BACO RATON, Fla.--The emergence of a new data acquisition standard for semiconductor equipment is expected to generate a flurry of new products in the marketplace.
During the Semicon West show next month, ILS Technology Inc. is expected to be one of the first vendors to demonstrate a software product, based on the emerging Interface A standard. ILS' software solution, dubbed Direct Connect, will enable more advanced process/equipment control (APC/AEC) capability, according to the Boca Raton-based company.
The new SEMI Equipment Data Acquisition (EDA) specifications, which includes Interfaces A, B, and C, are enablers for the industry's push towards e-diagnostics, APC/AEC and equipment engineering capability (EEC) initiatives.
Interface A will enable IC factories to have access to detailed process, measurement, and operational data from fab equipment. Previously, this data stream has been limited by the restrictions of the venerable SECS I and II standards and the SECS data port on tools. The new Interface A standard is expected to be ratified and launched during the Semicon West trade show in July (see May 20 story).
Interface A is said to be an open industry software standard that enables access to the hierarchy of data available from today's 300-mm wafer processing tools and sensors through an additional data port. The data is parsed into an output data stream that can be used by a fab's APC environment and other enterprises.
Interface B addresses the management of the Interface A delivered data stream within the APC environment so that it is delivered to the right application. Interface C addresses standardization of communications from within a fab through a firewall to servers outside the fab.
"As late as last May, International Sematech member companies met with the top 10 equipment OEMs and clearly stated that Interface A was their number one priority for IT needs," said Joe Cestari, president of ILS, in a statement. "With the final rubber stamp on the Interface A standard, we are expecting a stampede to its implementation on fab tools."
ILS' Direct Connect technology adheres to the specified inline simple object access protocol (SOAP 1.1) and hyper text transfer protocol (HTTP 1.1) using an eXtensible markup language (XML) schema and web service description language (WSDL) documents.
It provides for event-driven "push" style data collection (i.e., events and exceptions), on-tool buffering of collected data, equipment performance warnings, data collection protocol (DCP) management via SOAP, and is compatible across equipment tool types and all server platforms (i.e., Windows, IBM AIX, Sun Solaris, HP-UX, IBM OS/390 and OS/400, and Linux).
"We are confident that our approach with Direct Connect will help boost the ability of equipment OEMs to implement Interface A on their tools cost effectively, faster and more robustly than with an in-house team or even with other third party suppliers," said Cestari.
"Some OEMs have stated that they will not be ready with Interface A solutions until as late as 2006, which could equate to a loss of business for them. OEMs using Direct Connect for their Interface A solutions will be drawing on our existing experiences in other industries for very similar applications," he said.