Cincom Smalltalk™ has been used for numerous Manufacturing applications. Below are a few examples:
Rudolph Technologies, Inc. is a software development and integration services company for the semiconductor industry. Rudolph delivers advanced process control, equipment control, and equipment integration to semiconductor device and equipment makers worldwide. ControlWORKS is its control system solution, created with funding from Wright-Patterson AFB, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and Texas Instruments beginning in 1989.
Rudolph Technologies sold its first commercial license of ControlWORKS, the control software for manufacturing microchips, in 1994. Today, more than 6,000 ControlWORKS systems serve the semiconductor industry. Semiconductor manufacturers pay millions of dollars for production tools, so they need control software to be infinitely adaptable to their process requirements. Rudolph’s challenge is to produce a configurable machine-control development framework that delivers a wide range of supervisory functions, as well as embedded real-time control of manufacturing processes. With VisualWorks, Rudolph helps these manufacturers get their tools to market in months instead of years, reduce their control organizations up to 90 percent, and cut maintenance costs with built-in standard processes.
So, how did Rudolph achieve this level of success?
“We make our customers successful … and they are successful because we met the goals we set forth at the start. VisualWorks Smalltalk made those goals achievable.” – Becky Cooper, Deputy Director of Control Systems, Rudolph Technologies
Today, virtually all of the world’s french fries (95% to be exact) pass through the Automated Defect Removal System (ADR), created by Key Technology, Inc. (Key) of Walla Walla, Washington. In fact, Key has changed the way food is inspected, sorted, handled and prepared for processing, from its first equipment designed solely to separate foreign material from raw peas, to its most recent release of Tegra, the first automated optical sorter of its kind. Tegra, whose user operating system is written primarily using VisualWorks, is able to sort by color, shape, and size criteria, and eject defective product using jets of air with pinpoint accuracy at rates of up to a million objects a minute. To enable Key to apply the Tegra sorter to many different products, the software had to be portable and very flexible, both from an “add new features” perspective and from a runtime scalability point of view. But these weren’t the only reasons Key chose VisualWorks as its application development environment.
To produce Tegra, Key wanted to write its applications in Smalltalk. But to apply the Tegra sorter to many different products, the software had to be portable and very flexible. Key chose VisualWorks for its emulated graphics framework, cross-platform capabilities and because Key’s machines ship worldwide in 15 or more languages. As Key Technology expanded into new markets with its process-automation systems, it investigated the Linux operating system’s advantages over Microsoft Windows for OEMs—namely, more choice and control. But having so many VisualWorks applications, Key’s software engineers needed to ensure platform compatibility and product performance. Adapting its turnkey systems for Linux, Key resolved numerous issues with Windows, preserved its application investments, prototyped new selection algorithms and found new customers sorting everything from fruits and nuts to titanium ore.
“It’s more than being easy to use … it’s also how you’re able to get improved time-to-market when you use Cincom Smalltalk. Cincom Smalltalk is such an excellent development language that you can develop fast, and it allows you to concentrate on solutions while you’re coding.” - Travis Griggs, Key Technology Software Engineer
Key Technology was also aware of Cincom’s presence in nearly every country around the world.
“We also knew that our machines go all over the world, with 15 or so languages that we ship the system under. So another reason we selected VisualWorks was because of Cincom’s excellent internationalization c apabilities and support expertise.” - Travis Griggs
In January 1989, the U.S. Department of Defense awarded Texas Instruments (TI) a $112.6 million contract to develop the wafer fab of the future. The Pentagon’s goal was to ensure that American semiconductor manufacturers could produce the micro-electronics vital to U.S. defense by developing and commercializing new technologies and dramatically reducing the time and cost involved in producing silicon wafers. TI’s goal was to pare the cost of building a wafer fab from several hundred million dollars to $30 million, decrease the wafer production cycle time from 30 days to three days, and make the production of small batches of wafers economical. TI was also responsible for making these advancements commercially available to other U.S. manufacturers.
TI teamed leading-edge machinery and production techniques with a computer integrated manufacturing (CIM) system to oversee the entire wafer production process. TI chose an object-oriented approach to improve productivity and application quality, lower maintenance costs, and take advantage of object reusability. Cincom Smalltalk was chosen to develop the prototype for the application. Smalltalk enabled TI to develop the first fully integrated prototype of the CIM system in just six months, including the time spent training programmers to use Smalltalk and the concepts of object-oriented programming. As a result, TI met the goals for the project that the Defense Department set.
TI developers were so impressed by Smalltalk’s pure object-oriented nature and the significant code reuse during the prototyping phase that they chose to develop the production system with the VisualWorks client and server tool, instead of C++. The production system’s overall goal of flexibly handling all aspects of wafer processing to cut costs, improve quality, and reduce cycle time was flushed-out with several specific requirements. These included support for client-server computing acrossa wide range of platforms, a customizable graphical user interface (GUI) builder, and support for quickly incorporating new features and functionality. VisualWorks met all of these requirements.