Insights: First, in the context of semiconductor, how would you define “computer integrated manufacturing”?
Bing: It’s simply the approach of using computer software applications to control, automate and
document the entire semiconductor manufacturing process—from front end wafer fabrication to
assembly, test, and packaging on the back end.
Insights: And what value does—or can—a CIM solution provide?
Insights: In your view, apart from deployment and speed, what other challenges do semiconductor fabs often have to address when adopting a CIM?
Insights: What is Applied Materials doing to address this gap?
Insights: In your view, what are the key performance indicators addressed by your CIM solution? Or those key areas of the solution worth highlighting?
I’d say accelerated time to market, reduced cycle time and better factory monitoring. More specifically, I’d say five key areas are worth noting here:
Full-automation of manufacturing operations
Process quality and yield
Time to market and cycle time
Our SmartFactory workflow engine, empowered by production simulation, provides intelligence in workload prediction and reduces material wait time, resulting in shorter cycle times and overall time to market.
Insights: Finally, what would you say is unique about Applied’s CIM offering?
Bing: Definitely experience. What I mean is that our SmartFactory CIM solution has been built with the best industrial expertise and knowledge in the industry. As the largest deployed CIM solution in the global semiconductor industry, it has been “hardened” (or developed over time) with each successive factory install. I think the key differentiators of our solution include:
Largest deployed CIM solution
Applied Materials is the leading semiconductor industry automation solution provider, with a team of nearly 1000 experts and three decades of experience automating semiconductor fabs.
Low or no customization requirements for integration
Most manufacturing operation management vendors own only a subset of capabilities in semi factory full auto needs, which requires significant customization to integrate various vendor products to cover full factory needs. In contrast, our SmartFactory CIM solution includes a comprehensive suite of SmartFactory solutions that are pre-integrated to cover semi factory full auto needs with low or no customization requirements.
Applied SmartFactory EngineeredWorks® provides the pre-composed dispatching rules, MES automation rules, and R2R controllers that support over 90% of factory full auto operation scenarios. These off-the-shelf capabilities enable fast deployment for new fab startups and speed to market.
Powerful self-service platforms
The APF platform allows factory industrial engineers or planners to program customized dispatching rules for specific dispatching situations without having to involve IT resources. Similarly, our Applied E3 platform enables factory process engineers to create run-to-run process controllers to tune their specific process parameters. These platforms empower users to control fab behavior.
Applied’s fully integrated SmartFactory CIM solution includes a wide breadth of mature capabilities, spanning manufacturing execution, process quality, factory productivity, and supply chain management. The semiconductor industry is using this automation suite to attain predictable yield and output results.