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Dan Feinberg met with Cimetrix’s Ranjan Chatterjee to discuss how their new Sapience software allows factories to establish communication with a wide variety of equipment across multiple lines and multiple facilities across the whole industry.
Dan Feinberg: Cimetrix’s software products deliver factory automation. Tell me about it, particularly the software for connectivity, analytics, and sensing, which, from what I understand is your specialty.
Ranjan Chatterjee: Yes. We work on automating the machines, collecting data from those machines, and performing analytics on it. In other words, we provide software on both sides of the pipe as well. We provide the pipe as well We provide you with control capabilities as well as connectivity capabilities on the machines to automate them. We connect any kind of machines across the whole industry, whether it’s semiconductor front end, semiconductor back end, or PCB assembly. We have customers in all of these industries. Most wafer fabrication customers use our products to do analytics, and then we provide OEE and those kinds of things. We prefer standards, but sometimes we do custom projects.
Feinberg: The semiconductor industry and board fabrication are closely connected. What are some of the similarities you see between the two?
Chatterjee: Because of the advances in packaging technology, the boundaries between the industries are blurring. SMT machines are handling wafers now, for example. PCB industries are using a variety of non-traditional substrates that require a cleanroom.
Feinberg: Likewise, what are the key differences that make implementations unique between these two industries?
Chatterjee: The main difference is the cost and complexity of the manufacturing equipment and processes in the two industries. Investment in semiconductors is much higher. Still, the need for data and analytics is the same for every industry.
Feinberg: What other software do you have? What have you been working on?
Chatterjee: One of the main things we’re working on is this platform called Sapience, which is a platform for connecting any equipment with any protocol into various apps. We provide test APIs, and you can write an app. Think of it as like iOS, where you have the Apple store. They would provide you the ability to write your own application, and we will run the store; then, you will be able to connect to any kind of device, machine, robot, or a sensor.
To read this entire interview, which appeared in the March 2020 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.