Today, we are witnessing a paradigm shift in process control that requires modern software solutions to enable maximum semiconductor fab efficiency. Defined a decade ago, the vision of Industry 4.0 to digitize the manufacturing sector aligns seamlessly with the needs of advanced manufacturing chip fabs. Driven by disruptions, such as data scalability and connectivity, analytics, and optimized human-machine interaction, smart manufacturing practices are vital to the creation of semiconductors due to their sheer complexity. The realization of this Industry 4.0 vision is required for today’s semiconductor fabs.
The latest artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technology enables automatic data analysis, supplements the knowledge and experience of subject matter experts in decision-making, and alerts fabs to potential process and yield issues. In addition, fabs can benefit from the recent industrialization of the cloud, which enables the connection of multiple fabs to further share learnings and enhance the process across fabs. When used effectively, software and data hosted in the cloud can sort and find the right data to analyze and use for optimizations, significantly diminish downtime, protect the greater supply chain from interruptions, help companies meet sustainability obligations, and, ultimately, beat out competitors.
Put simply, software powered by AI and ML brings in the necessary process control paradigm shift mentioned earlier. Through analyzing petabytes of data across multiple fabs and assisting subject matter experts in the decision-making process, the right software allows manufacturers to drive toward the goal of “lights out” semiconductor fabs that require limited human interaction to run around the clock to increase productivity, enhance quality, and trim costs.