Schneider Electric and IBM Corp. have agreed to deliver integrated advanced process control (iAPC) solutions worldwide, while Paris-based Schneider Electric will open a new regional competency center in Japan. The agreement was announced at Semicon Japan 2004 in Tokyo.
iAPC is the use of add-on sensors, data collection and fault detection systems to automatically monitor and optimize semiconductor manufacturing processes. The integrated solutions include the use of plasma arc detection, particle monitoring, residual gas analysis and automatic endpoint systems.
IBM, with corporate headquarters in Armonk, N.Y., and Schneider Electric have been working together for more than five years to jointly develop and deploy iAPC solutions within IBM’s 200 mm and 300 mm semiconductor manufacturing facilities. These iAPC solutions are based on both companies’ technologies and also incorporate products from third-party suppliers to fully realize the capabilities required by today’s most advanced semiconductor fabrication facilities. The iAPC solution leverages the IBM Microelectronics Common Architecture, which includes IBM’s SiView Manufacturing Execution System (MES) and WebSphere MQ messaging middleware.
By using iAPC solutions, IBM has been able to decrease the mean time it takes to detect abnormal operating conditions in its manufacturing operations, as well as speed the recovery of optimal manufacturing operations when anomalies do occur. IBM has experienced multimillion dollar returns on investment from iAPC solutions based on the two companies’ joint developments.
“Semiconductor manufacturers can greatly reduce risk and shorten the long lead times traditionally associated with integrated control solutions by utilizing iAPC solutions that have been pre-integrated, tested and proven in IBM’s Burlington and East Fishkill manufacturing facilities. East Fishkill is considered one of the mostly highly automated and advanced 300 mm manufacturing facilities in the world,” said Geoff Williams, Schneider Electric vice president, Global Enterprise Customers.
“IBM and Schneider Electric are both focused on delivering benefits to semiconductor manufacturers by providing high-value solutions that utilize flexible and scalable open standards-based architectures,” said Kevin Reardon, general manager, IBM Global Electronics Industry. “Becoming an on-demand enterprise requires the use of tools and technologies that enable companies to sense and rapidly respond to changes in their business and process control systems. This partnership will provide the technology and integration necessary to make this on demand transformation a reality for our mutual clients.”
The iAPC architecture combines IBM’s sensor network architecture for industrial environments based on WebSphere with Schneider Electric’s Collaborative Automation and Transparent Ready technologies. Schneider Electric maintains a dedicated team focused on the deployment of iAPC solutions for the semiconductor industry.