that was of great interest during our very successful SEMICON West 2012 experience was the Wait Time Waste project in which Cimetrix and ISMI/SEMATECH are collaborating. The interest in this project was widespread, and the reason is that, even though both OEMs and semiconductor fabs have focused on improving productivity for decades, they recognize they can still make significant progress with better and more actionable data.

What also intrigues the industry is how to overcome the challenges of gathering and employing the data. For example, there is no standard format for communication logs and equipment logs, and so both OEMs and fabs are discussing the possibility of s a common approach that will work for them. Moreover, the events that may be important to time waste analysis may not be consistently available from the equipment, and now both OEMs and fabs want to know how best to address this issue. Moreover, they want to understand how best to visualize the wafer processing time to determine where to focus their attention.

WTWRI resized 600

These issues, and many more, are discussed in the article I co-authored, “Wait Time Waste (WTW) Metrics, Methodology, and Support Tools”. This article first appeared in Future Fab International, Issue 42,  (c) 2012,, published by Mazik Media, Mill Valley, CA. It not only discusses the background on the subject and the challenges the industry faces, but also discusses future directions for continual enhancement of the time waste analysis.

If you are interested in reading the article, visit: WTW Article.  Contact me at if you have comments or questions at


SEMICON West follow up – ISMI Fingerprinting Project

Posted by Cimetrix on Aug 1, 2012 9:34:00 AM

By: Alan Weber
Director of Value Added Products

We had a great time at SEMICON West as ISMI/SEMATECH and Cimetrix talked about our joint fingerprinting project. There was a lot of interest in fingerprinting, which is also sometimes known as equipment health monitoring (EHM) or signature analysis. In a semiconductor manufacturing context, fingerprinting is defined as “a set of data variables associated with the component being fingerprinted, sampled at some rate over a time period, transformed and then analyzed using a set of mathematical techniques, to generate a result representing the state of the unit during that timeframe.”

Both equipment suppliers and semiconductor fabs are interested in fingerprinting since currently there is no automated process to predict imminent equipment problems. Predictive maintenance applications are still in the R&D phase, so today, fabs are using statistical process control (SPC) to monitor equipment to predict potential problems, or fault detection after the machine fails or exhibits sub-optimal performance. With fingerprinting, the fab’s equipment engineers can monitor the behavior of key equipment components to predict imminent problems and alert the fab to take the necessary steps to prevent equipment failure.

Equipment engineers and process engineers at the fabs can also use fingerprinting to characterize newly delivered tools and establish a baseline for key component behavior across a range of operating points. What’s more, they can verify fingerprints of key equipment components during or after a production run to ensure the component process capability is in normal operating range. They might also define a special set of fingerprints to help understand why a particular tool has had an increase in FDC violations.

Fingerprinting Dashboard resized 600Fingerprinting drill down dials resized 600

Fingerprinting drill down_charts


Fingerprinting drill down data resized 600

One of the points we explained to people about the project we are developing with ISMI is that the fingerprinting application is not dependent on any other Cimetrix software product. The application is standalone, and can be used on many different types of machines. Moreover, this application is for both new equipment in development as well as equipment currently deployed in the field.

If you would like to hear more about the fingerprinting project, or see a demo, contact Jackie Ferrell at ISMI, or go to Contact Cimetrix and tell us how we can connect.


Cimetrix and ISMI Collaboration - See Us at SEMICON West

Posted by Cimetrix on Jul 6, 2012 2:01:00 PM

This is an exciting time as we prepare for SEMICON West 2012 in San Francisco next week.  We have demonstrations of our products, and we are particularly excited to discuss two projects we are actively working on with ISMI. These projects, which are high priorities for ISMI’s member companies, are Fingerprinting, also known as Equipment Health Monitoring, and a Wait Time Waste Reference Implementation. Active ISMI companies on these project teams include Micron, Intel, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, IBM, and TSMC.


In Fingerprinting, the concept is to define and execute models for monitoring tool component behavior. Think of this as generating tool-specific EPIs (equipment performance indicators). Once that is done, we can compare the real-time results with both specifications and historical production values, and generate conclusions regarding the equipment. To support the process, companies can incorporate data from external sources, such a fab maintenance databases, or engineering databases.

Fingerprinting ISMI Project

Ultimately, OEMs will be able to ensure consistency of delivered equipment, reduce tool acceptance time and effort, and reduce their field service costs. Semiconductor fabs will be able to use this application to get detailed equipment component performance measurements, and monitor equipment health KPIs to get an early warning of any impending failures.

Wait Time Waste

ISMI’s Wait Time Waste project was initiated to develop metrics to measure time waste systematically, as well as defining the data collection and analysis methodology to apply these metrics. A potential industry standard will provide a common language to measure and identify wait time waste, and create a market for software suppliers to provide the measurement and analysis tools.

Wait Time Waste Reference Implementation

Semiconductor fabs will be able to identify sources of variation in basic tool throughput and establish an objective basis for productivity improvement. Equipment suppliers will also benefit by having the ability to improve their tool-level scheduling algorithms and measure their products’ performance levels.

Cimetrix project engineers will be available in the booth to demonstrate these applications and discuss how they can be of value to our customers and prospects. These types of projects represent a further broadening of Cimetrix’ capabilities into equipment- and factory-level analysis applications that leverage the company’s strengths in accessing and communicating high quality equipment data.

We hope to see you at Booth #1241 at SEMICON West!


Interface A - Are we there yet?

Posted by Cimetrix on Sep 10, 2009 2:20:00 PM

by Doug Rust,
Director, Quality Customer Support & co-chair of the SEMI North America GEM300 Task Force

In April, the suite of SEMI software standards commonly referred to as "Interface A" turned 5 years old.

Coincidentally, also in April, the SEMI standards North America Information and Control Committee approved an important revision to these standards to incorporate many of the lessons learned from early implementations.

SEMATECH, through its subsidiary ISMI, for years has been consistent in communicating how important Interface A (a.k.a. - Equipment Data Acquisition - EDA) is to the current and future manufacturing automation needs of its member companies. This message was repeated again at an ISMI workshop I attended this last Spring. ISMI had explained that the SEMATECH member companies (which make up 50 percent of the worldwide chip market) wanted ISMI to focus on a smaller number of projects with short-term benefits for 2009. Interface A (EDA) is on this short list.

In support of the ISMI members' vision for a better quality data communication interface, Cimetrix has been actively developing Interface A software since before the standards were published with early prototypes based on draft documents back in 2002-2003. We have had a continuous product improvement program in place since 2004 for our CIMPortal product which implements the Equipment Data Acquisition standards on the server side. We had previews of our EDAConnect factory-side EDA product at SEMICONWest 2007 and launched the product later that year.

So, as I was sitting in the workshop listening to the speaker from ISMI say once again what an important enabling technology Interface A was for current and Next Generation Factories (NGF), I thought to myself, "I keep hearing ‘we need it, we need it'. I wonder why more companies aren't using it"?

Why do you think companies have been slow to deliver Interface A (EDA) solutions on their equipment and using it in their fabs?

You might also be interested in:

Topics: Equipment Data Acquisition, SEMI Standards, CIMPortal, ISMI, SEMATECH, EDAConnect

Subscribe to Email Updates

Follow Me

Learn More About the
SEMI Standards


GEM 300

Interface A/EDA