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Evolving Scale & Complexity in Smart Factories

How is IoT transforming the manufacturing landscape? Enterprises today face the imperative to evolve, particularly in precision-centric sectors like semiconductor production. During the pandemic, industrial manufacturers who proactively invested in technology not only weathered the downturn more effectively but also emerged stronger compared to those who reduced tech spending. As manufacturing operations become increasingly intricate, connectivity innovations are paramount for sustained success. Discover how ATEN solutions can pave the way.

Size of Smart Factory Market in USD by 2032

280

In 2022, the smart factory market surpassed $110 billion and is predicted to grow at 9% CAGR from 2023-2032, driven by demand for automation to ensure high-quality, reliable products. 1

Investing in Robotics & Automation by 2024

62

According to Deloitte, 62% of top manufacturers are investing in robotics and automation to accelerate production, cut costs, and address labor shortages. 3

Rise in Edge-to-Cloud IT/OT Convergence by 2024

60

By 2024, IDC forecasts that 60% of manufacturers will merge edge OT data with cloud analytics as standard site policy, considering this integrated data crucial for operations. 2

Digital Twin Asset Management Boost in 2023

50

According to IDC, in 2023, 20% of new manufacturing assets will be using preconfigured digital twins to speed up analytics outcomes by 50% for overall operations and processes. 4

Challenges

There are many challenges in developing access management systems for production lines:
  • Spatial Constraints & Outdated Equipment
    Large semiconductor plants often span vast areas, making efficient on-site monitoring a challenging task; existing machinery, which may be expensive and difficult to replace, often lacks internet connectivity due to its legacy nature.
  • Sterility and Accessibility
    High-tech production, especially wafer manufacturing, necessitates a pristine environment. This stringent cleanliness requirement limits the frequency of entry for equipment checks and maintenance.
  • MES Integration & Operational Complexity
    While a flexible Manufacturing Execution System (MES) is crucial for maintaining quality and reducing costs, integrating excessive testing equipment can overwhelm the management system. This can lead to complicated recipe operations that are more susceptible to errors.
  • Restrictive Machine Software Protocols
    Many original equipment manufacturers of high-end machines in production lines prohibit the installation of additional software, limiting customization and adaptability.
  • Control Framework & Emergency Protocols
    Without localized priority settings, emergency control becomes less efficient. This underscores the importance of having a refined control system that can respond adeptly in critical situations.
  • Network Integrity & Cybersecurity Concerns
    Implementing remote monitoring software introduces potential vulnerabilities to cyberattacks. Additionally, there are apprehensions that these implementations might compromise machine performance and subsequently, production capacity.
To address these multifaceted challenges inherent to high-tech production environments, ATEN has pioneered a range of RCM solutions. These are meticulously designed to offer a seamless, adaptable, and effective management interface for both production control systems and quality testing procedures.

ATEN RCM Solutions

Understanding the intricacies of production lines is pivotal for maximizing efficiency and ensuring seamless operations. ATEN's RCM (Remote Control & Monitoring) solutions are not just tools but strategic assets. The benefits that our solutions bring to the production line environment include:
  • Safety & Efficiency:
    A significant reduction in the frequency of personnel entries into sensitive zones like the production line or clean rooms, minimizing contamination risks and streamlining processes.
  • Holistic Monitoring:
    The Panel Array Mode™ allows simultaneous monitoring of multiple machines, presenting an integrated view of the entire production floor, which is vital for swift decision-making.
  • Swift Emergency Handling:
    Real-time emergency response and alarm monitoring ensure that any anomalies or malfunctions are detected and addressed instantly, minimizing downtimes and potential losses.
  • Smart Control Mechanisms:
    Instant prioritization control ensures that resources are allocated optimally, and critical processes are given precedence.
  • Robust Security Protocols:
    Our solutions come equipped with advanced authentication and authorization measures, ensuring that access is restricted to authorized personnel only, safeguarding sensitive data and operations.
In the fast-paced world of production lines, where every second and decision counts, ATEN's solutions stand as a beacon of reliability and efficiency.

ATEN Solutions in Action

Remote Management + Robotics Process Automation (RPA) for OEM Semiconductor Manufacturing

An OEM semiconductor manufacturer requires accurate recording of operational settings and process data for quality control and review. However, the absence of an SECS/GEM interface in their current equipment leads to manual data transcription and inspections, which introduces the risk of human error. The company seeks an automated control system compatible with its MES that can perform automated checks, handle emergencies, manage test recipes, collect data, and maintain system logs to streamline production and enhance precision.

