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Advanced Manufacturing System

Objective

The manufacturing process of ICs has special requirements concerning the establishment of long-term strategy on software and hardware packages for its full automation. The objective of this project was to satisfy those requirements within an advanced integrated manufacturing system concept. In particular, attention was paid to problems associated with increased fabrication complexity, small device geometries, large chip-size, flexibility (process, product, equipment, facility, etc), increased yield (maintenance concepts, process stability, people and process-production interactions), increased wafer diameter, new process concepts, automation, and fast materials cycle time.
The following topics were addressed:
-production information systems
-networking, communications, interfaces
-automation island definition and experiment
-facility monitoring systems
-materials handling systems
-manufacturing line integration
-manufacturing requirements with emphasis on quality, service and production cost issues.
Advanced manufacturing system (AMS) was a development programme to explore the software requirements and the automation concepts, to provide capability and competitiveness to the European semiconductor industry.

Without supplying new products (software, equipment), AMS tested packages and developed experimental tools in real industrial situations, to demonstrate the potential benefits by defining specifications for interfaces and communication protocols, as well as for software functions.

The objective of this project was to satisfy these requirements for automation of an advanced integrated manufacturing system concept. In particular, attention was paid to problems associated with increased fabrication complexity, small device geometries, large chip size, flexibility, increased yield, increased wafer diameter, new process concepts, automation, and fast materials cycle time. The following topics were addressed: production information systems; networking, communications, interfaces; automation island definition and experiment; facility monitoring systems; materials handling systems; manufacturing line integration; and manufacturing requirements with emphasis on quality, service and production cost issues. Comprehensive studies and requirement analyses were carried out, and reports delivered on the application model and functional architecture of the production information system, statistical process modelling, definition of network requirements and evaluation of software packages, connection of equipment with host computers, linkage of equipment in the photolithography area, analysis and requirements for material handling systems, and software and hardware flexibility for automated very large scale integration (VLSI) manufacturing. An initial demonstrator was set up in the photolithography area. A common model of a computer aided manufacture CAM system was defined with equipment interfacing, automation island, software and sensors for facility monitoring, wafer storage and transportation, wafer marking, modelling and fab simulation. Subsequently, detailed specifications of common CAM system requirements, and the development of specific modules for tracking products and equipment recipes were produced, as were interface modules for equipment connection and distributed databases. Cell controller definition, development and implementation in different environments and experimental robot installations were carried out. An expert system was developed for o perator help in 2 applications, and a software tool for wafer fab modelling/simulation. The system demonstration was centred around 2 automation islands, photolithography and diffusion.
During the first year of the project, comprehensive studies and requirement analyses were carried out, and reports delivered on the application model and functional architecture of the production information system, statistical process modelling, definiti on of network requirements and evaluation of software packages, connection of equipment with host computers, linkage of equipment in the photolithography area, analysis and requirements for material handling systems, and software and hardware flexibility for automated VLSI manufacturing. An initial demonstrator was set up in the photolithography area.
In the second year and the first half of the third year, work was mainly devoted to the definition of a common model of CAM system, equipment interfacing, automation island, software and sensors for facility monitoring, wafer storage and transportation, wafer marking, modelling and fab simulation.
Highlights of the third year's progress were:
-detailed specifications of common CAM system requirements, and the development of specific modules for tracking products and equipment recipes
-interface modules for equipment connection and distributed databases
-cell controller definition, development and implementation in different environments and experimental robot installations
-export system development for operator help in two applications
-software tool for wafer fab modelling/simulation.
During the fourth and last year of the project, the participants have consolidated and completed the work planed on the technical topics mentioned above.
The system demonstration was centred around two automation islands, photolithography and diffusion.
Exploitation
Process line integration/automation has now become one of the key factors of success in the manufacturing of commodity or specialised (ASIC) ICs.
The exploitation of the project's results will help the Community IC manufacturers concerned to improve their manufacturing capabilities. A technical interest group on VLSI manufacturing automation has been set up as part of the project, organising regular workshops to which other Community organisations are invited to attend. In this way it is expected to ensure a higher degree of harmonisation and to further increase the impact of the project.
The results of the project are also being used in the Manufacturing Science and Technology project (number 5081).

Coordinator

SGS Thomson Microelectronics SA
Address
17 Avenue Des Martyrs
38340 Grenoble
France

Participants (2)

GEC Marconi Electronic Devices Ltd
United Kingdom
Address
Lincoln Industrial Park Doddington Road
LN6 3LF Lincoln
Thomson Microelectronics Srl (SGS)
Italy
Address
Via Carlo Olivetti
20041 Agrate Brianza Milano