KLA-Tencor Introduces Interactive On-Line Customer Support
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San Jose, CA, May 1, 2000-KLA-Tencor Corp. (Nasdaq: KLAC) today introduced iSupport?, an innovative, on-line customer support offering. This support breakthrough enables KLA-Tencor's technical support and applications engineers to remotely access data from KLA-Tencor tools and operate them in real time to diagnose and rapidly resolve problems when they occur-all via a secure on-line connection that is controlled by the customer at all times. iSupport provides continuous tool monitoring and reporting, as well as automated early detection of system problems, at the customer site.

"Customer support issues such as lost productivity due to tool downtime, delays experienced in reaching factory experts and steeper learning curves for new tool operators are all having an increasingly greater impact on fab profitability," stated Christian Bastoul, vice president of KLA-Tencor's Customer Group Operations. "iSupport enables KLA-Tencor to rapidly respond to our customers at the first sign of a problem with our tools without requiring a service or applications engineer to travel to the customer site, thereby saving the customer a considerable amount of time. This new capability allows us to improve customer service while helping our customers maximize overall equipment efficiency and lower the cost of ownership (CoO) of their KLA-Tencor tools."

Data collected from iSupport is placed in the integrated diagnostic monitoring (iDM) server, which KLA-Tencor installs directly in the customer's fab. This intelligent server continuously monitors tools that are connected to iSupport and alerts both the customer and KLA-Tencor when a problem is detected. The iDM server also functions as the administrative gatekeeper for KLA-Tencor's On-line Support Center (OSC) by preventing unauthorized access to the tool.

At the request of the customer, KLA-Tencor's OSC technical and applications engineers log onto their central server and the iDM server to remotely access the tool on the customer's fab network. The OSC desktop mimics the keyboard and display monitors on the tool, enabling the OSC engineers to access log files, error messages, recipe parameters and sensor data, just as if they were actually in the fab. From there, the engineers can assess system performance, execute diagnostics and assist with recipe setups. OSC provides security features that ensure every possible safeguard has been taken to protect both the customer's and KLA-Tencor's assets. In addition, the customer is in complete control of the secure information at all times.

"This program has tremendous potential to substantially reduce time to solution for any service or support that does not require parts replacement such as tool recipe or alignment problems, software upgrades, equipment setup and customer training," added Bastoul. "When spare parts are required, iSupport can still reduce tool downtime significantly by determining which part of the tool is in need of repair before the engineer is dispatched. As a result, the required part can be shipped to the customer site in time for the service engineer to arrive and repair the tool."

KLA-Tencor is designing iSupport into all future KLA-Tencor product lines. With customer-beta-site testing complete, iSupport is currently compatible with KLA-Tencor 213x wafer inspection tools running Windows NT-based software. Many more KLA-Tencor products will be compatible by the end of calendar year 2000.

iSupport will be available to U.S. customers this month, and to international customers later this year.

About KLA-Tencor: KLA-Tencor is the world leader in yield management and process control solutions for semiconductor manufacturing and related industries. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., the company has sales and service offices around the world. An S&P 500 company, KLA-Tencor is traded on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol KLAC.

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