PRI Automation and eMation partner to deliver eDiagnostics for semiconductor manufacturing equipment

Mansfield, Mass. - eMation announced October 16 that PRI Automation Inc. has partnered with eMation to enable eDiagnostics capabilities across its TransFab line of semiconductor factory automation equipment.


Mansfield, Mass. - eMation announced October 16 that PRI Automation Inc. has partnered with eMation to enable eDiagnostics capabilities across its TransFab line of semiconductor factory automation equipment. The eMation DRM Device Relationship Management system will provide secure, real-time, Internet-based remote monitoring, diagnosis, and problem resolution for PRI material-handling equipment in chip-making fabs around the world. As a result, PRI can provide its customers with increased uptime, higher productivity and better, faster service.

eMation and PRI also announced that International SEMATECH (ISMT), a semiconductor industry consortium, has accepted a joint proposal from the two companies to develop prototype eDiagnostics technology for semiconductor manufacturing equipment.

'PRI is committed to delivering eDiagnostics capabilities to our customers,' said Tom Mariano, vice president of Factory Management Software at PRI Automation.'PRI's systems are critical to our customers' ability to maintain semiconductor fab output. eDiagnostics technology can help to ensure that our equipment runs at maximum efficiency and that potential material-handling problems are addressed before they affect fab productivity. eMation has a track record of success in bringing eDiagnostics to other industries, making the company the perfect partner for PRI in this endeavor.'

'Our Device Relationship Management solutions have already demonstrated to medical, industrial and office equipment manufacturers how to reduce equipment downtime and provide better customer service at lower costs,' said Dale Calder, president of eMation. 'Through our work with PRI, eMation is committed to bringing these same benefits to the semiconductor industry by providing a rapidly adoptable solution that meets the objectives of ISMT and the needs of the semiconductor industry.'

According to ISMT, the world consortium of chip makers dedicated to improving semiconductor manufacturing technology, the cost of equipment downtime to a chip manufacturer can exceed $100,000 an hour. To address the issue of downtime, ISMT formed an eDiagnostics working group with the objective of developing guidelines and encouraging commercialization of systems intended to provide open, Internet-based access for equipment suppliers to remotely monitor their equipment. ISMT also issued a request for proposal to equipment suppliers for a prototype demonstrating eDiagnostics capabilities. A proposal from PRI and eMation was the first to be submitted and accepted. The resulting prototype is expected to verify the integrity of the eDiagnostics guidelines and accelerate industry adoption by demonstrating Internet-based remote monitoring, diagnosis, and problem resolution for equipment in a simulated fab.

eMation DRM is an automated information system that Internet-enables equipment and transforms embedded information into business intelligence for people and enterprise systems. EMation DRM enables companies like PRI Automation to proactively monitor and service equipment remotely. Users inside or outside the fab can be notified of potential problems by e-mail and pager. Users can then view critical information about the equipment through eMation DRM Portals that provide secure, customized, Web-based access to equipment information.

PRI's TransFab is a unified automated material handling system spanning hardware, software, and services. TransFab can provide semiconductor manufacturers with better productivity by reducing the number of wafer moves required in manufacturing, and can also lower cost and increase system reliability by reducing the total amount of wafer-handling equipment required. Designed for the rigorous production environment of 300mm wafer fabs, TransFab can also be used in 200mm wafer fabs. PRI will make eDiagnostics capabilities available to its TransFab customers in the first quarter of calendar year 2002.

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