About the SEMI Standards Program
The SEMI International Standards Program is one of the key services offered by Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) for the benefit of the worldwide semiconductor, photovoltaic (PV), LED, MEMS and flat panel display (FPD) industries. Standards offer a way to meet the challenges of increasing productivity while enabling business opportunities around the globe. The program, started over 40 years ago in North America, was expanded in 1985 to include programs in Europe and Japan, and now also has technical committees in China, Korea and Taiwan.
In 1997, the Program was expanded to cover other areas with activity in these industries among suppliers and users. The program operates as a neutral forum for the exchange of information among suppliers and users resulting in the production of timely and technically accurate specifications and other standards of economic importance to the industry. It is a vehicle for networking, partnering, and professional growth. Over 5,000 technologists worldwide, representing both device manufacturers and equipment and materials suppliers, participate in the program. These individuals work toward resolving a variety of process and product related issues in both the front and back-end areas in semiconductor, photovoltaic, and flat panel display manufacturing.
What are standards?
Standards are voluntary technical agreements between suppliers and customers, aimed at improving product quality and reliability at a reasonable price and steady supply. Standards ensure compatibility and inter-operability of goods and services.
SEMI standards are written documents in the form of specifications, guides, test methods, terminology, practices, etc. These documents are published in the 16 volume set of SEMI International Standards. SEMI standards cover every aspect of photovoltaic and semiconductor manufacturing: 3D-IC, Equipment Automation (Hardware and Software), Facilities, Gases, High Brightness-LED, MEMS/NEMS, Materials, Microlithography, Packaging, Photovoltaic, Process Chemicals, Silicon Material & Process Control, and Traceability. Guidelines are also developed to cover safety related issues. In addition, standards are published for Flat Panel Displays. The publication catalogue provides a listing of the available standards and guidelines.
What are the benefits of participating?
The SEMI International Standards Program is first and foremost an opportunity for industry representatives to participate in state-of-the-art technical discussions, while also establishing the future direction of the semiconductor, photovoltaic, and FPD industries. By participating in standards, companies can influence important industry trends.
Companies utilizing standards can decrease manufacturing costs, increase reliability and productivity, and access global markets. On an individual basis, participation helps to reduce design work, provides access to evolving technology and technical developments, and aides personal development.
How are standards developed?
The SEMI International Standards program provides the framework and procedures for industry experts to meet, discuss, and develop essential standards and guidelines. Once the need for a standard has been identified with appropriate input from the user community, a task force is assembled to carry out the development effort. The task force may be regional or international. The result of the task force deliberations is a draft document responsive to industry needs. The draft is reworked until the task force develops consensus. After the task force is satisfied with its work, a wider consensus is developed by reporting to the parent regional technical committee or subcommittee to obtain comments from other members who did not participate directly in the document development. Frequently, broader international consensus is also obtained informally at this time.
When the regional technical committee agrees that a reasonable consensus has been reached, it initiates the worldwide balloting process to confirm that the document has global consensus. This process is managed by the SEMI Headquarters office. Regional offices in China, Europe, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan provide additional direct member interface. At least 60% of the issued ballots must be returned, so it is very important for ALL registered technical members to vote. All negative viewpoints must be considered, but unanimous agreement is not required.
The culmination of this development effort is the application of the new standard by the industry. Frequently, SEMI organizes Standards Technical Educational Programs (STEPs) to communicate new standards to the industry and show the advantages of using them. Users cite SEMI standards in their purchase specifications or utilize them in equipment and materials evaluations. Suppliers cite conformance of equipment, materials, or services to SEMI standards in their advertising and product literature. Use of SEMI standards is entirely voluntary, and so their usefulness to the industry can be assessed by the frequency of use.
Management of the program is provided by industry volunteers serving on administrative Regional Standards Committees in North America, Europe, and Japan. These committees also consider the document history to determine that all the mandated procedures have been followed, and that all opinions have been properly considered. The International Standards Committee has the overall responsibility for the conduct of the program. It establishes the regulations governing the program procedures and maintains relationships with other standard-setting organizations worldwide.
Benefits of Standards
Standards are a form of technology that transcends international boundaries. More importantly, SEMI Standards development conducted on an international basis spurs the dialogue that results in joint ventures, technology licenses, and outright sales. Standards are not just developed by and for engineers; their use should be viewed as a management tool, and consequently should be accompanied by high level support for standards-setting activities.
Compliancy to Standards can:
Increase Supplier Profitability by:
- reducing product development cost and cycle time
- increasing reliability
- allowing focus on unique value-added features
- enhancing market penetration/ensuring product acceptance
- remaining at the forefront of technological advancements
- smoothing technology migration
Increase Customer Satisfaction by:
- reducing factory integration costs and production ramp time
- lowering manufacturing costs
- minimizing maintenance costs
- clarifying expectations for suppliers
- enabling incremental change at proportional cost
Increase Industry Efficiency by:
- reducing/eliminating duplication of efforts
- providing level of commonality
- defining new markets
- promoting competition by lowering barriers to entry
- enabling evolving technology trends
How can I join the SEMI Standards Program?
SEMI Standards activities are open to all interested parties, but you must be a registered SEMI Standards Program Member to participate in SEMI Standards meetings. There are no fees required to participate in the SEMI International Standards Program. SEMI underwrites the costs of administering the program as a service to the industry. Please note that SEMI Standards Program Membership is independent of any other SEMI membership.
SEMI Standards Program Membership (required for meeting participation)
As a registered Program Member, you will:
- be able to participate in SEMI Standards meetings,
- be able to vote on SEMI Standards ballots,
- receive general information about the SEMI International Standards Program.
SEMI Standards Technical Committee Membership (Optional)
Technical Committee (TC) Membership is a subset of Program Membership. By registering as a member of a technical committee, you will:
- receive notification of letter ballots issued by the global committee available for voting,
- receive notification of upcoming global technical committee meetings in your region,
- receive notice of the issuance of technical committee meeting minutes worldwide,
- be eligible to serve in leadership positions as defined in the Regulations.
Global Technical Committees
At present, the Standards program operates the following technical committees:
- 3D Integration and Packaging
- Automated Test Equipment
- Automation Technology
- Compound Semiconductor Materials
- Environmental, Health & Safety
- FPD – Materials & Components
- FPD – Metrology
- High Brightness LED
- Information & Control
- Liquid Chemicals
- Photovoltaic Materials
- Physical Interfaces & Carriers
- Silicon Wafer
Not all of the global committees are active in all regions, and in some regions several committees are consolidated into a local committee with broader scope.
Can I receive general program information without belonging to a specific committee?
Yes. Most of the general information and all of the current standards meeting schedule information may be found Standards section of the SEMI website. For more information, please contact the appropriate person under Standards Contact Information.
Does my company need to be a SEMI corporate member to participate?
No. The program is available to the worldwide semiconductor industry without a membership fee. Participation is independent of whether your company is a SEMI corporate member or not.
Are SEMI activities subject to antitrust laws?
Yes. SEMI activities are subject to antitrust law as SEMI activities are a coordinated effort among competitors in the semiconductor equipment and materials industry. Follow the link to the complete text of the SEMI Standards Antitrust Reminder.