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Monthly Archives: November 2015

The First Degree – Ominous Threshold Reached

In light of the Paris climate talks going on this week, I’m delighted to turn this blog over to a guest blogger, Mike Czerniak. Mike is the Environmental Solutions Business Development Manager at Edwards, and has been working in the semiconductor industry for more than 30 years. In 2014, he received SEMI’s Merit Award for his work on the Energy Saving Equipment Communication Task Force responsible for developing new standards designed to help reduce energy consumption in production equipment.

The First Degree – Ominous Threshold Reached as World Leaders Meet in Paris to Discuss Global Warming – Again

By Mike Czerniak, Environmental Solutions Business Development Manager, Edwards

The Met Office, the UK’s official office of meteorology, recently announced that, based on data acquired over the first 9 months of the year, 2015 is likely to be the first year in which the average global temperature exceeds by more than 1°Celcius (C), the average temperature for preindustrial years before we began to burn significant amounts of fossil fuels. Although the annual average temperature will fluctuate from year to year, the overall upward trend is well established and +1°C average temperatures are likely to become the norm. This is halfway to the 2°C threshold — at which most scientists agree damaging consequences are likely to occur, including the possibility of runaway warming in which no amount of reduction in industrial emissions would be able to reverse the trend. 2014 was the warmest year on record and 2015 looks to be even warmer. Reaching this ominous threshold should give new impetus to world leaders meeting this month (COP21) in Paris to attempt, once again, to reach an agreement on how best to address the issue of global warming.

It has been nearly 20 years since the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in which 192 countries committed to a real effort to reduce the industrial emission of greenhouse gases (GHG), which the protocol explicitly acknowledged as the cause of global warming. It was not until 2010 that the same group of nations recognized the 2°C threshold as the maximum acceptable increase in global temperature. The meeting in Copenhagen the previous year, where there was an attempt to force limits on individual countries, was largely a failure. At this year’s meeting in Paris the focus has shifted to securing voluntary reduction commitments from participants. Unfortunately, a UN analysis of commitments submitted prior to the meeting concluded that they would result in an unacceptable increase of 2.7°C. Still, there is room for optimism. The political climate has shifted significantly in favor of emission limits, particularly in the world’s two largest emitters, the US and China. Also, technological advances have significantly reduced the cost of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind.

Our own industry, semiconductor manufacturing has shouldered its share of the responsibility. While we are not a major contributor to overall GHG emissions, we have made good progress in limiting our emissions of perfluorocarbon (PFC) gases, particularly powerful GHGs. In 1999, the World Semiconductor Council (WSC) agreed to reduce PFC emissions by at least 10% by the end of 2010. In actuality, we far surpassed this goal, achieving a reduction of 32% for the period. In 2011, the WSC announced a new voluntary PFC agreement for the next 10 years. The goals of the new program include an additional 30% reduction by 2020 in the normalized emission rate expressed as kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per square centimeter of processed silicon.

At Edwards, we are committed to playing a leadership role in the field of vacuum pumping and abatement by applying technology, products and services to benefit the environment for future generations. Over our products’ lifecycle we are in fact carbon equivalent negative. In a typical year our own operations, our supply chain’s and our customers’ operation of our equipment might generate 2 million tons of CO2e. In that same year, our abatement equipment will remove 6 million tons of CO2e. The net result is the removal of 4 million tons of CO2e from the environment. We strive constantly to reduce the energy intensity of our manufacturing operations and the energy consumption of our products. We have programs in place to reduce waste, both by eliminating landfill waste and by promoting the reuse of our products through service and remanufacture, and to reduce our own consumption of electricity by the increasing use of energy-efficient LED lighting in our facilities. And we seek every opportunity to reduce water usage.

We are extremely proud of our record of successful and conscientious environmental stewardship and it will continue to receive the highest priority at all levels of our organization.

Mike Czerniak, Edwards

Mike Czerniak, Edwards

Is the Semiconductor Industry Ready for Industry 4.0 and the IIoT?

An industrial revolution is in the making, equivalent some say to the introduction of steam power at the tail end of the 18th century. Known as smart manufacturing, Industry 4.0 (after the German initiative Industrie 4.0), the industrial internet of things (IIoT), or simply the fourth industrial revolution, the movement will radically change how manufacturing is done.
The first industrial revolution was based on water/steam, the second was due electricity, and the third was from automation.

Industry 4.0 F2

The semiconductor industry is sure to benefit by the “digitization” of manufacturing in that it’s an important component of the IoT explosion, along with smart homes, smart cities, smart health, etc. But is the semiconductor manufacturing industry – already one of the most advanced in the world – ready for the revolution? Will the cobbler’s children get new shoes?
I believe it will, but there are some major roadblocks that need to be overcome.

