Wafer transition program elaborated


With extensive industry feedback, the International SEMATECH Manufacturing Initiative (ISMI; has detailed the initial scope of its 300 mm Prime (300 Prime) effort, a strategy for improving 300 mm manufacturing productivity that draws on lessons learned from previous technology conversions, and recognizes the importance of collaboration, consensus-building, and compromise among chipmakers and equipment suppliers.

The ISMI program was launched in January and has subsequently involved discussions not only between ISMI member companies but with the industry in general. It now offers specific examples of how 300 Prime might be introduced in ways that encompass different levels of risk and investment. For example, a small-risk implementation might involve updating process tools with recipe and parameter management (RaP), a single wafer tool may replace a batch system for moderate risk, or implementation of a new high-speed factory-wide automated delivery system would represent higher risk.

Program Manager Tom Abell acknowledges that 300 Prime remains a work in progress, and actively encourages tool suppliers to become early contributors of ideas, skills and viewpoints through a set of advisory panels and discussions with ISMI. He characterizes 300 Prime as an evolutionary process scalable to 450 mm manufacturing, with timing dependent upon the possibilities that 300 Prime may hold. “Our view is that 300 Prime/450 mm transition should comprise a staged set of solutions that can be fine-tuned to a chipmaker’s particular business model,” he said.

A clear understanding of the scope of 300 Prime will enable the industry to make technology decisions to improve current productivity while ensuring a sound pathway for a future transition to larger wafers, Abell noted. These decisions range from issues on wafer thickness and carrier size to batch size, factory dimensions, wafer transport mechanisms, and standards for process control data.

To address these issues, ISMI has joined with SEMI ( to establish two engineering groups to collaboratively engage suppliers and chipmakers: the Manufacturing Technology Forum (MTF) and the Joint Productivity Working Group (JPWG). Inputs from both groups will help ISMI develop a 300 Prime capability assessment through 2006 and beyond.

According to Abell, ISMI will seek additional supplier views throughout the remainder of the year at key industry meetings around the globe, including a review of 2006 results and 2007 plans for 300 Prime and 450 mm during SEMICON Japan in Chiba, December 6-8.