Interfaces A, B, and C
The suite of SEMI® Equipment Data Acquisition (EDA) standards – also known as “Interface A” – is the first of three sets of interfaces identified for factories by the International Sematech Manufacturing Initiative (ISMI).
Most of us are already familiar with Interface A: it defines a high-speed data collection mechanism to get high volumes of process and status information from semiconductor manufacturing equipment.
But, collecting data is only the beginning. Once data has been gathered, factories need to process it, typically internally but sometimes also with the help of external experts. The process of getting data to various factory systems (e.g., Fault Detection, APC, Run-to-Run, and Process Control Systems (SEMI E133)) is often custom, resulting in long integration projects with a great deal of cost and uncertainty.
So, SEMI is working on different standards that deal with the other two sets of interfaces (B and C), to help streamline the process of data sharing which will reduce costs, time to delivery, and risk.
- Interface B defines various interfaces intended to exchange data between different factory applications. By adopting a standard interface for inter-system communication, factories will reduce implementation costs, resulting in faster ROI. This will also make it easier for factories to migrate to newer technologies as they become available.
- Interface C will define interfaces between the factory environment and the outside world, made possible through e-diagnostics and remote connectivity, and it will define security and context considerations to help protect data and intellectual properties of both the device maker and equipment supplier. Currently, activities for developing Interface C are minimal.
On a related note, SEMI is engaging in standards activities around cybersecurity. Although Interface C is an obvious area to consider with its connection to the public Internet, it is just as important to look at protecting equipment, factory systems, and digital assets on the manufacturing floor from malware and vulnerabilities.
Lately, the SEMI Standards community has been focused on enhancing EDA/Interface A to help address the industry’s demand for collecting the large volumes of data needed to meet their Smart Manufacturing challenges. However, this opens up a new set of challenges: how can you actually use all of this data (e.g., for analysis)?
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