RequirementsThe ATEN Solution
  • Increase Efficiency Meet customer audit requirements, facilitate data collection for analysis, and speed up the resolution of routine problems
  • Avoid Human Error Avoid human error in data collection and the manual selection of recipes for production equipment
  • Automatic Execution Identify production information feedback and automatically assess the type of system warnings
  • Maintain System Performance No impact to production line utilization or system performance
  • The solution’s KVM over IP network architecture allows remote machine monitoring and management through RCMMS (RCM Management Software), with integrated RCM API to obtain the production status of each machine screen via customizable Panel Array Mode.
  • An integrated image related process (e.g. OCR, color matching, image comparison) analyzes and detects abnormal equipment status and takes corresponding measures, as well as formulates the job flow into a Script program (RPA) to automatically execute related jobs.
  • In addition, the hardware architecture does not impact or reduce system performance of the production line machines.

RCM464VA

1-Local/4-Remote Shared Access 64-Port Multi-Interface Cat 5 KVM over IP Switch

KA7174

KVM Adapter Module with USB, PS/2, and RS-232 Local Console

RCM101A

1-Local/Remote Share Access Single Port VGA KVM over IP Switch

Remote Monitoring & Control for Extensive Clean Room Operations

Navigating and managing large-scale clean room facilities can be highly challenging due to the sheer size and the inconvenience of entering and exiting these controlled environments. A leading manufacturer with a sprawling facility encompassing numerous clean rooms faced high maintenance costs and inefficiencies. They needed a sophisticated remote monitoring system that could oversee all operations comprehensively and reduce reaction times. Additionally, they sought a centralized control room capable of supporting simultaneous remote access by administrators for efficient problem-solving and server management.

RequirementsThe ATEN Solution
  • Improve Operator Productivity Perform remote fault detection and maintenance to reduce time to manage and debug production line machines
  • Centralized Monitoring Centralized equipment maintenance and production information management in the off-site control room for easy remote centralized troubleshooting
  • Reduce Downtime Reduce equipment downtime and increase availability via reduced physical maintenance
  • Security & Reliability No data transfer between the manufacturing machines and the management system
  • Provides APIs for software integration applications and directly captures the data displayed in Panel Array Mode for analysis by OCR.
  • Integrates with the machine system through RCM API to obtain the screen of each machine, and combines the production data and equipment status of the MES to quickly understand the production status and make decisions.
  • The console station provides extra monitoring and broadcast command functions in the factory office with instantaneous remote access to RCM device ports by double-clicking for emergency management via Viewer app (WinClient, WebClient, Java Client).

RCMMS

Remote Control & Monitoring Management Software

RCMVGA101

1-Local/Remote Share Access Single Port VGA KVM over IP Switch

RCMDVI101

1-Local/Remote Share Access Single Port DVI KVM over IP Switch

KA8280

HDMI KVM over IP Console Station

Tailored Remote Control & Monitoring for DRAM Manufacturing

As a prominent DRAM and flash memory chip manufacturer, maintaining peak production levels is critical amidst fluctuating market trends and competitive dynamics. The company sought a specialized remote control and monitoring (RCM) system to grant supervisors IP-based remote access to their costly production line machinery, ensuring uninterrupted operations across three shifts for 24/7 productivity. The desired RCM solution needed to integrate access hierarchy and web-based surveillance with sophisticated features, enabling them to meet batch production goals within strict deadlines while enhancing overall operational efficiency.

RequirementsThe ATEN Solution
  • API Customization Needed software/firmware customization on RCM devices to meet a variety of specific needs
  • Centralized Management Provide easy, centralized management with access to information from all remote device operations
  • Improve Deployment Efficiency Achieve production targets by connecting different application programming interfaces
  • Access Rights Control Supervisors need to know which field operators/remote engineers have access/control, in addition to a stop button for emergency control
  • Supports exclusive integrated RCM API (Application Programming Interface) with various customizable functions for system integrators.
  • Multiple RCM devices can be managed via the API, including upgrading firmware, device rebooting, brightness adjustment, access rights control and remote user attribute settings.
  • The solution also provides Web API for snapshot capturing, with support for an SI-customizable Panel Array viewing mode for remote engineers and supervisors to monitor all machines.

