Today, semiconductor manufacturers face more challenges with their data as semiconductors increase in complexity. More sophisticated testing equipment and sensors at every step of the process contribute heavily to the avalanche of data being collected. At the same time, manufacturers are under pressure to increase yields and cut costs.

To achieve the highest yield, reduce the defectivity of semiconductor devices, and solve semiconductor manufacturing problems effectively, semiconductor manufacturers turn to smart data solutions.

In the early years of the Big Data evolution, solutions were created to facilitate data storage, data analysis, and data management. Big Data offers actionable insights from huge amounts of data, with real-time experience, enabling data-driven decisions that save costs and improve products and services.

Yield management solutions (YMS) are designed specifically to meet the needs of semiconductor manufacturers, enabling them to investigate yield excursions, streamline manufacturing processes, optimize the supply chain, analyze tools, and eliminate workplace inefficiencies.

A YMS monitors the entire manufacturing process and provides equipment monitoring and full supply chain visibility. Enhanced data visualization tools give manufacturers deep insight into their manufacturing and test data to uncover patterns and calculate trends and correlations. Automatic anomaly detection can even prevent yield excursions by sending warnings to engineers as soon as an irregularity in the data is detected.

The Advantages of Smart Data

Smart data is data that is condensed into valid, well-defined, and meaningful digital information that expedites information processing. The main task of smart data is to filter out the noise and retain only the valuable data, which can then be effectively used by the company to solve business problems.

In the semiconductor industry, smart data can serve the same purpose as in all other industries. The biggest challenge in terms of data is to quickly identify indicators that can improve yield in the entire manufacturing process. If it were as easy as monitoring a single parameter, there would be no need for smart data solutions.

Not only does smart data filter out irrelevant data and keep only valuable data, but it also sorts and structures the data appropriately so it can be used long past the expiration date of typical data (Figure 1). With smart data, semiconductor manufacturers can reach back into the archives to identify trends, look for anomalies, and make better decision

smart data
Figure 1: Wafer map sorts and displays quality rejects.

Smart data solutions store, analyze, and manage all semiconductor data collected during manufacturing and test, to improve yields, increase profits and drive innovation, while also playing an integral role in the smart manufacturing environment.

In the highly competitive, high-volume, data-intensive semiconductor industry, with fabs manufacturing at or near capacity, smart data solutions have become indispensable.

Smart data solutions provide a comprehensive solution tailored to the semiconductor manufacturing environment. They compile the enormous amounts of data being collected at every step of the manufacturing and testing process and condense and transform it into valuable, actionable information companies can use.

By combining smart data solutions and AI applications for the semiconductor industry, such as machine learning, predictive analytics, and AI algorithms, a YMS fulfills all the data needs of semiconductor manufacturers. These cutting-edge analytics help manufacturers get the maximum benefit from their data with e.g., automatic pattern recognition, tool combination analytics, and multivariate monitoring (Figure 2).

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Figure 2: YMS enhanced pattern recognition.

The key to increasing yield often lies in identifying the combination of factors that contribute to a specific problem or in quickly pinpointing which wafers or lots were affected by a particular issue. A YMS helps uncover these hidden correlations and patterns. Manufacturers using YMS also save on engineering time that normally goes to gathering all the data by making the manufacturing and test data easily accessible.

In short, A YMS created specifically to solve data problems in the semiconductor industry integrates multiple innovative and powerful tools to help manufacturers quickly make smarter decisions.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the 2023 3D InCites Yearbook. Read the issue here. 

Dieter Rathei

Dieter Rathei is the co-founder and CEO of DR YIELD - a worldwide provider of…

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