Equipped for the Future
As the number of transistors on a chip soars,the volume of data needed to
manufacture and inspect hese semiconductors is also growing exponentially.
Thatís prompting electronic engineers to tweak designs of production equipment,
using FPGAs and DSPs to process data faster. The technical changes in the
equipment used to produce and test ICs and place them on boards are as diverse
as the end products themselves. FPGAs are gaining acceptance as a processing
tool,allowing companies to focus on the tasks required in manufacturing. DSP
usage is also expanding as a technique for handling specific tasks.
The increase in wafer diameter to 300 mm,advancements in lithography
requiring much finer resolutions,plus the need to optimize fab space and reduce
total system costs óare all pushing the semiconductor industry in two
directions:higher levels of performance and economy.
With machine/motion controllers increasing in computing power and the ability
to process multiple tasks efficiently, more machines are using a single control
platform to simplify hardware and software design. Unifying motion,I/O,and
sensors centralizes the control interfaces and greatly simplifies software
development. Instead of each subsystem running its own control software and
using serial communications to coordinate activity,one application program
controls motion and I/O for the machine and uses higher-level network
communications for scheduling and process control.
†Q & A Semiconductor Needs Drive Motion
What are the major goals that semiconductor OEMs are looking to achieve with
their motion systems? OEMs are in a continuous technology battle with
competitors worldwide and want to differentiate themselves by exploiting every
possible advantage,including the motion platform. A primary goal is minimizing
total cost of ownership and motion systems that complement their core
technology.In my experience,semiconductor equipment OEMs are looking for a
long-term relationship with a motion vendor that has a flexible product
line,extensive engineering capabilities,and strong customer service.
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