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AI: Revolutionizing Factory Automation and Shaping Our Experiences

Join our technical leaders David Hanny, Selim Nahas, Madhav Kidambi, and Dan Meier as they explore how AI is accelerating the next generation of factory automation and transforming our daily lives.


So, I want to turn the focus a little bit to AI. You touched on it there for a moment and talked about the complexity of the environment that just keeps growing. I met with a customer recently and we were talking very, very briefly about AI and the customer quipped, I don’t need AI.

I need a ‘why’. I need something that tells me ‘why’ something is happening. I need something that helps me to solve those business problems in manufacturing.

How many of you were surprised by how fast ChatGPT came on the market? Yeah, right. I mean, we all knew something was coming, but did you expect it to be that far along? It was the fastest product launch and ramp of any technology product ever. Yes, yes.

So, a little prediction here. If something comparable to that was to happen in the manufacturing world, that would be a vast departure from anything on the market today. There’s nothing like it today.

The question is, who’s poised to do it? Is there anybody on the field that is actually positioned to do it? Personally, biased? I think we are. Because if you want to, so there are companies in the past that had this idea that you could do this, right? Like they had this notion that we can do anything. We can look at data, mine it and use AI sort of principles to mine it.

The problem was they skipped the fundamentals, which is what is in that data? What’s the clarity of the data? What’s the resolution of the data? What is the meaning of the data? But if we wanted to go to some place where we’re really going to depart the performance of a current facility, that’s not going to happen unless the foundation is really solid. And in order to do that, you have to be capable of providing a total CIM.

So those capabilities are there. Now, what SmartFactory is enabling is also connecting. So it helps, for example, you know, we can enable the robots to drive or take those actions. So that’s the unique thing what SmartFactory does, is it can enable the AI devices, AI-based devices to take actions in the factory.

And that we are seeing today, right? And then there’s a second set of machine learning-based capabilities where, you know, where there are various applications you know, related to how you kind of, you know, detect some pattern or predict some pattern. So again, there have been a lot of, you know, progress that has been made. And where SmartFactory again brings the kind of a unique value is earlier what we talked about is this integration capability where we can take the data from factory productivity systems, from MES, from our, you know, E3 platform, and use that to make, you know, better machine learning model.

So we’re really talking about AI in many ways in a very specific model, right? An AI to manage wafer yield, for example, an AI to manage productivity or cycle time or throughput or tool loading, for example, right? And I think what we’re, within the SmartFactory software suite, what we’re doing today is building a foundation for the AI of the future in many ways. Yes, we have to build AI into our different components. But at some point when we get to the next step, artificial general intelligence, we can make an AI that really controls the whole factory.

And to me, that’s what’s really exciting as I look forward to the next five to 10 years in our trajectory of where we’re going with things. It’s really heightening productivity to the maximum level. And I think that we get to that point, we’re doing that at point levels within the factory today with our different systems, but to be able to take all of that and integrate that with a factory level AI to be able to distribute and control all of those individual factory components, that’s where we can do much with very, very little.

It’s exciting to think about.

About the Author

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SmartFactory Automation Solution Experts Team
The Applied SmartFactory® automation solution experts team develops integrated automation solutions for semiconductor manufacturers to improve the performance of factories. From implementing a manufacturing execution system that advances collaboration and automation, to integrating AI/ML technologies for faster decision making, SmartFactory automation solutions enable manufacturers to prioritize quality and reliability across every stage of the manufacturing process.