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Institutional Subscription. Therefore, handling all the possible types of exceptions at all the possible entry points in the main flows can create a large number of floating process flows.

1. Introduction

To reduce the proliferation of floating process flows, it is preferred that the floating process flows be stored in the smallest, most common units or sub-flows. When an exception occurs, the recipe unification unit then builds the floating process flow that will be used to process the exception by selecting and tying together the sub-flows. The recipe unification unit selects sub-flows having the same process capacity to create an optimal floating process flow for the particular operation exception event in its context.

As described above, the kernel is connected to the transportation system and to the dispatch system The transportation system controls movement of the product lots from equipment-to-equipment, equipment-to-WIP storage, and WIP storage-to-equipment. The dispatch system helps to optimize equipment utilization and process cycle time.

Each product lot may have several equipment candidates for the next process step. The dispatch system chooses the optimal tool. For an integrated circuit manufacturing plant, the product lots start in a start bank When a product lot moves out of the start bank , it moves into the first step in its process flow. The standard process flow for a product is illustrated by steps 1 , 2 , 3 ,.

After step n is completed, the product lot moves into the end bank which may be the end of all FAB processing or may be a holding area, such as prior to an upper metalization, for WIP awaiting final configuration. As the product lot moves along the main process flow, operation exception events may occur. In this example, a first operation exception, an N 2 purge , occurs as the product is moved into the first step In the present invention, the indication of a needed N 2 purge may be made by an operator mouse click at the operator GUI described above.

In response to the exception, the control system of the present invention automatically accesses the floating process flow data pool Note that the data pool may contain several flows and that correspond to an N 2 purge. The control system makes the proper connection between the selected floating flow and the main flow such that the next step for move in of the product lot becomes the first step in the N 2 purge flow Next, the N 2 purge flow is automatically run using the automated operation of the equipment and transportation system.

When the N 2 purge flow is completed, then the next step is set for the step where the exception occurred which is, in this case, the first step in the main flow. Another exception occurs at the move in to the third step Again, an N 2 purge flow is required. In this case, however, the N 2 purge fits a different floating flow from the data pool At the move-in to the n step , a monitor lot exception is encountered. The monitor lot preparation floating flow is selected and automatically performed by the system.

Other exception events illustrated include carrier replacement , product rework , and carrier cleaning In the example, in step 1 , the specification management engineer inputs a floating process flow into the floating process flow data pool using the management unit. The floating process flow is unified by the recipe unification unit. In step 2 , the operation interface receives an external trigger and passes the notification to the control unit. The trigger may come from the operator or from the equipment. In step 3 , the control unit extracts a proper floating process flow from the data unit and then connects this floating process flow to the standard process flow.

In step 4 , the control unit commands the transportation unit to move the lot to the process tool as specified by the first step in the floating process flow. In step 5 , the lot processing proceeds along the floating process flow under the control of the automated dispatching system and the transportation system in full automation mode.

Finally, in step 6 , after completing the floating process flow, the lot is moved back to the standard process flow and the connection between the standard and floating flows is destroyed. In yet another preferred embodiment of the present invention, the system may modify the floating process flow or sub-flow in response to an operation exception event to embed specific information into the recipe. Some recipe information can be included in the floating process flow data. For example, the process flow may specify a particular recipe name or identifier to be used in the tool during processing.

Further, the recipe identifier may have an embedded token to specify product information, lot information, or equipment information. Alternatively, a recipe parameter may be included in the floating process flow information and this parameter may specify product information, lot information, or equipment information. A set of embedded tokens.

The advantages of the present invention may now be summarized. An effective and very manufacturable method and an apparatus to control an automated manufacturing process are achieved. A control system suitable for an unmanned FAB is provided. A method to handle operation exceptions is provided.

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The product cycle time lost while waiting on operator or engineering action due to operation exceptions is reduced. The equipment efficiency is improved by continuing to process on full-automatic mode during operation exception events. The FAB throughput is increased. Engineering time is saved by reducing the number of possible process flows and conditions that must be maintained in the main process flow database.

As shown in the preferred embodiments, the novel method and apparatus of the present invention provides an effective and manufacturable alternative to the prior art. While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to the preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes in form and details may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention. Effective date : Year of fee payment : 4. Year of fee payment : 8.

