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Industry News, Trends, and Technology, and Standards Updates

SEMICON West 2017 Wrap-Up

Posted by Cimetrix on Jul 19, 2017 11:30:00 AM

SEMICON West 2017 has come and gone! The trade show and technical conference was held this year at the Moscone Center in San Francisco and turned out to be a very busy show for the Cimetrix team. While the show was only two halls strong, we had many meetings with current clients, met with new potential clients and even made a few new friends along the way.

A major highlight of the event for all of Cimetrix took place Tuesday evening at the SEMI Standards Awards reception where our own Brian Rubow, Director of Client Training and Support at Cimetrix, took home the prestigious SEMI Leadership Award. Brian, who has over 20 years of experience in the industry, has been a long-time leader and key contributor to the SEMI Standards programs throughout his career.  We were very proud of his work and so glad he was able to receive recognition from the SEMI organization. 


The sales team was hard at work during the entire show and it wasn’t often the Cimetrix booth was empty! Meeting with many new companies made the show very exciting. Our team was especially pleased to meet for several hours with the CEO of our newest client from China! The relationships we establish and cultivate while at these tradeshows make them an invaluable part of our sales, marketing and support efforts. 

The Cimetrix team members that attended were Bob Reback (President and CEO), Dave Faulkner (EVP Sales and Marketing), Ranjan Chatterjee (V.P. Emerging Business & Technology Office), Stu Benger (Director of Sales, North America), Brian Rubow (Director of Client Training and Support), David Francis (Director of Product Management), Alan Weber (V.P. New Product Innovations) and Kimberly Daich (Marketing Manager). Several team members were able to attend for just a day including some of our newest engineers. It was a great chance for them to get to know the show, meet some clients and see some of the machines our software powers in action.

The Moscone Center is undergoing major renovations in preparation for SEMICON West 2018; and we were able to secure a premium spot for next year’s show. SEMICON West is always a great show and we were pleased to be able to attend this year, and as always we’re already looking forward to SEMICON West 2018!

Topics: SEMI Standards, SEMI, SEMICON West

SEMI Standards Meetings from the North American Information & Control Committee Forecasts the Direction of the Semiconductor Industry

Posted by Brian Rubow: Director of Client Training and Support on Sep 29, 2015 1:30:00 PM

During the week of SEMICON West in San Francisco this past July, the North American Information & Control Committee met to discuss and consider new and pending standards within the industry. SEMATECH was noticeably absent from the sessions. For many years, SEMATECH has been a leader in developing and promoting the GEM 300 and EDA standards.

Here are the highlights from those meetings and how they will effect you.

The DDA Task Force is in the early stages of planning a Freeze 3 version of the EDA (Interface A) standards. This may cause some concern—especially with OEMs—as some are just now getting their Freeze 1 interfaces accepted in Fabs. Freeze 2 was a big step forward in making the standards clearer and easier to adopt, but it required a lot of work to move from Freeze 1 to Freeze 2. The hope is that the transition from Freeze 2 to Freeze 3 will be easier, but there will be doubt and concern among many OEMs.

One of the changes proposed for Freeze 3 is replacing the usage of SSL (HTTP) with WS-Security, an extension to SOAP and a member of the web services specifications published by OASIS. This extension allows for secure data within a SOAP message, while still using HTTP for data transfer. This is really an underlying issue and should not affect the applications that would interface with our CIMPortal Plus product. It would allow for a secure connection between CIMPortal and the Fab client so that the data transmitted is protected from theft. There would be configuration changes required to allow the secure connection to be defined, but—once it is—the actual interaction between the OEM’s application and CIMPortal Plus should not change.

Another change being considered is the implementation of WS-ReliableMessaging, another extension to SOAP and also a member of the web services specifications published by OASIS. WS-ReliableMessaging describes a protocol that allows SOAP messages to be reliably delivered between distributed applications in the presence of software component, system, or network failures. Just as the WS-Security item above, this would be at the protocol level, an “under-the-hood” change. It should not affect the way applications interact with our product, but should provide for a more reliable connection to the host EDA client. Use of this extension could also allow EDA to be used in more factory applications, where guaranteed data acquisition is required.

The final issue that was discussed relating to Freeze 3 was a new high-frequency trace for collecting data at very high speeds triggered for short periods of time where the collected data is sent at the end of the collection period. For example, a 1 ms trace for 5 seconds where the 5,000 collected samples for each parameter would be sent at the end of the 5 second period. This change might require alterations in our products. This will help the data reporting be more efficient. Rather than reporting small individual pieces of data to the EDA client, this will allow many data samples to be sent together making for more efficient use of the network.

The GEM 300 Task Force had three ballots on hold due to the ongoing SML copyright legal trial between SEMI and The PEER Group. However, work on other pending ballots continued. The first, Ballot 5872, proposes to add new features to the E172 SEDD standard. E172 is a new standard that provides an XML schema for documenting a GEM/GEM 300 interface. Eventually, E172 can completely replace the current GEM documentation requirements.

