Master Machinery Builds Semiconductor Pick and Place Machine With CompactRIO and LabVIEW

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"The combination of the cRIO-9068 controller and Kollmorgen AKD motor drives, with direct integration through LabVIEW NI SoftMotion, helped us simplify and rapidly complete the development of the machine’s control system. Additionally, with the help of NI technical support, we could access professional advisers, which greatly reduced development time."

- 王國壽 Kennes Wang, 萬世揚工業股份有限公司 - Master Machinery

The Challenge:
Semiconductor pick and place machines need to be sophisticated. Vision and motion accuracy are extremely important, and the completion of the overall program structure is a major challenge.

The Solution:
Combining NI CompactRIO hardware with Kollmorgen EtherCAT Drives and LabVIEW software increased machine throughput and provided control architecture flexibility to meet evolving machine design needs.

王國壽 Kennes Wang - 萬世揚工業股份有限公司 - Master Machinery

For over 20 years, Master Machinery has been a leading manufacturer and supplier in Taiwan’s diode, rectifier, and semiconductor equipment industry. The company mainly provides automation equipment for diodes, rectifiers, and semiconductors. Its products include the manufacturing and maintenance of equipment such as testing, printing, packaging machines, loaders, tunnel furnaces, picking machines, SMT machines, and die sorting machines.

In the later stages of semiconductor production, the speed and accuracy for picking and placing wafers plays a key role in the overall manufacturing process. During the design and setup of semiconductor machines, the most important factors are the selection of hardware components within the machine and the software structure. The quality of hardware components affects the whole operation of the machine, and software must feature powerful integration to meet the complexity of the machine.

Based on these requirements, we needed a set of products to build large-capacity, high-speed complex systems that are stable. After evaluating several options, we collaborated with NI because NI LabVIEW system design software is known in the industry for a high level of integration, making it suitable for all kinds of measurement and control systems. Additionally, we could use an NI CompactRIO controller for high-precision applications through the LabVIEW Real-Time Module.

At first, we used the NI cRIO-9074 controller, Panasonic motors, and the LabVIEW FPGA Module to write a relatively complicated motion program. We completed the first pick and place machine that met the customer’s needs in one year.

With this experience, we became more proficient in developing the next generation of pick and place machines. In the new machines, we used the NI cRIO-9068 controller paired with Kollmorgen AKD brushless servo motor drives. The controller’s built-in LabVIEW NI SoftMotion Module addressed the low-level motion control we had previously implemented with FPGA programming. This helped us focus more on our application, and we developed the new machine in just two weeks—a significant improvement compared to our previous one-year R&D process.

The most challenging part of the whole structure was transferring real-time data between the real-time target and the PC and analyzing the data. We accomplished this with the comprehensive LabVIEW libraries and joint research from NI engineers.

During the operation of the pick and place machine, integrating the machine vision and servo motion control system was also very important. If we did not consider accurate synchronization in the pick and place process in the design, wafers could be damaged in the operation. Therefore, the speed, accuracy, and resolution of the controller and the motor server all impacted the machine’s effectiveness. The cRIO-9068 and the Kollmorgen drives provided the high-speed response required by semiconductor machines. The response time improved significantly compared to the previous machine without compromising the stability, ruggedness, and real-time processing speed of the entire system. We used a platform that empowered us to truly reconfigure the hardware of the system with a productive software environment, which is the main component of a software-designed controller like the cRIO-9068.

We believe that by using the integrated NI hardware and software platform we can continue our development to find even better and faster machine building solutions and provide more comprehensive semiconductor machines for our customers in the industry.

Author Information:
王國壽 Kennes Wang
萬世揚工業股份有限公司 - Master Machinery

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