Global chip crisis – Hilscher supports the setup of new semiconductor factories

Hilscher publishes comX with rotary switches - A communication module for the semiconductor industry.
New Communication Module: comX Rotary!

The future prospects for the semiconductor industry are quite positive, with a projected growth of around 9% in 2022. However, the industry is repeatedly faced with supply bottlenecks due to the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, amongst other factors. By developing a new comX communication module, especially suited for the semiconductor industry, Hilscher is supporting to cope with the current situation.


25 years Embedded Modules from Hilscher

Hilscher communication modules have been used in industrial automation by a number of successful companies for over 25 years. Their ability to support all leading Real-Time Ethernet protocols as master or slave in exactly one design is very popular with manufacturers of automation devices, such as robot controllers, PLCs or drives.

Hilscher's "comX" standard is based on a well-thought-out platform strategy. All comX modules have the same dimensions and are pin-compatible. Thus, the user can cover the complete range of all industrial protocols with a single motherboard design. Thanks to standardized interfaces, it is possible to react quickly and flexibly to new market requirements, saving the maximum in time and costs.


comX 51CA-RE\R for the Semiconductor Industry

EtherCAT has become the established communication protocol in the field of semiconductor manufacturing. The Real-Time Ethernet protocols are typically addressed via the IP address or remotely. For the semiconductor industry, ETG (EtherCAT Technology Group) has defined a special profile, which was specified in the ETG.5003 "Semiconductor Device Profile". The largest manufacturers of production machines for the semiconductor industry, such as Applied Materials, Lam Research, and Tokyo Electron, were actively involved in the development of the standard, which made it easy to specify interoperability of different devices.

The communication protocol EtherCAT is used as standard in the semiconductor market, and the demand for products that address by means of rotary coding switches has been growing exponentially for years. Equipment manufacturers who want to sell their products in the semiconductor market will no longer be able to avoid the ETG standard.

The comX 51CA-RE\R is based on the classic comX 51 design, which is well established in the market. With the addition of physical address rotary coding switches, the explicit device ID can be set according to the Common Device Profile (CDP, ETG.5003-1). The interaction of Hilscher's in-house developed hardware and software, enables users to develop a device according to the Common Device Profile, which forms the basis for device development according to SDP (Specific Device Profile, ETG.5003-2xxx) for the following applications:

  • Abatement and Sub Fab Systems 
  • DC & RF Power Generator 
  • Mass Flow Controller
  • Process Control Valve
  • RF Match 
  • Roughing Pump 
  • Temperature Controller 
  • Turbo Pump 
  • Vacuum Pressure Gauge

Reacting quickly is essential in times of crisis

With the comX 51CA-RE\R, Hilscher is responding to the need to expand existing production facilities and create new capacities in semiconductor production. Manufacturers of production machines can rely on Hilscher's many years of experience with EtherCAT but also on the reliability of the comX module. 

  • EtherCAT Slave network interface for devices of semiconductor manufacturing equipment
  • Developed according to the ETG.5003-1 standard, the Common Device Profile
  • Complete slave interface with network connector "onboard"


Thank you for reading the first part of our comX blog series. Next up: Part 2 - Embedded Modules: Market Leader for more than a Quarter of a Century

Read the second part here: Part 2 - Embedded Modules: Market Leader for more than a Quarter of a Century

Read the third part here: Part 3 - comX: Flexible Communication Module for Automation

Read the fourth part here: Part 4 - comX 51CA-RE\R: It’s now the turn of the Semiconductor Industry