Year of fee payment : A method to handle operation exceptions in an automated manufacturing system is achieved. The automated manufacturing system is monitored for operation exception events. The product lots must deviate from the standard process flows. A control system apparatus for handling operation exceptions in an automated manufacturing plant is achieved.

A yet further object of the present invention is to increase FAB throughput. A method to handle operation exceptions in an automated manufacturing system, said method comprising: providing an automated manufacturing system comprising a means to track progress of work in process against standard process flows and a means to select said product lots for processing from said work in process and to select equipment for processing said product lots based on next step information from said standard process flows;.

Production Planning and Control Structure for Automated Manufacturing Systems

The method according to claim 1 wherein said operation exception event comprises an operator interaction with said automated manufacturing system. The method according to claim 2 wherein said operator interaction comprises a mouse click on a graphical user interface. The method according to claim 1 wherein said operation exception event comprises an automated signal from said automated manufacturing system. The method according to claim 1 wherein said operation exception event comprises an N2 purge, a carrier replacement, a product rework, a carrier cleaning, or a monitor lot preparation.

The method according to claim 1 wherein said step of selecting a floating process flow further comprises: selecting floating process sub-flows from said floating process flow database;. The method according to claim 6 wherein said step of selecting floating process sub-flows is based on selecting said floating process sub-flows having common capacities.

The method according to claim 6 wherein said step of modifying said floating process sub-flows further comprises embedding specific information into recipes in said floating process sub-flows. The method according to claim 8 wherein said specific information is embedded into recipe identifiers or parameters. An apparatus to control floating process flows in an automated manufacturing system, said apparatus comprising: an operation interface to monitor automated manufacturing system for operation exception events wherein said product lots must deviate from said standard process flows;.

The apparatus according to claim 10 wherein said operation interface further comprises a graphical user interface capable of operator interaction. The apparatus according to claim 10 wherein said operation interface further comprises an automated signal coupled between said apparatus and said automated manufacturing system. The apparatus according to claim 10 wherein said operation exception event comprises an N2 purge, a carrier replacement, a product rework, a carrier cleaning, or a monitor lot preparation.

The apparatus according to claim 10 wherein said selecting a floating process flow further comprises: selecting floating process sub-flows from said floating process flow database;.

The apparatus according to claim 14 wherein said step of selecting floating process sub-flows is based on selecting said floating process sub-flows having common capacities. The apparatus according to claim 14 wherein said step of modifying said floating process sub-flows further comprises embedding specific information into recipes in said floating process sub-flows. The apparatus according to claim 16 wherein said specific information is embedded into recipe identifiers or parameters. An apparatus to control an automated manufacturing system, said apparatus comprising: a means to track progress of work in process against standard process flows;.

The apparatus according to claim 18 further comprising a transportation system to automatically move said product lots without human intervention. The apparatus according to claim 18 wherein said operation interface further comprises a graphical user interface capable of operator interaction. The apparatus according to claim 18 wherein said operation interface further comprises an automated signal coupled to said automated manufacturing system.

The apparatus according to claim 18 wherein said selecting a floating process flow further comprises: selecting floating process sub-flows from said floating process flow database;. The apparatus according to claim 22 wherein said step of selecting floating process sub-flows is based on selecting said floating process sub-flows having common capacities.

Industrial Automation Control Systems and How They Improve Businesses - SL Controls

The apparatus according to claim 22 wherein said step of modifying said floating process sub-flows further comprises embedding specific information into recipes in said floating process sub-flows. The apparatus according to claim 24 wherein said specific information is embedded into recipe identifiers or parameters. Floating process flow control system to handle operation events in a full automation plant. USB2 en. Combining automated and manual information in a centralized system for semiconductor process control. Production management apparatus, production management method and recording medium.

USA en. Sorting sequential data prior to distribution over parallel processors in random access manner. USB1 en. Production cell information system based on activity costs and an architecture therefor. Specialization of active software agents in an automated manufacturing environment. Flexible dispatching system and method for coordinating between a manual automated dispatching mode.

Method and system for dynamic dispatching in semiconductor manufacturing plants.

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Dynamically generating a manufacturing production work flow with selectable sampling strategies. USA1 en. Agrawal et al. EPB1 en. Graphical user interface for allocating multi-function resources in semiconductor wafer fabrication and method of operation.