Recipe Integrity ballot 5618 has an uncertain future since ISMI failed to pursue its development; unfortunately, the ballot had seemed very close to completion. This standard says that it will not require changes to SECS II messages, but simply clarifies what parameters are defined and how the existing pieces work together. So, essentially, it would be a standard that tells you how to use other existing standards.

Finally, the Task Force discussed enhancing the GEM 300 standards to handle equipment that bond substrates and divide substrates. This will affect E90 and could affect E40, E87, and E94 as well. These changes would likely require updates to CIM300. Right now the standards just address how to treat equipment where the same material (substrates or wafers) go in and out. Traditional material tracking assumes one wafer in, get processed, then return to an output carrier. In the proposed case, either two wafers go in and one unit comes out, or one substrate goes in and two come out

The committee is scheduled to next meet in November, so you can plan on seeing another post from me on the outcome of those meetings afterwards. Subscribe to our blog in the upper right corner of this page to be sure not to miss that or any of my future updates on the North American Information & Control Committee.

Topics: SEMI Standards, SEMI, Interface A, EDA, SEMICON West

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.


SEMICON West - Ballot 5002B Passes

Posted by Cimetrix on Jul 26, 2012 11:28:00 AM

By David Francis
Product Manager

We had a lot of interest in EDA/Interface A SEMI standards at our booth at SEMICON West 2012 in San Francisco during the week of July 9. Equipment Data Acquisition (EDA), also referred to as Interface A, is made up of SEMI standards SEMI E125, E134, E120, E132, and supporting standards. EDA offers semiconductor manufacturers the ability to collect a significant amount of data that is crucial to the manufacturing process, including descriptions of the equipment's structure and behavior. This data is represented on the tool as an equipment model, which is communicated to EDA clients as metadata sets. The metadata includes the equipment components, events, and exceptions, along with all the available data parameters.

One of the challenges with creating an equipment model and the resulting metadata sets is the variability with which the model can be created. It is possible for one tool to create a model that is compliant with the standards, but is quite different from the model for another tool, which is also standard compliant. This makes it difficult for the fabs to then reliably know where to find the data they are interested in from tool to tool. This issue has been addressed in SEMI Ballot 5002B which  defines the common metadata set that will support consistent implementation of EDA/Interface A Freeze Version II. Through our leadership role in the DDA Task Force, Cimetrix has played a major part in defining Ballot 5002B.

SEMI is in the final proof review of the standard that resulted from the5002B ballot, which SEMI will soon publish as the E164 Common Metadata Standard. With this new specification, equipment modeling will be more clearly defined and provide more consistent models between OEMs, which will make it easier for EDA/Interface A users to navigate models and find the data they need. Some semiconductor manufacturers, such as GLOBALFOUNDARIES, will require both compliance with E164 and validation of the compliance with the ISMI/SEMATECH Metadata Conformance Analyzer (MCA).


MCA is the industry standard means for automated checking for conformance of equipment metadata to applicable portions of the SEMI standards and ISMI guidelines. By using MCA, both OEMs and semiconductor manufacturers will be able to attain consistency in the representation of 300mm data, objects, and events within EDA/Interface A. Those supported standards include E30, E40, E87, E90, E94, E116, E157, and the new E164 standard.

 SEMI logo

One important thing to recognize is that, since it is possible to create a Freeze Version II compliant interface that will not pass MCA testing, understanding the requirements for compliance to both before beginning the design.

For more information about EDA/Interface A Freeze Version II, as well as the new E164 and MCA testing, contact us at Ask EDA/Interface A Question. We are recognized as one of the industry leaders in SEMI standards. Let’s talk and find out how we may be able to help.

Topics: SEMI Standards, SEMICON West

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!


PV2 Workshop at SEMICON West 2012

Posted by Cimetrix on Jul 2, 2012 2:11:00 PM

 SEMICON West 2012

If you are attending SEMICON West in San Francisco, and you are interested in learning more about the SEMI PV2 equipment communication standard, consider one of the events presented by the PVGroup and SEMI

The Standards Technical Education Program (STEP): PV2 - Guide for PV Equipment Communication Interfaces (PVECI), held at the San Francisco Moscone Center, Tuesday, July 10, 2012, from 1:00PM to 5:00PM (PDT) provides background information on the standard and technical explanations of GEM and PV2 (PVECI). Cimetrix personnel will be on hand to present at the workshop.

The course will explore the content, usage, and benefits of the PV2 communications standard and associated SEMI guidelines, and discuss how the PV2 standard can help make the solar power industry more competitive amid consolidation of suppliers and other recent trends.