RCMDVI101

1-Local/Remote Share Access Single Port DVI KVM over IP Switch

RCM101A

1-Local/Remote Share Access Single Port VGA KVM over IP Switch

Digital Transformation for PC Testing & Multi-View Monitoring in IPC Manufacturing

During their digital transformation initiative, a computer peripheral/IPC manufacturer sought an all-digital KVM over IP solution. This was to remotely oversee PCs across their expansive facility running diverse testing programs on multiple lines. Some lines focused on testing prototype designs and pre-production samples, while others were dedicated to system integration for OEM orders or build-/configure-to-order tasks. All these operations demanded strategic testing methods, PC diagnostic tools, troubleshooting aids, and data erasure utilities to guarantee robust computer hardware performance. Hence, a solution was needed that would seamlessly merge IT and OT, ensuring holistic server management.

RequirementsThe ATEN Solution
  • Enhanced Remote Monitoring with Multi-View Ensure continuous remote surveillance of PC tests and performance metrics for precise diagnostics and benchmarking.
  • Efficient Process Streamlining Aim to reduce the time needed for testing and troubleshooting a vast number of PCs and servers.
  • Intelligent, Concurrent Access Offer the capability to selectively and smartly monitor connected servers with ease.
  • Superior Video Transmission Quality Demand smooth, rapid video streaming with a high refresh rate to maximize situational awareness.
  • Panel Array Mode™ Live+ allows operator to customize and view video outputs from multiple servers on a single screen, all in Full HD.
  • Advanced Winclient allows monitoring the test status of each PC while simultaneously controlling any individual PC for instant setup and trouble shooting.
  • Broadcast Mode allows the operator to execute and replicate actions across all PCs simultaneously.
  • Virtual Media function provides file transmission 10x faster than traditional KVM for quick software installation.

KG8900T

USB HDMI KVM DigiProcessor

Optimizing Facility Management Operations for Equipment Cleaning & Coating Processes

A leading company specializing in cleaning and coating technologies for equipment parts in the semiconductor, display, and solar-photovoltaic sectors sought a comprehensive facility management solution. In such a PLC-driven production line environment, there is a seamless integration of numerous devices and software. Their primary aim is to monitor and automate production processes, optimizing the use and reuse of high-cost equipment. Effective management of this system demands continuous oversight of power meters, water-cooled chillers, dust collectors, and scrubbers. Additionally, it's crucial to monitor and control the PLC devices directly from the facility's control room, along with FFU control computers, to simplify operations and ensure timely responses.

RequirementsThe ATEN Solution
  • Comprehensive Integration Solution The facility aimed to incorporate a multitude of devices and software sourced from various vendors. This was essential to seamlessly automate and oversee production processes, ensuring efficiency and consistency.
  • Convenient Remote Access & Management The system demanded remote access capabilities to all processing devices within the facility. This includes PLC devices and FFU control PCs, enabling convenient and centralized monitoring from any location.
  • Efficient Serial-to-Ethernet Connectivity For equipment that utilized serial interfaces, there was a need for streamlined and rapid serial-to-Ethernet connectivity. This would facilitate easy network access directly from the facility's control room.
  • The ATEN solution offers network connectivity to serial-interfaced devices such as power meters, water-cooled chillers, scrubbers, and dust collectors. IoT gateways equipped with SCADA manage the control and monitoring of the entire factory's facilities.
  • These IoT gateways monitor the status of power meters, water-cooled chillers, and dust collectors through the SN3401, which also offers surge protection.
  • For scrubbers and PLC devices, access is granted via embedded PCs through the IoT gateways.
  • Additionally, FFU computers can be remotely accessed through the RCMDVI101.

SN3402

2-Port RS-232/422/485 Secure Device Server

SN3002

2-Port RS-232 Secure Device Server

RCMDVI101

1-Local/Remote Share Access Single Port DVI KVM over IP Switch

Assembly, Preparation, & IT Maintenance for Gaming PC Production Line, Europe

A well-known computer manufacturer specializing in pre-built gaming PCs was looking for an assembly line solution to optimize the machine preparation processes at its 300+ capacity plant.
Operators are required to configure and set up many computers during a process that involves assembly, BIOS flash and configuration, OS installation, component scanning for quality control, and testing. This involves with repetitive operations that are extremely time-consuming.
They were looking for a USB 3.0 high data transfer rate solution to configure multiple units at the same time instead of having to work on a one-at-a-time basis.

