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SEMI worked with the Metal Industries Research and Development Center (MIRDC) and organized International Semiconductor Smart Manufacturing Forum to help Taiwan vendors upgrade to smart factories and incorporate automation into production management, manufacturing information technologies and data analysis.
During the forum, representatives from manufacturers such as TSMC, Siemens, Microsoft, DISCO and academic organization - National Cheng Kung University (NCKU) interacted with industry members and shared their insights on how to improve Taiwan’s competitiveness in the global semiconductor market.
Since foundation, Taiwan semiconductor sector has been a key player in the global market, maintaining leading positions in wafer foundry, packaging and testing. Looking into the future when competition in the global semiconductor market is bound to get fiercer, effective introduction and implementation of smart manufacturing will definitely help local manufacturers further improve their production flows.
Peter Chang, deputy director of TSMC discussed how the company improves OEM expertise for better customer service. He mentioned TSMC’s leadership in the wafer foundry market lies in its excellent technology know-how, manufacturing capacity and customer loyalty, and manufacturing capacity happens to be closely related to smart manufacturing.
He added that TSMC’s smart wafer fabs own critical IT technologies like big data analysis, virtual cloud computing, precision process control and smart diagnosis. These technologies not only effectively reduced TSMC’s equipment investment, but also help to improve capacity and create more opportunities for the company and its partners.
Tino Hildebrand, director and head of Business Units Factory Automation, Process Automation and Vertical Sales at Siemens Limited Taiwan, gave a speech entitled “Digitalization to Enable the Future
He said the internet is revolutionizing the business and creates major challenges for manufacturing companies. To enable migration to smart manufacturing, Siemens has come up with the idea of “Digital Enterprise,” a platform integrating key elements like product lifecycle management (PLM), manufacturing execution system (MES) and automation to reinforce productivity and competitiveness.
He also emphasized that factory automation and process automation are different on the fundamentals: the former focuses on product/production lifecycle management and total integration, while the latter is all about engineering-to-operation integration, integrated process planning and operation lifecycles. Hildebrand believed that different industries have different needs, and the essence of smart manufacturing and Industry 4.0 is to build custom-made, highly-automated production process around a company’s actual conditions and strategies.
Han Tiong Law, Microsoft’s industry director of Worldwide Discrete Manufacturing, APJ, pointed out that while Industry 4.0 is about the manufacturing industry, it doesn’t mean that other sectors don’t have to respond to it. The service sector in the back end will also be affected and need to change. Smart manufacturing can bring new business models and innovation to the entire industry.
Law said the manufacturing industry needs to invest in big data and cloud if it wants to enable information system evolution. Real-time response to the production process becomes possible with the Internet. Product optimization and lower process costs can also be achieved. Moreover, being smart can help end devices further reduce failures and downtime.
Fan-Tien Cheng, NCKU chair professor and senior advisor to Foresight Technology, said manufacturing execution system has always been a critical issue in the realm of Industry 4.0, while semiconductor fabrication is all about the yield rate. However, it’s hard to test all the dies in a limited time frame. Virtual metrology can achieve comprehensive testing by creating linear and nonlinear algorithms with historical data. If the tests can find dies with defects and identify the problems, there is a chance to boost the yield to nearly 100%.
Cheng elaborated that with virtual metrology, as well as smart manufacturing, being incorporated into the automation process, further evolution to Industry 4.1 is also possible. In other words, semiconductor manufacturers will be able to make products with “zero defect” in the foreseeable future.
Yuki Takayama, manager of Sales Planning Department, Asia Pacific Sales Division at DISCO, also started his automation speech with the yield rate issue.
He said the first step to automation is OEE (overall equipment efficiency) improvement, while the approach to OEE improvement should start with the EES (equipment engineering system). An EES includes SPC (statistical process control) and FDC (fault detection and classification) systems: the former focuses on quality inspection and quality of final products, while the latter is more about alarm management and condition reports. Both SPC and FDC are indispensable.
According to Takayama, chip manufacturers and IC packaging companies need to adopt SPC and FDC systems, and after they gain enough experience, automation efficiency and product yield rates will be further improved.
As the semiconductor industry continues to evolve, the issue of smart manufacturing will be getting more attention in the future. “In SEMICON Taiwan 2015, we set up a theme pavilion and seminars on smart manufacturing for the very first time. The issue has since increased its visibility and is becoming a hot topic in the industry,” said Terry Tsao, president of SEMI Taiwan.
“SEMI expecting to set up the smart manufacturing committee in April, and on top of that, when SEMICON Taiwan 2016 is held in September, the event will feature an even bigger pavilion and more seminars on smart manufacturing. We hope to build a multi-channel platform for leading players in chip fabrication and smart manufacturing supply chains, and help them find opportunities for transformation and ways to tackle future competition or challenges.”
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