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New Product: Aquest Systems launches ‚??No-Wait-Manufacturing‚?? 300mm fab AMHS

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AquestProduct Briefing Outline: Aquest Systems, a three-year-old start-up, has launched ‘FabEX,' a new type of automated material handling system (AMHS) designed to improve fab productivity by delivering higher speeds and greater capacity than conventional AMHS.  According to company officials, the complete FabEX product portfolio will help deliver on Aquest's ‘No-Wait-Manufacturing' methodology by enabling chipmakers to significantly reduce or eliminate the unnecessary waits or delays that negatively impact both the productivity and profitability of their fabs.

Problem: In today's multibillion-dollar fabs, productivity is one of the greatest contributors to fab ROI, while depreciation is one of the biggest cost factors. All too often, the multimillion-dollar production systems used to manufacture chips stand idle waiting for wafers. This can be due to wafers waiting to be delivered to equipment, waiting for pick up at the equipment, or waiting in stockers pending transport.  No-Wait-Manufacturing is about drastically reducing or eliminating these delays to help chipmakers worldwide improve equipment utilization, reduce overall cycle times and boost fab productivity.  

Solution: In a typical 300mm fab, wait times for a conventional overhead transport vehicle to arrive, pick up and move a wafer to the next process step are usually sixty seconds or more.  On average, FabEX AMHS can reduce that time to less than five seconds, which translates into faster and more consistent delivery times.  This, in turn, will allow manufacturers to shorten cycle times, improve equipment utilization and increase production capacity — all of which are key requirements for next-generation IC fabs.

Applications: 300mm fabrication facilities.

Platform: The FabEX technology is claimed to have fewer moving parts than conventional AMHS vehicles or conveyors. It is designed to deliver higher reliability and a lower cost of ownership, according to the company. These aspects are key to its claims that it can increase the number of moves per hour, while allowing users to optimize lot sizes.

Availability: May 2007 onwards.


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