Semiconductor and related equipment fabrication requires exacting precision and rigorous attention to detail. In fact, the manufacturers of such products must rely on clean room environments in which the temperature and humidity are strictly controlled and possible contaminants are eliminated to the utmost degree possible. The products themselves are highly valuable, so any production line problems that may occur, whether due to environmental issues, accidents, or equipment failure, can be extremely costly.
Recently, a semiconductor equipment manufacturer in Korea faced just such issues, which were compounded by their production managers' lack of clear information regarding production line status and the specific causes for any delays. Fortunately, by working with VETEC, Advantech's WISE-PaaS Alliance VIP partner in Korea, the manufacturer was able to initiated critical improvements to their production line monitoring, enhancing the production management and factory environment monitoring, while ensuring that potential problems are fixed before they get out of hand.
Maximizing the Massive Power of Raw Data
The company's most critical need, in simple terms, was ensuring the ability to collect, visualize, and utilize critical data as quickly and efficiently as possible. However, their existing system lacked important capabilities needed to make this possible. For example, individual line workers had no means of quickly reporting production problems that did occur often went unrecorded, allowing them to reoccur with unacceptable frequency.
However, thanks to Advantech's cutting-edge asset management software, VETEC knew that they could provide a solution. First, VETEC installed Advantech's WebAccess/SCADA on the factory intranet. Next, tablets connected to the WebAccess/SCADA system were placed at key positions along the production line. Finally, Advantech's WISE-4000 wireless I/O modules were installed to provide real-time monitoring of key clean room environmental information.
An All-in-one System for Seamless Integration
These solutions sound simple, but when used together, they yielded tremendous improvements. The WebAccess/SCADA software allowed production status information for each line worker to be linked directly to the SCADA server, which in turn allowed the production information to be recorded, processed and analyzed to allow for comprehensive management of the entire factory's production status. With key information displayed on a user-friendly HTML5-based dashboard, the WebAccess/SCADA facilitated data analysis for intelligent management functions, such as scheduling control and trend analysis.
Better still, because the platform acts as a web server, the dashboard display was made available to individual line workers and managers out on the factory floor via connectivity to the WebAccess ThinClient tablets. Using the tablets, each line worker can quickly generate an alarm that is immediately sent to managers monitoring the SCADA system whenever any sort of emergency situations. Furthermore, line workers are required to input the reasons for any stoppage, allowing managers to more efficiently identify problems that must be prioritized, in addition to potentially foreseeing potential problems before they arise, thus preventing unnecessary downtime for equipment repairs.
So, by including Advantech's WISE-4000 wireless I/O modules, VETEC's solution platform allowed the manufacturer to easily implement real-tine data collection of key clean room parameters such as temperature, humidity and dust and ensuring that the use of air conditioners and other critical equipment can be precisely controlled, thereby avoiding unnecessary downtime and reducing wasted energy.
Simple Solutions for Complex Problems
In summary, semiconductor production lines require complex interactions among a wide range of sophisticated hardware and software, but while this manufacturing process is complex, the solutions to any production line problems don't have to be. For smart factory integrators such as VETEC, Advantech's intelligent industrial automation solutions offer substantial deployment, convenience, and efficiency by integrating key software and hardware components, reducing system complexity, and streamlining installation. Thanks to VETEC's expertise and Advantech's state-of-the-art solutions, the semiconductor equipment manufacturers are enjoying enhanced productivity, improved product quality and better employee satisfaction.