Integration and automation have gained more and more ground in modern IC-manufacturing.
It is difficult to make a direct calculation of the profit these
investments yield. On the other hand, the demands to man, machine and technology
have increased enormously of late; it is not difficult to see that only by means of
integration and automation can these demands be coped with. Here are some salient
U the complexity and costs incurred by the equipment and processes have got
. owing to the reduction of all dimensions, the tolerances within which the
various process steps have to be carried out have got smaller and smaller and
the adherence to these tolerances more and more difficult
U the cycle time has become more and more important both for the development and
control of new processes and, to a great extent, for a rapid and reliable
supply to the customer.
In order that the products be competitive under these conditions, all sort of costs
have to be reduced and the yield has to be maximized.
Therefore, the computer-aided control of the equipment and the process combined with
an automatic data collection and a real-time SPC (statistical process control) has
become absolutely necessary for successful IC-manufacturing.
Human errors must be eliminated from the execution of the various process steps by
automation. The work time set free in this way makes it possible for the human
creativity to be employed on a larger scale in stabilizing the processes. Besides, a
computer-aided equipment control can ensure the optimal utilization of the equipment
round the clock.