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In semiconductor front-end fabs as well as back-end assembly, test and packaging (ATP) facilities, efficient and flexible factory-floor production dispatching is vital to high productivity. Dispatching is the process of determining the next job that should be processed—ideally in real time—then assigning it to the right tool or station and ensuring it gets there at the right time and with minimum queue time.
Discussions about advanced process control (APC) often put the algorithms in the forefront and the engineer in the background. With deep learning receiving so much recent attention, people are understandably fascinated by its claimed potential to extract the value inherent in the data amassed by sensors, metrology tools and other sources.
Editor’s Note: We’re delighted to welcome Joe Farah to the Nanochip Express team as the author of a new column, “Tool Talk.” His idea is to bring customers tips and techniques that help them optimize the performance of their Applied Materials tools. With nearly 20 years at Applied—first as a CE, then as a field service manager, and now as a director of service product lines for dielectric systems—Joe knows tools. And he knows how to help you make them hum.
Photomasks—used during photolithography to project circuit patterns onto silicon wafers layer-by-layer—are essential to the production of semiconductors. Recent strong chip demand has led to record revenues in the photomask market, with more than $4 billion projected for 2019.
The escalating costs of following Moore’s Law have shifted the semiconductor industry’s focus to More-than-Moore (MtM) technologies, where analog/mixed-signal, RF, MEMS, image sensing, power or other technologies may be integrated with CMOS in a variety of planar, 2.5D and 3D architectures.
The annual Advanced Process Control (APC) Conference will convene in Austin, Texas in October, marking its 30th year as the focal point for chipmakers and suppliers to learn about the latest smart manufacturing solutions for microelectronics.
Few would argue that we are in an era of unprecedented growth at all nodes of chip manufacturing. Semiconductor industry revenues exceeded $419 billion in 2017, and forecasts call for about $450 billion this year. To meet the growing demand from a host of industries with aggressive time-to-market goals, new semiconductor fabs are springing up worldwide, and existing ones expanding.
Among the many tenets of smart manufacturing, “digital twin” solutions represent a significant opportunity for microelectronics manufacturers to leverage existing and emerging technologies to improve quality and throughput, and reduce variability and cost.
Yield enhancement has always been a key goal for semiconductor manufacturers, but has taken on increased urgency given the strong demand for chips to meet a diverse and growing set of applications.