The Need for Edge Technologies in Semiconductor Foundries

by | Aug 25, 2022 | Control & Safety Systems, Discrete Automation | 0 comments

Any disruptions in semiconductor foundry operations can trigger significant cascading effects on other industries using their products, such as automobile manufacturers. How can these manufacturing companies best coordinate production and balance-of-plant (BOP) operations to ensure optimal foundry performance, and provide product to their customers on a timely basis?

My July 2022 Machine Design article titled “Giving Semiconductor Foundries a Needed Edge,” describes how the application of specific edge technologies support integrated and efficient foundry operation through the use of coordinated visualization, automation, IIoT, and analytical software.

Connectivity for data and control

Semiconductor foundries are built using many different systems and control platforms for machinery, utilities, laboratory monitoring, and much more. Integration solutions must be compatible with this wide variety of target devices, and they should include high availability (HA) options to support 24×7 operation.

Evaluating edge options

Some designers may consider mixing-and-matching hobbyist-grade microcontrollers and computing hardware to achieve connectivity, but this approach requires complex testing, introduces risks, and lowers reliability. A better method is to perform operational and BOP integration efforts based on an established platform of industrialized hardware and software technologies with the required functionality, connectivity, and cybersecurity built-in.

The Emerson PACSystems hardware and software portfolio provides a complete and coordinated range of solutions for implementing deterministic control, edge control/computing/connectivity, HMI/SCADA, and analytics in these types of applications.

PACSystems Edge Solutions provide pre-configured hardware/software combinations so users can reliably integrate PLCs/PACs, edge controllers, IPCs, and software.

Actionable edge

Instead of expending time researching and experimenting with platforms, developers can use PACSystems products to confidently start building solutions.

  • Availability is provided based on hardware and networking redundancy options, especially those that are well coordinated with PROFINET and OPC UA.
  • Underutilization at the site is avoided by measuring and analyzing source information, and by performing local and cloud-based analytics to improve output, minimize waste, and enhance OEE.
  • Utility costs are an important consideration because semiconductor foundries are extremely power-intensive. By examining and comparing machine operation, users can identify important opportunities for cost reductions, especially in the area of utility processes.

Improving availability and efficiency

Semiconductor foundries perform many manufacturing processes supported by extensive utilities to turn silicon into complex wafers and chips.

Therefore, it is imperative that all foundry subsystems perform in an integrated way to improve availability, minimize underutilization, and optimize energy usage. This integration involves not just reading data, but also processing it and creating active control responses to maximize output, efficiency, and the overall OEE of the entire operation.

Emerson edge solutions simplify the effort by providing the necessary connectivity, performance, and cybersecurity functionality, making them a wise investment.

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The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the authors. Content published here is not read or approved by Emerson before it is posted and does not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Emerson.

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