Key Advantages of Smart Fabs in Semiconductor Manufacturing

Semiconductor production is a complicated industry, and even minor improvements can have a significant impact on the bottom line at any point in the process.

FREMONT, CA: Increasingly complex market needs require semiconductor fabs to look for ways to enhance manufacturing flexibility, time to market, and profitability, whether they are integrated device makers or fabless/foundry models. The complexities of developing, manufacturing, and bringing products to market are increasing, as is the rate at which new goods are introduced.Businesses are tying product design and testing to manufacturing to fulfill these needs, allowing for closed-loop feedback on both the product and the process. Smart manufacturing in semiconductors is all about optimizing processes from idea to design through manufacturing and servicing, not only connected devices in the fab.

What is Smart-Fab?

Top 10 Semiconductor Tech Consulting/Service Companies - 2020The entire manufacturing process lifecycle is digitally connected to realize the smart fab's cycle time, yield, and cost-benefit. It extends far beyond today's semiconductor manufacturing execution systems (MES) and its track and trace capabilities.While advancements to track and trace are primarily in place, thanks to customers who make ICs for regulated devices (in automotive, medical, aerospace and defense, security, and biometrics). Technologies that connect design to manufacturing have only recently emerged as essential resources for fabs looking to improve fab performance by leveraging the history and advanced predictive analytics.A smart fab can be a single collaborative platform that contains digital twins of the product, manufacturing, and performance rather than static models.

The term "digital twin" is commonly used to characterize the as-designed product in aerospace, military, and automotive areas. Manufacturers may bind product information, decisions, and history together in a structured, integrated fashion that captures product innovation capabilities across the product lifecycle, based on the digital twin concept.It's known as digital thread, and it allows for traceability throughout the innovation process. It also makes things simpler to reuse the design in downstream processes, therefore saves a lot of time while simultaneously improving quality because everyone is working from the same source of truth.Initially, smart manufacturing might have concentrated on the digital threads of development and production, but the usage of product data is a critical component of process improvement.

Scheduling and MES are combined in a smart semiconductor fab to offer an environment for up-to-date, resource-constrained perspectives of what to do next at each workstation. Advanced MES can model complex processes, but they also need to manage requirements, recipes, masks, and tools in reusable functions.To adapt to the specific demands of every given business, all components of a smart fab must be configurable. Platforms for developing low-code and no-code applications are essential. These platforms make it possible to use custom software applications to accelerate corporate change.

Designers of any skill level can now construct applications to meet their specific requirements. By linking new and legacy systems, automating, and enabling data analytics that offers actionable intelligence, this develops a network of internal citizen developers who gain insight and speed up digitalization. 

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