REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 1, 2005 — Microsoft Corp. today announced its intent to support adoption of the Interface A standard for the semiconductor industry by developing architectural guidance that will allow chipmakers, equipment vendors, independent solutions vendors (ISVs) and systems integrators (SIs) to deliver Microsoft
® based solutions that support the standard. The Interface A standard, based on XML Web services, allows chipmakers access to more complete and useful data for applications such as equipment diagnostics and advanced process control. Microsoft’s .NET technology helps enable the data and information sharing that Interface A solutions facilitate between fab equipment, factory information and control systems.
To help drive adoption, Microsoft is collaborating with industry-leading standards bodies, chip manufacturers and semiconductor equipment manufacturers, and is advising partners on how to best leverage the Microsoft platform to build solutions that support Interface A. Microsoft’s .NET technology, which improves communication and collaboration across the manufacturing enterprise by connecting devices, systems and people, is an ideal software platform for solutions based on the Interface A standard. As a result, Microsoft partners such as AIS Automation Dresden GmbH, Asyst Technologies Inc., Cimetrix Inc., HCL Technologies OSIsoft Inc. and Wonderware have already achieved success with Microsoft-based Interface A solutions.
“Interface A is rapidly emerging as the dominant high-speed data highway for chipmakers to bring new processes online more quickly and improve process performance, and ISMI will continue to play a leadership role in driving industry adoption.” said Harvey Wohlwend, project manager for e-manufacturing at ISMI (International SEMATECH Manufacturing Initiative). “Interface A is maturing, and there are numerous implementers, solution providers and underlying platform suppliers engaged in supporting the standard. Platform suppliers like Microsoft are key to the success of Interface A implementation and deployment.”
One challenge faced by chip manufacturers is the demand of bringing new fabs online quickly. New fabs require complicated information technology (IT) environments to support operations and technical risks, and implementation time must be minimized. To help with this effort, Microsoft can advise on the architecture and implementation of fab IT technology to speed time to startup and improve reliability. In addition, Interface A solutions based on Microsoft’s .NET technology and Web services allow semiconductor manufacturers to fine-tune manufacturing equipment to maximize yield and minimize downtime.
“Microsoft brings technology and expertise to the table that can assist partners in bringing Interface A solutions to market,” said John McCallum, high-tech industry manager for the Manufacturing Industry Unit at Microsoft. “We have deep expertise developing Web services architectures across many related markets and have engaged with the semiconductor community in this effort to share best practices on .NET development and deployment to empower a healthy Interface A ecosystem. This is another example of .NET and Web services serving a mission-critical area for the manufacturing community.”
To help improve operational efficiency for high-tech manufacturers worldwide, Microsoft continues to offer guidance and enabling technologies that allow partners to deliver enterprise-ready solutions that address critical customer needs. Guidance on developing Interface A solutions on the Microsoft platform is free to all Microsoft Gold Certified Partners.
More information on Microsoft’s solutions for the high-tech manufacturing industry can be located at http://www.microsoft.com/hightech .
About Microsoft in Manufacturing
Microsoft, in conjunction with industry-leading partners, delivers enterprise solutions to a range of manufacturers including those in vertical industries such as automotive, chemical, consumer packaged goods, high technology, and oil and gas. These industry-specific solutions provide a flexible, scalable and reliable platform that enables businesses to be more agile and connected. As a result, manufacturers are empowered to shorten product development cycles, integrate operations with partners and suppliers, acquire and share intelligence in real time, and more easily communicate with customers. More information about Microsoft in manufacturing can be found online at http://www.microsoft.com/manufacturing .
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
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Partner Success With Microsoft-Based Interface A Solutions
Microsoft partners, focused on addressing critical industry challenges, are already voicing success with Microsoft-based Interface A solutions:
“Implementing Interface A based on Microsoft technologies has considerably speeded up the process of seamless automation in the semiconductor industry. Supported by the .NET architecture, the new set of SEMI standards enables dramatically higher quality and volumes of data for EES applications such as APC, e-diagnostics and performance tracking. AIS has focused all developments around Microsoft technologies to leverage the power of the platform and to generate more synergy in the process improvement effort. As a recognized provider of automation solutions, we are convinced of the enormous benefits of Interface A for both front-end and back-end fabs as well as other high-tech industries.”
Vice President, Research
and DevelopmentAIS Automation
“The support and participation of Microsoft will help facilitate the smooth and rapid adoption of semiconductor automation and connectivity standards such as Interface A. At Asyst, we found that designing and building our Equipment Information Bridge (TM) (EIB) technology on the Microsoft .NET Platform reduced overall development time and deployment costs, as well as increased product performance. These are tangible benefits that are passed on to the OEMs, fabs and ISVs that rely on Asyst EIB and Interface A to get access to in-process, real-time data directly from manufacturing tools.”
Vice President and General Manager
Connectivity and Automation Software Solutions Group
“All Cimetrix software products are developed exclusively for Microsoft platforms, so Microsoft’s leadership and involvement in driving the new Interface A standard only strengthens our Interface A offering and helps ensure an easy and rapid adoption of the standard. Prototypes of our CIMPortal Interface A product, using the .NET Platform, were installed as early as 2003. We recognized early on that to reach the flexibility and performance required for Interface A, .NET was the right choice. Now with the completion of the standard and its implementation in our fully developed CIMPortal product, Cimetrix is anticipating accelerated installations by semiconductor wafer fabs in 2005.”
Executive Vice President
Sales and Marketing
“Using Microsoft .NET Web services technology is enabling HCL to bring modern e-manufacturing solutions to the semiconductor and high-tech industry. Microsoft’s role going forward in supporting a strong momentum for SEMI Interface A, and specifically in helping us bring together next-generation solutions based on .NET, is beneficial to the entire global semiconductor and high-tech industry.”
Project Director e-Manufacturing Initiative
“As an early .NET development partner, OSIsoft has learned that the platform is a powerful catalyst for connecting the manufacturing environment. By encouraging common interface within the complex semiconductor manufacturing environment, OSIsoft and Asyst can deliver a complete view across the fab floor, which will not only speed time to market, but ultimately minimize process variability and equipment downtime to help manufacturers achieve operational excellence.”
Vice President of Marketing
“Wonderware’s ArchestrA application platform is built on Microsoft technology to ensure scalability and ease of integration, operation and administration across the manufacturing enterprise. ISMI plans to implement the application platform as part of its e-manufacturing project. ISMI will use ArchestrA as part of the tool suite in its Factory Integration Applications Lab for testing toolside implementations of these standards by process and metrology equipment suppliers.”
Vice President of Advanced Applications and Alliances