New innovation is required for a couple of reasons. First, the path to continued cost reduction through scaling has come to an end. The industry will continue to push to smaller dimensions and pack more functionality on a single chip because the world will always need super-advanced electronics for data servers, cloud computing and networking. But it’s looking to be an increasingly expensive proposition.

At the same time, the industry is looking to the Internet of Things explosion as the “next big thing.” The two most important aspects of IoT devices will be low power and low cost. Speaking at a press conference at Semicon Europa in October, Rutger Wijburg, Senior VP and General Manager Fab Manufacturing for GlobalFoundries put things in perspective: “The wave of the Internet of Things is building. There will be a massive wave with tens of billions of devices. What is very important for our industry is that the two waves that have been driving our industry for a very long time – computers and mobile – are slowing down.” He noted that the IoT represents massive volume, but it doesn’t need the most advanced technology. “What it needs are two things: low power and low cost,” he said.

Wijburg said a typical figure of merit in the mobile space is $0.25/mm2. “My estimation is that the massive volume going into the Internet of Things has to be delivered for ASPs (average selling price) between $0.05 and $0.10/mm2.

Industry 4.0 F3

How to bring the cost per square mm of silicon down by at least 5X from where it is today? “One of the things that the industry has done extremely well with is finding new ways of innovation to bring down the cost of the next node. That has actually been driving the Law of Moore for many, many years,” he said. “But at this moment, we are at a point where it doesn’t work anymore,” Wijburg said.

One solution outlined by Wijburg is FDSOI technology, which he said is less expensive than FinFETs and has other advantages as well. GlobalFoundries introduced a 22nm FD-SOI platform in July that will largely be manufactured at the plant in Dresden, Germany.

Beyond that, it’s like that some other kind of major innovation will be required to reduce costs. Work is underway to fabricate various kinds of electronics with printing with, for example, roll-to-roll inkjet printing. Indeed, a conference dedicated to printed electronics was co-located with Semicon Europa. But it’s likely that this technology will limited to relatively low-tech and novel devices (i.e., electronic tattoos).

Could the Industry 4.0 movement enable a dramatic reduction in costs? It’s possible, but it will take some time.

In a recent report, McKinsey defines Industry 4.0 as digitization of the manufacturing sector, with embedded sensors in virtually all product components and manufacturing equipment, ubiquitous cyberphysical systems, and analysis of all relevant data. It is driven by four clusters of disruptive technologies. The first consists of data, computational power, and connectivity – low-power, wide-area networks are one example. Analytics and intelligence form the second, while human-machine interaction is the third, comprising, for instance, touch interfaces and augmented reality. Digital-to-physical conversion is the fourth: advanced robotics and 3D printing are two examples.

Proponents of Industry 4.0 say greater connectivity and information sharing — enabled by new capabilities in data analytics, remote monitoring and mobility — will lead to increased efficiency and reduced costs. There will be a paradigm shift from “centralized” to “decentralized” production. There will also be greater efficiency across the supply chain, and more companies involved in the supply chain, providing services such as security.

Industry 4.0

I know what you’re thinking. The semiconductor industry embraced all these things years ago. It’s the poster child for this kind of thing!

Sadly, there’s a long way to go to realize the kind of data sharing and “digitization” embodied in the Industry 4.0 concept. “The set of problems getting to 4.0 is profound,” said Nick Ward, director, marketing service group, Applied Global Services, Applied Materials. Ward, who presented on the topic at Semicon Europa, said data collection is not the issue in that the semiconductor industry has been collecting data for a long time, with a 40% increase node-to-node. “The MES is constantly being asked for more granularity and higher speed,” he said.

The challenge is that the industry has been extremely secretive, to the point where people entering the fab aren’t allowed cell phones with cameras.

Ward said the industry will need to change how it thinks about IP. There needs to be a new data structure that allows it to be shared in some way, with “broad brush” IP treated differently than what’s really important.

“Industry 4.0 is about marginal gains,” Ward said. “It’s not about ‘give me all your data.’”

What we really need is a map that includes process data, design data and financial data, Ward said.

He pointed to the open innovation models presently being explored by companies such as GE, GM and Ford as something the semiconductor industry should consider.

Update: The day after this was posted, Mentor Graphics introduced new tools for Industry 4.0, although targeted at the PCB industry (which is not as secretive as the semi industry).

Additional reading: Industry 4.0 — Opportunities and Challenges of the Industrial Internet