Traditionally, product development for reticle defect inspection mostly addressed operational requirements of the mask shops with highly individualized manufacturing. As a result, limited automation capability was available as compared to the standards in wafer production. Wafer fabs are guided by completely different conditions. Thousands of active reticles exist in a single fab requiring frequent re-inspections without interruption of wafer exposures. This requires high throughput of inspection tools, smart management of tool fleet, sophisticated scheduling and in-time execution of reticle inspections linked to the wafer manufacturing. The paper reports about the successful implementation of fully automated reticle defect inspection in a high-volume advanced logic fab. Automation scenarios - created based on existing SEMI standards - included inspection scheduling, reticle transport and inspection tool operation. A considerable productivity gain for the operation of Lasertec MATRICS X700 series inspection tools was obtained. Based on the learning throughout implementation, the requirements to the
automation capability and tool operation as well as adjustments to working procedures are discussed.