By Cameron Chai
Applied Materials has proclaimed that the company’s SmartSched predictive scheduling software has been bought by Toshiba for the capacity and efficiency improvement of its photolithography operations.
Toshiba has started the deployment of the first phase of SmartSched predictive scheduling software in August 2011 at its Fab 4 facility, a 300 mm ‘mega fab’ chip production plant located in Yokkaichi, Japan. The innovative software solution is the first-of-a-kind predictive scheduling solution for enhancing the wafer movement via the litho cell, which is the capital-intensive and complicated part of the fab production. It is a repeated blockage in fab production and consumes more money that varies proportionately with the complexity of the device.
SmartSched utilizes proprietary predictive algorithms to improve litho tool time through the conversion of underutilization into increased capacity. By optimizing the utilization of the litho tool, the software solution makes the customers to delay or shun the decision of purchasing a new device, which in turn offers a substantial return on their investment in the SmartSched software.
Toshiba Yokkaichi Operation’s Senior Manager of Manufacturing Engineering, Masanori Morikawa stated that the company chose SmartSched solution, as it is the quickest and inexpensive solution to decrease cycle time and improve output, and with the focus first on lithography processes. The company plans to join forces with Applied Materials to extend the capability of SmartSched solution to enhance the throughput and equipment utilization in its other production areas, he said.
Applied Global Services’ Group Vice President and General Manager, Charlie Pappis stated that the company is happy to assist Toshiba to improve its return on its current lithography assets.