RequirementsThe ATEN Solution
  • Assembly Optimization
    Wanted to shorten the time required to configure and install a large amount of PCs with components and software for gaming.
  • Streamline Process
    Needed to replicate repetitive tasks on multiple PCs at once to avoid wasting time and energy weaving between machines.
  • Remote Access
    Required remote access capabilities to enable convenient monitoring of PC status when broadcasting commands.
  • High Compatibility
    Needed to support both DisplayPort and HDMI interfaces, OS flexibility, and high compatibility to work with Nvidia RTX3090/RTX3080 and AMD Radeon RX6800/RX6900 GPUs.
  • The operator can now prepare up to 8 machines with a single set of keyboard, mouse, monitor, and barcode scanner, increasing productivity.
  • Broadcast Mode allows the operator to simultaneously send commands to all machines at once, such as BIOS config/flash and OS install.
  • 300+ machines can be centrally controlled from the remote site, which also allows advanced testing to be more conveniently monitored.
  • Quick monitoring of all server and operator status via CCKM with its intuitive web-based GUI is supported by stunning visuals at up to 4K DCI @60Hz.

CS19208

8-Port USB 3.0 4K DisplayPort KVM Switch

CCKM

KVM over IP Matrix Manager

Critical Monitoring for Assembly Plant & Clean Room, Panel Fabrication, South Korea

A global manufacturer of LCD panels had several manufacturing and module assembly plants that needed their critical monitoring and control systems to be upgraded to help maintain their competitive advantage. The production equipment is extremely expensive and requires 3 shifts of engineers for full-time 24/7 operation, with two engineers handling the control system for individual equipment, one in the fab clean room doing field operation and another in the control room doing remote monitoring.
The supervisor needed a solution to provide them with priority access, allowing them to take remote control of areas without needing extra staff in order to improve efficiency while reducing manpower costs.

RequirementsThe ATEN Solution
  • 24/7 Remote Access
    Highly expensive production line equipment needs support for 24/7 operation.
  • Priority control
    Support for both remote and local operations required.
  • Advanced Monitoring
    Required a Web-based monitoring system with advanced functionalities.
  • Restricted Space
    Must take up minimal space while maximizing personnel efficiency.
  • Enhanced Visibility: Remote access allows instant clean room visibility for supervisors
  • Priority Access: Remote engineers can take control of non-staffed areas when needed
  • Increased Productivity: Remote engineers can monitor four browsers on one screen via Web-based GUI
  • Future-proof Solution: Takes up minimal space and allows for easy setup of new production lines

CS19208

8-Port USB 3.0 4K DisplayPort KVM Switch

CCKM

KVM over IP Matrix Manager

Multiple Workstation SCADA System Access for CNC Machining, Italy

An Italian SI, who develops and builds computerized numerical control (CNC) work centers with multiple operator consoles, wanted to build a SCADA PC system with access from 5 different operator consoles. All console workstations needed to be equipped with a touchscreen and a keyboard with touchpad and were allowed exclusive access to control machine tools on a one-at-a-time basis.
The SCADA PC, where the CCKM KVM over IP Matrix Manager software is installed, enables or restricts access from each workstation during a period of at least 10min. An automation PLC manages the ports. This all happens through machine-to-machine communication and frees up manpower for additional tasks while allowing for precise results on a repeatable basis.

RequirementsThe ATEN Solution
  • Virtual Matrix Management
    For process control, the automation PLC needs to be able to enable/ disable each remote console to occupy the computer for a period of at least 10 mins.
  • Scalability
    Flexibility to expand maintenance & control operations to support adding more workstations in the future to maintain the highest standards.
  • Secure Access Safety
    The main controller needs to be able to securely enable/ disable access remotely via the PLC for safety reasons depending on the work center status.
  • Multiple Access Modes: Solution provides multiple access modes – exclusive access, occupy – while operators can still view the SCADA PC in shared access or view-only mode.
  • Work Center Safety: Allows safe access when needed for only one operator to work safely with the extra option of isolating individual KE units from the larger network via dedicated LAN port.
  • Touchscreen Enabled: In addition to touchscreen support, the solution also allows for keyboards with touchpads at the workstations for flexible monitoring and operation.

KE6900AT

DVI-I Single Display KVM over IP Transmitter

KE6900AR

DVI-I Single Display KVM over IP Receiver

CCKM

KVM over IP Matrix Manager

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