In the early 2000s, a visionary team began to develop the first functional wafer fab AI decision making system under the leadership of one of the industry’s greatest manufacturing legends, Gary Heerssen. The team’s lineage was from TI’s and IBM’s fully automated fabs built in the seventies and eighties. They took the lessons they learned there to build a system that would enable them to compete against companies with five times their resources. The system they built was composed of 3 parts: advanced process control, integrated production scheduling, and yield management systems to keep a fab operating efficiently. Here, Thomas Sonderman, then Director of APM at AMD, discusses Automated Precision Manufacturing and how it allows AMD to compete effectively in the semiconductor industry. Originally taped in 2004, the interview covers the IT needs in semiconductor manufacturing. Topics covered include: How small semiconductor companies can compete with automated decision making in a system. Get new technologies to market. APM is composed of 3 parts: advanced process control, integrated production scheduling, and yield management systems to keep a fab operating efficiently. Situation with copper, lo k, and other key technologies.
For more on the topic, check out Dick Deininger discusses Advanced Process Control technology in wafer fabs in this 2003 interview series. He also expands on how their partnership with IBM was helping them compete more effectively: Dick Deininger on Advanced Process Control Where is APC used? Joint Process Development with IBM