The workshop will provide:

    • Introduction and background of PV2 development

    • Brief history of SEMI communications standards

    • GEM concepts

    • PV2 Messages

    • PV2 Applications

    • Implementation of the PV2 standard

Attendees will learn the rationale and context of PV2, understand the set of SEMI Standards involved, and how PV2 is applied to host communications for PV equipment. If you are an engineer designing equipment for solar panel production, or if you are a field service engineer working with solar companies, or if you are a manager, process engineer,  equipment buyer, or software engineer, you should take a look at how the program can give you insights and understanding that will help you in your current assignment.

To sign up, visit

PV Group LogoSEMI Logo

Topics: PV2 Standard, SEMICON West

Cimetrix at SEMICON West 2012 - Equipment Control

Posted by Cimetrix on Jun 29, 2012 1:30:00 PM

If you are going to attend SEMICON West in San Francisco, July 10-12, 2012, at the Moscone Center – please visit us at booth #1241 and let us tell you how we can support your next equipment control project using our CIMControlFramework™ equipment automation software.

CIMControlFramework dashboard

As more and more customers use CIMControlFramework software on different tool types (strip tools, MOCVD, defect inspection, chemical deposition, and a host of others), we have also generated training material in the form of labs our customers can use to help them get up to speed faster and learn how to implement designs easier and more effectively.

Come to our booth and take a look. When we demonstrate CIMControlFramework, we will show you the labs we supply with the software. Those labs include not only topics such as installation and fundamentals, but also sections such as scheduling and material movement, user interface development, and I/O and communications.

We can also discuss our product support and training classes that will help get your team up and running on SEMI factory connectivity standards, and their implementation, equipment control, and C# and Agile software development.

We look forward to seeing you at our booth at SEMICON West.

Topics: SEMICON West, CIMControlFramework, Equipment Control-Software Products

SEMICON West 2012: EDA/Interface A – Are you ready for Ballot 5002B?

Posted by Cimetrix on Jun 19, 2012 2:31:00 PM

by Rob Schreck
Marketing Manager

If you are interested in learning more about the SEMI EDA/Interface A factory connectivity standard, you can look at our EDA/Interface A web page, or download our white paper. But - if you are going to attend the SEMICON West event in San Francisco, July 10-12, 2012, at the Moscone Center - you can also visit us at Booth #1241 and hear about how we can support your requirements.

So many people have questions regarding EDA/Interface A standards and how to implement them. Freeze Version I, Freeze Version II, common metadata, MCA, 5002B – it seems like a confusing array of issues, numbers and acronyms. Cimetrix can guide you through the process faster and with less risk than any alternative.

For example, if you are developing a new system that needs to implement an EDA connection, come by our booth to see a demonstration of our CIMPortal software. We will show you how it can guide you as you set up the equipment model, the basic element in an EDA solution. For example, below is an example of how a designer can browse the E120/E125 structure of the equipment model using the E125 web services APIs.

 Equipment Metadata Browsing

Equipment Metadata Browsing

We can also discuss what it takes to get your equipment ready to be accepted at the fab, and how you can work with the fab to pass their acceptance tests.

If you work at a semiconductor fab, come by and talk with us about how you can use this SEMI standard to stay competitive and increase productivity while decreasing costs. Let’s talk about common metadata and how that can make it easier for you to access the data available through EDA. We can also discuss the challenges of dealing with different equipment models and garnering consistent data to analyze equipment processes. We can tell you our experience of working with semiconductor fabs to implement EDA and establishing acceptance criteria for the interface. If you would like, we can demonstrate our EDAConnect software that enables you to set up your EDA connection to the equipment.

We can discuss our product support and training classes that will help get your team up and running on the standard and the implementation process.

Topics: Interface A, EDA, SEMICON West

Cimetrix at SEMICON West 2011

Posted by Cimetrix on Jul 29, 2011 11:30:00 AM

by Rob Schreck

Marketing Manager

SEMICON West 2011 logo

We had a very successful booth at SEMICON West in San Francisco earlier this month.  The attendance was good, we had a lot of booth traffic, and we had the opportunity to demonstrate the new CIMControlFramework software release to booth visitors looking for a solid tool control solution. What seemed of particular interest was how they can quickly obtain a graphicaly understanding of process status and alarms that give them actionable data to help improve performance and increase quality. It was good to see the buzz generated by our latest tool control release.

Cimetrix booth at SEMICON West 2011

Another topic that attracted visitors to our booth was how Cimetrix uses the Agile design process.  They were impressed we are using Agile -  in both our R&D as well as Cimetrix Engineering Services - to get demonstrable software faster and predict schedule completion much more accurately.  Another aspect of Agile was how engineers can learn a team development approach, even in situations in which they are working with colleagues who are remote.  Many of our visitors were also interested in our pilot program to get them started using both CIMControlFramework software and Agile processes for their next design project.

We came away from the show with a long list of people looking for a more complete product demonstration and a better understanding of some of the needs of our customers and prospective customers.  It was a great show and we are looking forward to SEMICON West 2012.

Topics: SEMICON West