Standards Suite from SEMI “The right step towards fully automated production lines”

SEMI has developed the SEMI SMT-ELS (Equipment Link Standards,) a standard suite for SMT assembly lines. It replaces SMEMA and is designed to provide enhanced data transmission capabilities to make assembly lines smarter.
SEMI has developed the SEMI SMT-ELS (Equipment Link Standards,) a standard suite for SMT assembly lines. It replaces SMEMA and is designed to provide enhanced data transmission capabilities to make assembly lines smarter.

With its SEMI SMT-ELS (Equipment Link Standards), the standardization organization SEMI has developed a software package that networks SMT machines with each other.

For the past few decades the standards developed by SEMI (formerly known as Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International) have been internationally recognized as valid in support of production lines for semiconductors and similar products. At the suggestion of the suppliers of SMT assembly lines, the organization has now developed a standards suite for SMT assembly lines.

SEMI SMT-ELS uses the extended M2M multi-purpose interface SEMI A1/A1.1 as its basic protocol. SEMI A2 SMASH (Surface Mount Assembler Smart Hookup) was specially developed for the operation of SMT assembly lines.

SEMI SMT-ELS is designed to provide more connectivity and better control for SMT assembly machines, such as host-machine communication with M2M network settings or production path settings and inter-machine communications.

Direct communication between machines with functions for instant product change and mode setting for PCB data usage are supported.

As part of JARA (Jülich Aachen Research Alliance), several SMT suppliers have already begun to support the standard, including Yamaha, Panasonic, Fuji and Juki.

“The scope of performance of the standard clearly exceeds the limits of other standards and is not restricted to the area of printed circuit board manufacturing,” says Sascha Frieling, Manager Customer Process Support at Fuji Europe. “In addition, the entire structure is designed for further development and expansion.”

He takes a positive view of the future of SEMI SMT-ELS: “For many years, numerous well-functioning stand-alone developments in the field of M2M communication have been carried out in the interface area. However, this came with the major disadvantage that no connection to external systems could take place without precise testing and, in some cases, additional development. Since the standardization of the interface is now gradually correcting this inadequacy, we will be able to guarantee a connection without major stumbling blocks at low cost in the future.” Fuji plans to use the SEMI interface to enable a dark factory scenario: “With the Smart-Factory platform our company is moving completely in the direction of automation, using the information from the SEMI interface to achieve manufacturing without human intervention.”

Yamaha also supports the adoption of SEMI SMT-ELS: “The electronics industry is rapidly changing due to Industry 4.0 initiatives, especially in Europe. For further automation of electronics production lines and to increase factory efficiency an advanced M2M is necessary,” says Ichiro Arimoto, General Manager of Yamaha SMT. The company offers an end-to-end line concept which, they say, encompasses almost all machines in the line.” Thanks to our internal M2M connection we can optimize the production line and achieve the highest efficiency in the market. Further efficiency improvements can only be made by having advanced communication with the other equipment in the line. For this we see SEMI SMT-ELS as the right step on the way to fully automated production lines.”

The expert expects that the standard will help the electronics industry to take the next step towards realizing intelligent factories and, in the future, complete automation. “As part of the Yamaha Total Line Solution we are already developing functionalities to automate processes. With this standard we go beyond Yamaha’s own scope and are looking to achieve further optimization of the complete production line with this advanced connection to other equipment suppliers.”

The published standards are available via SEMIViews, a license for accessing documents relating to the standard. In order to access the current versions developed in the standardization process and versions that have not yet been published, participation in one of the initiatives is required. The SEMI Standards Automation Technology (AT) Committee is responsible for developing and improving standards, with sub-committee working groups responsible for individual documents. The initiative is open to all interested parties who have completed a free registration as a member of the program.