Setting a New Standard: SEMIViews
Can you imagine implementing more than 2,000 different user-created specifications to create one product? And scrapping a perfectly good product because it had little chance of meeting another customer’s spec? Even worse, imagine continually re-adjusting manufacturing tools from one order to the next due to this lack of standardization.
In the early 1970s, this scenario existed in our industry, specifically in the silicon wafer segment. The lack of standardization resulted in lost time and higher costs for everyone involved. And as a silicon executive with Monsanto at the time, I was in the thick of it.
This situation was the catalyst for the formation of SEMI standards, an initiative that came about in 1973 – three years after the establishment of SEMI itself. In the ensuing three and a half decades, the SEMI Standards program has developed from a handful of people trying to set common diameters for silicon wafers to a global program with 19 technical committees and 2,000 volunteers working on hundreds of documents for products, systems and procedures.
Just as SEMI Standards are now an essential part of the infrastructure for the microelectronics and flat panel display industries, they will play a vital role in reducing manufacturing costs for future photovoltaic (PV) cells. In a related development, the SEMI PV Group recently released the Global Photovoltaic Standards Roadmap Guidance Document, which identifies opportunities for reducing cost and accelerating innovation in silicon cell and module manufacturing through industry standards.
Overall, SEMI has published almost 800 SEMI Standards to address critical manufacturing specifications for factory automation, environment, health and safety, substrates, and metrics for manufacturing efficiency.
The implementation of standards has collectively saved the semiconductor industry billions of dollars through the elimination of redundant and conflicting efforts. In one case dating back to 1993, Intel saved $6 million on a new fab when it used the SEMI S2 standard for pre-selection of equipment.
NIST has estimated that collective savings from measurement, software and interoperability standards used in the semiconductor industry will approach $10 billion in the period from 1996 to 2011.
Now I’m pleased to see a new stage in the development of SEMI standards— one that will deliver even more productivity gains for our industry.
Last month, SEMI officially launched SEMIViews, an on-line standards product providing access to all SEMI International Standards in a Web 2.0 format with search, notation and other enhanced productivity capabilities. A key benefit of SEMIViews is that it allows users to create their own settings and organize the standards documents they need and use most often.
Future SEMIViews enhancements under discussion include collaboration on document development, intra-company communities, update notifications, and online training covering the best implementation methods for complex standards.
As the new delivery system for SEMI International Standards, SEMIViews will replace the Standards CD-ROM subscription product over time. To help our members with this new service, SEMI has developed a 15-minute SEMIViews product introduction webcast available “on demand” at www.semi.org/semiviews. Throughout the year, live training webcasts will be available each month with recorded sessions and training demos featured on the SEMIViews web page.
I encourage you to try SEMIViews and experience the benefits and inherent productivity gains. As always, we welcome your feedback on new SEMI products and services. For specific questions about SEMIViews, please contact Tonya Maudlin; phone 408.943.6964, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stanley T. Myers
President and CEO