The automation world is ever-changing, bringing innovations in the technology we use daily. Since before 2020, the market for semiconductors has been booming, and fabrication plants (fabs) have been working tirelessly to catch up on demand, eventually hitting capacity on labor and, more importantly, storage. Fabs with full automation of semiconductors can bring in higher profits, faster turnaround rates, higher efficiency, and quality that meets the expectations of their customers.
Semiconductors are used more often than you’d think. In short, semiconductors, also known as integrated circuits (ICs), are minuscule chips that power modern electronics we need every day. From smartphones to military technology, semiconductors are paving the way to a better future. Semiconductor applications have become integral to how we live and operate daily.
There are nine steps in semiconductor production, most of which can be done with a fully automated factory. The first two steps, research and design, require human input. It takes a highly skilled individual to research and later design a piece of sophisticated equipment like semiconductors.
Once the research and design have been completed, raw materials such as sand are turned into ingots. These are then sliced into ~1 mm silicon discs called wafers. Once finished, the wafers are printed with complex circuit designs that will become individual discs. Those wafers are then cut into the actual chips and are eventually packaged and put onto circuit boards.
The last seven steps can be fully automated; the need for manual labor is a thing of the past for many reasons. Automation allows the warehouse to reduce human error while increasing efficiency. Quality control has grown exponentially since implementing automation in semiconductor manufacturing. Reducing manual labor decreases production costs, leading to higher throughput in general.
Automation for Semiconductors Increase Efficiency and Quality
Implementing automation into semiconductor manufacturing has numerous benefits for any fab. Not only do capacity and operations increase, but operational costs decrease. Fabs with smaller storage space have seen a positive impact when switching to automation for semiconductor manufacturing. Instead of relying solely on traditional floor space, warehouses are maximizing the overhead space completely from floor to ceiling with the help of automation.
Fully automating semiconductor manufacturing seamlessly reduces costs and increases revenue. Decreasing manual labor and fully automating most daily activities results in a 65% decrease in operational costs, ultimately increasing profits on the bottom line.
Automating semiconductors has additionally aided the clean room process. Maintaining a clean room in semiconductor manufacturing and its procedures is a major hurdle that warehouses have had. A clean room must maintain specific conditions 24/7, such as temperature, airflow, noise, vibration, etc., which play a huge role in developing semiconductor chips. A single speck of dust could ruin a chip completely. It has been shown that employing automation decreases the chances of contamination in this step by nearly 100%. Eliminating people from different environments constantly moving in and out of the room each day has shown a dramatic difference in contamination control. Without the problem of contamination, quicker operations while maintaining a higher quality have been seen in warehouses consistently.
An everlasting outcome of semiconductor automation is the eradication of human error. Accuracy has skyrocketed after adopting automation in warehouses; facilities have seen increased revenue and fewer repercussions regarding worker productivity. In the same vein, it has never been smoother to test for defects since automating semiconductor manufacturing. Software and hardware are used to detect any defects in the process, promptly removing any defective items from production. Automating semiconductors has led to defect-free wafer fabrication and continues to be a leading factor in high turnaround time for warehouses.
Semiconductor Automation Solutions
Implementing semiconductor automation is the future of manufacturing. At this point, it is not a question of whether automating semiconductor manufacturing will become mainstream – it is already here. Warehouses worldwide are already adopting the automation of semiconductor manufacturing and are quickly catching up to powerhouses of the industry.
Not only are the warehouses that apply semiconductor automation currently thriving in efficiency and quality, but their revenue has never been higher. It has been proven time and again that automation works, and it is key to a successful manufacturing plant in today’s world. To not fall behind, it is integral to utilize automation in semiconductor manufacturing sooner rather than later.
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