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New Product: Optimize 300mm fab tool scheduling every 5 minutes offered by ILOG‚??s Fab PowerOps

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iLogProduct Briefing Outline: ILOG has unveiled the first software package to comprehensively address production scheduling for all essential front-end process areas within a 300mm fab. ILOG's ‘Fab PowerOps' software is claimed to create optimal, forward-looking production schedules for all tools within a given fab process area, as well as create new schedules every five minutes. FPO has already been used to optimize production scheduling at a leading-edge North American 300mm fab, according to the company.

Problem: Semiconductor scheduling is extremely specialized and complex. Each process flow in a wafer fab can contain 200-500 processing steps and utilize more than one hundred machines, each costing as much as tens of millions of dollars. Even small increases in efficiency yield enormous benefits, so semiconductor fabs need real-time detailed production scheduling software to shorten production lead times, reduce capital equipment costs and accelerate new product introductions. Generic scheduling modules within Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Supply Chain Management (SCM) packages address neither the unique requirements nor the complexities of the semiconductor fab environment. Other widely-used solutions from specialized vendors can sort lot lists for single process steps, but cannot assign and balance work in progress (WIP) across all tools in a process area. Previously-available solutions also do not support re-entrant flows, which allow for WIP on one machine to return to the same machine later in the process, nor do existing solutions simultaneously schedule across all tools within a process area.

Solution: ILOG FPO delivers schedules based on the evaluation of the WIP, tools, steps and process timing constraints in multiple alternative schedules before recommending the optimal schedule for a process area. A scheduling problem can now be addressed based on the real conditions of the fab environment, giving users more control over unplanned events, such as tool interruptions, recipe qualifications and hot lots. In addition, the custom configuration ability of FPO means that each process can be tailored to meet the requirements of each individual customer's fab facility. ILOG FPO can also handle re-entrant flows. This support is essential for photolithography process scheduling and is also important aid towards better yield and quality. Additionally, it is the first product in semiconductor manufacturing to offer a Gantt chart display for scheduling. ILOG's business rule management technology in the product means that FPO is adaptable, and that as scheduling parameters change, users can easily write new rules without re-coding.
Applications: Front-end process areas within a 300mm fab such as Diffusion, Photo, Etch, Thin Films, CMP and Implant ILOG have developed dedicated scheduling engines with detailed tool models.

Platform: ILOG FPO connects to the manufacturing execution system (MES) or other data source. It also contains the Rule Builder for editing data processing rules and manufacturing logic.

Availability: July 2006 onwards.

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