New Facilities, Information and Control Committees Formed in Korea


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New Facilities, Information and Control Committees Formed in Korea

By Natalie Shim, SEMI International Standards

Although Korea has long been a leader in developing Standards for the global FPD industry, activity is now picking up in semiconductor-related areas. In July 2010, the SEMI International Standards Committee authorized two new technical committees from Korea: the Information and Control (I&C) Committee and the Facilities Committee. Prior to formation of these committees, Korean facilities or equipment communication interface standardization was conducted through committees in North America, but Korea may now independently start standardization activity without waiting for approval from other regions. (Of course, all Standards ballots are distributed to the entire global committee membership.)

Dr. Chul-hong Ahn of Hynix, co-chair of the Korea I&C Committee, is optimistic about standardization opportunities in the future. "With the recent establishment of the Korea I&C Committee, the accumulated know-how from the domestic Korean semiconductor industry can now be transformed into international Standards." He continues, "If we apply the automation experience we have from the semiconductor industry to related industries such as LED and PV, we can contribute to these industries’ rapid development."

Recent investment reports show that Samsung Electronics and Hynix invested 40 billion USD and 17 billion USD respectively from 2005 to 2010, ranking them first and fourth in the world. Despite Korea’s substantial share of the world semiconductor market, though, to date Korean semiconductor-related Standard activity has been minor. Of the nearly 800 SEMI Standards currently published, there are no semiconductor Standards that were initiated in Korea. Among the more than 3,000 technologists working on SEMI Standards, less than 10 percent are from Korea, even if members active in FPD standards are included.

Geon-woo Lee (Miracom), another co-chair of the Korea I&C committee, is worried that Korea has substantial work to do to catch up in semiconductor standards development: "There is not sufficient recognition about the importance of the Standards activity in Korea. It is necessary for corporations to give active and continuous support of the activity, and it should be another mission of new committees to publicize the importance of the standardization activity and motivate more people to participate."

In recent years, however, Korean industry and government has recognized the importance of international standardization activity, and support is growing. For example, component, equipment, and material companies gathered together in 2008 to establish the Korea Standards Advisory Committee (KSAC). KSAC was quickly followed by the formation of two working groups to focus on areas where SEMI Standards are heavily used in Korea, automation and EHS. Subsequently, the Facilities Working Group started its first activity in March 2009.

These groups initially shared their experiences of implementing SEMI Standards and familiarized themselves of activities in other regions. The Automation WG spent over one year investigating existing standards and extracting problematic aspects in need of revision, leading to a proposed revision of SEMI E5: SEMI Equipment Communications Standard 2 Message Content (SECS-II). This activity is now underway, with Korea collaborating with the North America GEM300 Task Force. In addition to revising existing standards, the group is also working on a new standard for carrier transport prediction.

The Korea Facilities Committee similarly identified areas in need of Standards, and the Equipment Cleanness Task Force, applying the concept of Mini Environment, is working on a performance specification for Fan Filter Units to be built into equipment (differentiated from the Fan Filter Units used in clean rooms), as well as a test method.

In addition to the new Facilities and I&C Committees, there is potential for standardization of different technical areas in Korea. Interest in photovoltaics is on the rise, and EHS issues continue to be important. As Dr. Kwang-sun Kim, Chair of KSAC states, “Companies cannot survive in an internationally competitive marketplace without a full understanding of international standards. In capital- and technology-intensive industries such as semiconductor and display, standardization is an essential activity in the creation of new markets, in making existing markets more efficient, and in increasing profits.”

For more information on SEMI Standards activities in Korea, please contact Ms. Natalie Shim (eshim@semi.org).

September 7, 2010