Measureable Improvements in Cycle-Time-Constrained Capacity

John Fowler, Ph.D., Arizona State University
Steven Brown, Hermann Gold, Alexander Schoemig


This study uses simulation-based analysis to evaluate the operating practices of a high-volume, multiple-product semiconductor fab, with the goal of finding potential areas for productivity improvement that will yield a quantifiable increase in fab capacity. The parameters setup, batching, tool/operator dedication, lot release, and dispatch rule were studied. The analysis revealed that some of the current operating practices of the factory were beneficial while changing some other practices would increase "cycle-time-constrained capacity" by up to 12%. A significant opportunity for potential improvement for this factory lies in implementing a strict setup avoidance policy. The first implementation in the actual fab is a relaxation of the photolithography equipment dedication that has helped the factory achieve a 25% reduction in cycle time and inventory.

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