MARGARET BIGELOW, Brooks Automation, Chelmsford, MA, USA
The fabless-foundry business model promotes faster time-to-market for new products with relatively low business risks to all parties. Factory and tool automation is a critical success factor of the “fabless-foundry” business model. Factory and tool automation is the application of hardware, software, and services to:
1. Make manufacturing mistake-proof
2. Integrate process, equipment and product data, and analyze it statistically
3. Automate information handling and step-level material handling
(Source: R. C. Leachman, D. A. Hodges, “Benchmarking Semiconductor Manufacturing,” UC Berkeley, ESRC Publications #96-02) The impact of factory and tool automation on factory performance is discussed in detail.