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Gigaphoton: Fabscape Platform 

Over the last 3 years, GRAYBOX has close­ly part­nered with Gigapho­ton to design and devel­op an exten­si­ble plat­form for mon­i­tor­ing and ana­lyz­ing equip­ment per­for­mance with­in semi­con­duc­tor man­u­fac­tur­ing facil­i­ties. GRAYBOX designed a microser­vice based archi­tec­ture with a ser­vice mesh, allow­ing for per­for­mance mon­i­tor­ing, data aggre­ga­tion, report­ing, analy­sis and main­te­nance scheduling.

Overall Outcome

Gigapho­ton released, FABSCAPE™” an exten­si­ble plat­form to allow inte­gra­tion with any ven­dor’s tools and data, while allow­ing the oper­a­tors to main­tain con­trol of their sen­si­tive data.

The Results

GRAYBOX archi­tect­ed and devel­oped the core plu­g­in set required for the system’s basic func­tion­al­i­ty, as well as sev­er­al addi­tion­al mod­ules to con­tin­ue expand­ing the capabilities.

  • 7
    Major chipmakers adopted within 9 months
  • 12
    Core plugins available out of the box
  • Custom Plugins possible by using SDK

The Overall Problem

Gigaphoton sought out to design and develop a platform that would resolve the issues around data ambiguity between multiple vendors in the semiconductor industry. Collecting, monitoring and surveying critical performance data across lithography equipment in a consistent way was just not possible. Our goal was to conceive an application that would allow customers to collect and analyze data in a unified format, allowing for a more meaningful and accurate comparison.

The platform needed to be flexible and modular, allowing customers to modify the application in a way that met their unique needs. An open architecture would also allow customers and 3rd party developers to design their own custom plugins or drivers that further extend the platform beyond the core, making it more adaptable for manufacturers.

We also needed to ensure that data collection, aggregation and reporting could be accurate, fast and reliable. This would be paramount to the success of the Gigaphoton's platform. Research and due diligence needed to go into understanding semi-standards, proper time series data consumption, storing, monitoring and visualization to guarantee that the correct information was available for customers to make meaningful decisions.

Finally, security is always of critical concern, so the platform also needed to be deployed behind firewalls and offline in an air-gap system. This made the challenge of installing and upgrading the platform even more complex. Maintaining a consistent, controllable environment would be another consideration to account for during planning and platform architecture.

I am con­fi­dent that FABSCAPE’s™ bold new open soft­ware approach can allow device man­u­fac­tur­ers to gain a deep­er and more uni­form under­stand­ing of equip­ment data and help spark new inno­va­tions through col­lab­o­ra­tion, and part­ner­ships both inside and out­side of our tra­di­tion­al indus­try play­ers, con­tribut­ing to the fur­ther growth of our industry.

Katsumi Uranaka, President and CEO of Gigaphoton, Gigaphoton

Our Solution

1. A modular system, built with plugins.

We decided on a micro service based system where all plugins and drivers would run in their own individual Docker containers, allowing the system to be modular. With a core set of plugins that would ideally cover the majority of customer requirements, a full development kit would be available for 3rd party developers and customers to modify their set of plugins to fit their business needs. This would also make installing and upgrading more efficient by allowing components to be updated and versioned independently.

Finally, leveraging Docker would mean that all development environments could be maintained consistently. GRPC and Rest API's would be used to communicate between plugins and drivers, allowing plugin developers to develop in their preferred languages, further enhancing platform fluidity. Building the platform in a modular way would make it dynamic, powerful and extensible.

2. So. Much. Data.

"Making sense of the enormous volumes of data generated by varying semiconductor manufacturing tools continues to be a challenge for our customers..."

– Katsumi Uranaka, president and CEO of Gigaphoton.

In order to ensure we could accurately and reliable capture vast amounts of data, in real time, we relied on Postgres. We're constantly evaluating new opportunities to explore and expand on the platform capabilities, so we actually utilize a few different types of databases depending on the plugin, but for data collection and distribution, it's been stable and snappy. We also utilize amCharts for additional data visualization and reporting. It provides multiple features and extensibility that we're able to implement within the Fabscape platform.

3. It only helps, if it's secure.

Another benefit of building the system with containers would be that we could install packages locally, on-premises for customers and control the actual environments. Data security is critical in the industry, and ensuring that this system would be installable locally, offline for manufacturing facilities was a rigid requirement. Not providing this security would be a non-starter. Plugins also maintain a deep permission structure, making communication across plugins more secure.

Work­ing with Gigapho­ton has been a true part­ner­ship, allow­ing us to set new stan­dards in the semicon­­duc­­tor indus­try. We’re proud to be at the cen­ter of Fab­scape’s design, from ear­ly white­board dia­grams, to tech­ni­cal archi­tec­ture, to the open plat­form avail­able today.

Jacob Parker, Applications Practice Director at GRAYBOX

Our Services

Utilizing resources such as Golang, React, GRPC, Docker, Openshift and Kubernetes, GRAYBOX designed a microservice based architecture with a service mesh, allowing the system to be completely based around modular plugins, while maintaining adherence to a system wide permissions system.

Our Results

Following the initial announcement of, “FABSCAPE™” for the monitoring and analysis of semiconductor manufacturing equipment, at least seven major semiconductor chipmakers began implementing it into their operations within 9 months of launch.

GRAYBOX continues technical architecture and senior development leadership for multiple development teams contributing to the project. This has led to a true partnership as GRAYBOX leads the conceptual platform design strategy and forward-thinking necessary to push the limits of the industry.

  • 7
    Major chipmakers adopted within 9 months
  • 12
    Core plugins available out of the box
  • Custom Plugins possible by using SDK