How we helped our partner in calibrating lithography machines and diagnosing problems

The Client

Strypes Group is owned by ICT Group (a leading provider of end-to-end solutions for industrial automation) and is based in Bulgaria. It has over 600 employees and has been rapidly growing for the past several years. The company mainly operates as a software development partner for several very big clients. One of those clients is a company that enables the world’s leading chipmakers the power to mass-produce patterns on silicon. Basically, this company is able to print chips on a very high scale through the use of lithography machines. However, constant calibrating of lithography machines is required in order for them to work properly.

The role of Strypes Group in that relationship is to deal with the software of those machines as each machine demands different software for each of its numerous parts in order to work properly. Therefore, calibrating and diagnosing problems is constantly needed and is crucial for the proper execution of the manufacturing process. 

The Challenge

As Moore’s law states the number of transistors on a microchip doubles every two years. This means that currently there is a very high demand for printing chips. As those machines work constantly on a very high scale, calibrating and diagnosing problems related to this specific hardware is needed. 

An image showcasing Moore's Law. It is part of Cosmos Thrace's case study "How we helped our partner in calibrating lithography machines and diagnosing problems"

The goal with the calibration process is to find what the limits of the hardware are. The process is divided into a number of mini projects which are all connected to each other and in the end when put all together a calibration of the lithography machine is achieved. 

We joined forces with Strypes Group on that project as they needed the development of embedded software that is used to operate and calibrate the hardware. The challenge is to test the limits of the different components of a specific hardware in order to find out its maximum capabilities. This information is used to calibrate and identify problems with the hardware.

The Solution

The solution for this project is an iteration process consisting of multiple sub-projects. Usually one mini project takes between 3-6 months to complete as it depends on the scope of each project.

In terms of technology Python is the main language used for programming. Everything is developed in the Linux environment; MATLAB algorithms are used and Data structures are defined and developed in C++. We felt comfortable working with those tools and languages as we already had an experience in all of them.

Each sub-project is divided into three phases. First it starts with the preparation of the User Interface and the data structures; After that, the main logic is executed. This is the software development phase which takes most of the time; Finally, it is time for testing of the code. In this phase we have all kinds of tests – unit tests, integration tests, etc.

All those three phases are done in a test environment. After the delivery of the 3 stages the real testing starts.

In each sub project we have encountered the typical problems that occur in such cases, but nothing major. 

The Result

So far, all sub-projects that have been completed and the tests that have been completed work according to the requirements and produce the expected results.

“The proactive approach and continued professional mindset of the Cosmos Thrace team were essential in the creation of the software solution for one of our main accounts. They were able to quickly comprehend our technological challenges and contribute to delivering great value to our customer.” – Strypes Group Team

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