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Wafer Madness

Wafer Madness

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. That's 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.

Performance Enhancers

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 -are all pushing the semiconductor industry in two directions:higher levels of performance and economy.

One-Point Platform

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 Performance

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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