Applied Materials, Inc. today announced its breakthrough Applied SmartSched system, the semiconductor industry's first predictive scheduling solution for optimizing the movement of wafers through the lithography cell - the most complex and capital-intensive area of the fab. Demonstrated to reduce cycle time and increase tool utilization, the SmartSched system enables chipmakers to expand fab capacity without purchasing new lithography equipment - thus boosting their revenue and shortening delivery times.
"Augmenting customers' existing factory automation systems, SmartSched offers a powerful strategy to increase return on existing lithography assets and can quickly pay for itself within one year."
The SmartSched system uses proprietary predictive algorithms to evaluate key aspects of the litho cell and the factory in real time. The system reacts to changing delivery priorities, and upstream and downstream events, to immediately deliver production schedule updates tailored to meet customers' individual business objectives.
"Maintaining optimum scheduling in a fast-changing environment has long been a challenge for semiconductor manufacturers. The SmartSched system is the first predictive system to meet this challenge, delivering effective schedules for even the most complex fab operation," said Charlie Pappis, vice president and general manager of Applied Global Services. "Augmenting customers' existing factory automation systems, SmartSched offers a powerful strategy to increase return on existing lithography assets and can quickly pay for itself within one year."
To enable fast deployment, the SmartSched system features pre-built lithography operating scenarios, covering conventional optical and emerging lithography techniques, and is easily customized to meet customers' specific requirements. In addition, the SmartSched system's modular architecture is extendable for improving the efficiency of other complex fab areas such as wet clean, diffusion and ion implantation.
The SmartSched system is built on Applied's proven Advanced Productivity software platform that includes capacity planning, scheduling, dispatching and simulation technologies that are used by virtually every leading 300mm fab worldwide. Together, they form a unique, integrated solution for optimum manufacturing operations based on the most accurate planning processes.