RFID: Freescale tracks wafer locations through shop floor

Locating wafer lots in a factory is often time consuming. Hundreds of semiconductor wafer lots are stored and staged throughout processing areas at the Freescale facility in Austin, TX. A lot is a container holding wafers worth thousands of dollars. In mature factories where automated material handling systems (AMHS) have limited capability, much of the tracking and moving is still done manually.

06/01/2007


Locating wafer lots in a factory is often time consuming. Hundreds of semiconductor wafer lots are stored and staged throughout processing areas at the Freescale facility in Austin, TX. A lot is a container holding wafers worth thousands of dollars. In mature factories where automated material handling systems (AMHS) have limited capability, much of the tracking and moving is still done manually. Converting to AMHS can be expensive in upfront costs and lost productivity during conversion.

Using the latest radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, Freescale, in conjunction with Aeroscout, designed a cost-effective way for associates to locate lots promptly, displaying lot location on the screen within seconds. This greatly improves lot handling and minimizes the risk of error, the companies say.

An AMHS would cost several hundred million dollars for nine factories and would resolve two problems, says Freescale: automatic material transfer, and lot locating. The RFID solution only solves the lot locating problem, but at a fraction of the cost (less than $1.5 million per factory, a 20x cost advantage). Freescale says its real-time visibility of lot location is the biggest pain point; the RFID implementation resolves that at a fraction of the cost, while covering the entire factory, while AMHS only covers the lot location within a smaller processing area.

www.freescale.com





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