Project Scope

The controller employed in semiconductor manufacturing processes must meet the high reliability and performance standards required in the high-tech industry due to its special characteristics. In other words, the controller should be able to minimize the down time against any unexpected faults, provided with the convenience of easy maintenance procedure in order to easily recover the system operation fast from those temporary troubles. As well the controller should have the expansion capability more than 3 slots of PCI, PCIe & other expandable ports for added high performance functions.

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Client’s Challenge

The one of most frequently incurring troubles in existing control systems is the shutdown of controller system caused by CPU cooling fan failure. However, the controller manufacturers should inevitably use the CPU cooling fan as they have to select the Intel Desktop Solution in order to secure high performance computing power. Besides, these small size controllers, being the system should be embedded inside of semiconductor process equipment usually holding 5~8 controllers, requires certainly simple and compact device designs, and at the same time has to furnish a somewhat conflicting configuration demand for multiple numbers of expansion slots. The existing controller is designed with CPU board and backplanes to obtain the desired expansion. However, such a conventional solution accompanies with the complication requiring specific design and selection the backplane and fitting chassis for the application to users.

Solution & Implementation

SyncusTech has completed the basic design process employing the fan-less type Mini ITX EMB-QM87 embedded with Intel® QM87 chipset in order to simultaneously gain powerful performance and solid CPU operation with no cooling fan. The QM87 chipset which is a low power consuming high performance mobile platform, allows the choice of selecting one CPU out of compatible Celeron, i3, i5 & i7 core CPUs. In addition, SyncusTech made full use of basic motherboard expansion capability breaking with the backplane type expansion mostly employed by the competitive foreign products. In other words, dividing the PCIe x16 with 8:8 or 8:4:4 ratio makes it possible to provide the combination of 2slots – PCIe x8 or 1slot – PCIe x8 and 2slots – PCIe x4 configurations only with the design and application of Riser Card. The application of mPCIe to PCI 2slot Riser Card allows the expansion configuration of 3slots – PCIe and 2slots – PCI ports providing the best solution for users. As the controller is designed based on the optimum compatibility with motherboard, there is absolutely no problem in operation even with those multiple axis motion control cards requiring lots of complicated functions. Taking the advantage of such trouble-free basic configuration, unlike the conventional products, the controller allows the compact device design.

Conclusion and Benefits

As an actual reference, the company “A”, a renowned semiconductor equipment manufacturer, was able to complete the entire equipment development with the expansion interface provided by SNAF-QM87 system successfully configuring the Vision Card and Motion Card in one system. Previously, the company “A” had to use 8 sets of conventional controllers for the same one set of semiconductor wafer washing equipment to complete the entire system configuration.