Still Much to Learn About Improving Wafer Fab Productivity

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Still Much to Learn About Improving Wafer Fab Productivity
-- ASMC Promotes Shared Learning among IDMs, Suppliers, Academia --

“Collaborate, innovate, accelerate” would be a catch phrase worthy of any company in the semiconductor supply chain. It also happens to be the theme of the 18th annual IEEE/SEMI Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturing Conference (ASMC) 2007, to be held June 11-12, 2007, in Stresa, Italy.

“To improve efficiencies we need to focus on collaboration, innovation and then accelerating those into the manufacturing environment,” said Dave Gross, ASMC co-chair and Director, Global Manufacturing Systems Technology, Technology Development Group, Advanced Micro Devices Inc. “IDMs and suppliers are collaborating because we realize we can’t go it alone anymore.”

ASMC provides a platform for information sharing among device makers and equipment and materials suppliers. The focus is on real world manufacturing problems and how to solve them. A key topic for discussion at this year’s conference will be “300mm Prime”, the industry-wide effort to maximize productivity from existing technology platforms.

“We are one year down the road in the direction of 300mm Prime and more people have ideas about addressing the issue,” said Thomas Beeg, ASMC co-chair and Senior Staff Engineer, Industrial Engineering, Qimonda AG.

At the same time, Beeg points out that 300mm Prime and the proposed 450mm wafer transition are compelling issues for only a handful of companies. “There are plenty of 200mm fabs out there that still work quite well and make money. ASMC offers many interesting topics for people working in these fabs, too” he said.

As such, many of the papers to be presented at ASMC are focused on how to get the most out of the current installed base of tools, both 200mm and 300mm. “We want to help drive efficiencies and productivity out of those investments,” said Gross. He believes there is much to be learned, and applied, to improve the productivity of the existing wafer fab infrastructure. “If we make a big change and move to the next wafer size without learning how to be efficient where we are today, we are leaving a lot on the table,” he said.

Qimonda’s Beeg points out that in terms of efficiently managing equipment, the semiconductor industry has some catching up to do in relation to other mature manufacturing industries. “Even if you enable more advanced processes using existing [older] equipment we need to understand much better what is going on in the equipment itself. The engineering and equipment capability will become more important,” he said.

ASMC alternates each year between Boston and a European city. The long term success of the event can be attributed to a strong and loyal core following, according to Margaret Kindling, Senior Program Manager, SEMI. “They come back year after year. The people who are attending are really learning from it,” she said. “It’s not just the theory or the science. They can take information back to the fabs and share it with their colleagues.”

In deciding on the papers to be presented at ASMC, the conference committee favored authors who collaborated up or down the supply chain, or with academia. All the papers at the conference are peer reviewed and will be published. As well as the oral presentations, an interactive session comprising posted papers provides an opportunity for delegates to meet in groups and discuss solutions to problems.

The ASMC 2007 agenda includes presentations on advanced processes and materials, lithography, defect density, yield management, metrology, DFM and more. “It is hard sometimes to find a pure session for this, or a pure session for that because there is a lot of overlap,” said Beeg. “But this is good for the delegates because it is very easy to find something that fits your needs. If you are running a fab you can find almost every hot topic in this conference,” he added.

SEMI is a global industry association serving companies that provide equipment, materials and services used to make semiconductors, displays, nano-scaled structures, micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS) and related technologies. SEMI maintains offices in Austin, Beijing, Brussels, Hsinchu, Moscow, San Jose, California; Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo, and Washington, D.C. For more information, visit

Register for ASMC 2007now or for further information contact SEMI:

In North America:

Margaret Kindling

In Europe:

Johanna Turpeinen