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ISMI program to develop 300 mm Prime, explore transition to 450-mm manufacturing

The International Sematech Manufacturing Initiative (ISMI) has started a program to explore critical issues and potential barriers to introducing a new wafer size for IC manufacturing. The initiative, begun at the urging of ISMI’s member companies, will look at incremental approaches aimed at improving 300-mm production in ways that could facilitate an eventual transition to 450-mm wafers. Called 300 mm Prime (300 mm′), this approach will include studies on how to enhance equipment, automation, and factory integration to meet the challenges of high product mix, fast cycle time, and flexibility.

“Looking ahead at productivity assumptions, we realize that we must be very aggressive in pushing for improvements in manufacturing productivity,” said Scott Kramer, ISMI’s director. “Part of the productivity formula includes serious preparation for larger wafer sizes. We want to help make the wafer-size transition as efficient and cost-effective as possible, by involving a wide range of industry players—especially the equipment supplier community.”

The International Technology Road-map for Semiconductors calls for implementation of 450-mm manufacturing in 2012, Kramer notes. “If we are to have any chance of meeting that timeline, we must begin serious planning now and develop an industry consensus that will work for all committed parties.”

Major elements of the 450-mm initiative will include:

• Member-driven collaboration to develop industry guidance for 300′ and 450-mm manufacturing.

• Use of ISMI’s Industry Economic Model (IEM) and other tools to provide fiscal guidelines for 300 mm′ development and 450-mm insertion.

• Assessment of industry readiness for wafer-size transition.

Citing the benefits of incorporating e-manufacturing, Kramer explained that 300 mm′ aims at improving productivity not only for existing 300-mm fabs, but for future 300-mm fabs and next-wafer-size facilities as well.

ISMI will provide data on its vision of 300 mm′ and 450 mm at the Fab Managers Forum at Semicon Europa in Munich in April, Semicon West in San Francisco in July, and the ISMI Symposium in Austin in October.

“We view this transition as a multiyear effort that will involve a great deal of dialogue, compromise, and consensus building,” said Kramer. “Above all, it should be a gradual and economical process, well planned and well executed. This is a marathon, not a sprint.”

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