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Prodrive Technologies’ COM Express module brings 13th Gen Intel® Core™ Processors to semiconductor manufacture

Prodrive Technologies’ COM Express module brings 13th Gen Intel® Core™ Processors to semiconductor manufacture

The ongoing semiconductor die shrinking is bringing exponential data processing volumes for device positioning and image processing. New AI algorithms are helping by improving defect detection, reducing the human time and error involved with setting up processes, and increasing throughput by optimizing metrology and inspection processes. All this, though, needs increased embedded computing power.

Commodity computers have very short lifecycles that are just not suitable for semiconductors since changing computers every couple of years adds a huge overhead to verify compatibility. Additional headaches include software version management, cybersecurity threats, and the end of software support during a tool’s lifetime. Prodrive’s industrial COM (Computer-On-Module) Express form-factor modules incorporate 13th Gen Intel® Core™ Processors to address these semiconductor manufacturing demands.

COM Express improves the performance of embedded hardware

COM Express is one of the world’s most popular standards for embedded hardware, and forms compact, highly integrated computers. Key components, such as memory and CPU, are located on the COM Express module itself, while ports and peripherals are placed on a carrier board which can be customized to the needs of an application.

The modules are highly reliable and have a range of small form factors with standardized interfaces. There are SATA and USB interfaces, along with multiple high-bandwidth video outputs that allow multi-screen operator access points. Multiple PCI Express links bring the flexibility to connect Ethernet and IB (InfiniBand) adapters, GPUs, and other cards.

Combined with a carrier board holding application-specific circuits, the modules can perform multiple functions. They can capture, process, and store data collected at the production line in automation, robotics, medical, and other high-tech industries. We’re also using them for next-generation deposition, photoresist coating, lithography, etching, advanced packaging, metrology, and inspection equipment.

The modules can combine inferencing, motion control, and access points in one computing node. They can run live data through a trained AI model to use inferencing for defect detection. For motion control, they can run control loops of piezo- and linear motors. For access points, they can summarize information and present it multi-screen at high resolutions.

Along with the scalability needed for easy future upgrades, switching to a new generation simply means swapping the module rather than the whole computer.

Advanced 13th Gen Intel® Core™ Processors

These mobile processors are much more power efficient than desktop chips, making them better for embedded applications. Intel’s new generation has up to 14 cores and 20 threads with base power from 15W to 45W. This allows fanless design for the lower power processors. An integrated Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics supports display resolutions up to 8k and can perform light AI processing. Advanced AI is possible using a dedicated GPU that can be connected across PCIe.

DDR5-4800 memory support can increase data throughput for fast multitasking and simultaneous applications on the same device, for example bringing high-speed image capture, pre-processing, and real-time calculations for motion control.

The combination of Efficient cores (E-cores) and Performance cores (P-cores) provides a great balance between low power consumption for background tasks and fast execution of complex calculations.

Processing and carrier board form a complete industrial PC

Our range is headed up by the Atlas COM Express modules, which combine the 13th Gen Intel® Core™ Processor Family with up to 64 GB DDR5 memory. They use PCIe 5.0 for moving data even faster between DPUs, GPUs, frame grabbers, multigigabit Ethernet cards, and other peripherals. The flexible design works as a computing heart in industrial PCs of all form factors, starting from the NUC form factor on Prodrive’s Calypso and scaling up to 19-inch rack-mounted Poseidon servers. The COM Express modules plug into a carrier board and enclosure that can be easily customized for fast time-to-market.

Atlas is in this way complemented by our compact Themis carrier board. Themis has two full-height full-length PCIe slots, one supporting PCIe Gen4 and one supporting PCIe Gen5. There are two SATA, seven USB, two Ethernet, and four DP interfaces along with three M.2 expansion slots, two RS-232 serial ports, and in/out audio links. That brings seamless compatibility and exceptional performance.

Our COM Express modules have a 10-year lifetime, along with the scalability needed for easy future upgrades.

Besides general-purpose computing, the modules can be further tailored to optimize systems, and we will be happy to help you customize the boards to your application. That can include additional or different interfaces, custom form factors, and cost-down optimizations by removing unnecessary features. We can also provide turn-key (ready-to-deploy) solutions. We can integrate your own or third-party expansion cards and provide support with system benchmarking, thermal testing, and certification. Moreover, we can implement firmware revision control, OS and application pre-installations, and certify the system according to industry-specific standards such as SEMI S2.

Are you facing next-generation computing issues in your system? Contact us, and we will help you solve them.