Cluster Concurrent Programming vs.Traditional Parallel Programming

High volume production can be easily achieved by operating multiple standalone programmers such as SuperPro 611S or SuperPro 6100 concurrently.

Cluster programmers provide a flexible, easy and cost effective way for volume production over traditional parallel programming. A setup could start at a 2-unit cluster and expand up to 15 units.

In cluster programming, each unit (socket) operates independent of others. An operator could operate efficiently by removing programmed chips and inserting new chips. Cluster setups help eliminate idle time.

In contrast, all chips begin and end programming simultaneously in fixed socket gang models. Either the operator or programmer will be idled during operation.

Example: If a chip takes twenty seconds to program and the operator takes five seconds to remove and insert a new chip, a five-unit cluster setup will operate optimally without any idle time.

Fixed 4-socket: The operator takes 20 seconds to remove / insert chips on a four-socket model. An 8-gang parallel programmer will require 40 seconds (8sockets * 5sec) operator time and 20 sec program time.

Cluster Setup

In a 5-cluster operation, program time for each chip is 5 sec, which results in 720 chips / hr throughput. In the 8 gang parallel programming 8 chips are programmed in 60 sec, which yields 480 chip / hr throughput.

If a chip takes 5sec to program, then 2 cluster station will have optimum efficiency at 720 chips/hr throughput. In the 8-gang parallel programming, the operator time will be 40 seconds and program time will be 5 seconds yielding 640 chips/hr throughput.

The following conclusion could be drawn from the example above:

  • In cluster operation, users can adjust the number of programmers for optimum efficiency at the lowest cost based on throughput requirement
  • In fixed socket operation, there will always be wasted idle time

There are additional hardware considerations as listed below:

  • In the cluster setup, only the defective unit needs to be removed and the remaining units will continue to operate. In the fixed socket programmers, any defect in a socket will require the entire unit to be sent back for repair.
  • If any chip is found to be defective, fixed-socket programmers will not Program / Verify / Blank Check any of the devices.

Since 2010, Xeltek has been offering SuperPro 5004GP, SuperPro 5004EGP, and SuperPro 501S 4-C as production programming solutions. Considering the outcome and the performance, SuperPro Cluster programmers yield the highest value in return. Later versions of SuperPro series are SuperPro 6104GP, SuperPro 6100 and SuperPro 611S

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