Software optimizes front-end tool and FOUP utilization.

Press Release Summary:

SMART-Fab(TM) suite incorporates AdvanTag(TM) wafer identification and tracking technology to create 300 mm automation software tools. Tools include SMART(TM) WIP for work-in-process lot monitoring and buffer handling; FOUP Management System, which tracks usage and maintenance of front-opening unified pods (FOUPs) and stores FOUP history data; and 300FL Monitoring System. System tracks front-load performance, supporting e-diagnostics and fab bottleneck avoidance tools.

Original Press Release:

ASYST launches SMART-Fab(tm) suite of 300mm automation software tools Smart Software Combines with Proven Asyst 300mm Hardware Products to Optimize Fab Productivity and Overall Equipment Efficiency

FREMONT, Calif.-July 10, 2002-Asyst Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq: ASYT), a leading provider of integrated automation solutions that maximize the productivity of semiconductor manufacturing, today launched a suite of software tools that help chipmakers achieve greater overall equipment efficiency (OEE) and fab productivity. The new SMART-Fab(tm) suite incorporates the company's AdvanTag(tm) wafer identification and tracking technology-the leading auto-ID system for 300mm-to create an entirely new set of comprehensive, yet easy-to-use, 300mm automation software tools.

The SMART-Fab suite leverages best-practice processes and methods to provide actionable information from data available in an automated semiconductor factory. The first of these advanced software products, Asyst SMART(tm)-WIP for work-in-process lot monitoring, was installed at a foundry in July 2001, enabling the customer to ramp production more quickly and achieve higher equipment utilization and shorter lot cycle time. In addition to SMART-WIP, the new 300mm tool suite includes the Asyst FOUP Management System, which tracks the usage and maintenance of the front-opening unified pods (FOUPs) used to transport and store costly 300mm wafers, and the Asyst 300FL Monitoring System, which analyzes the performance of the front-load-to-tool interface to help ensure the load port is operating as efficiently as possible.

The SMART-Fab suite builds on Asyst's proven 300mm expertise and is specifically designed to complement Asyst's 300mm automated front-ends and wafer carriers. This includes Asyst's recently introduced IsoPort(tm) 300mm loadport, which the company believes is the industry's most advanced 300mm loadport to date, as well as the company's G3 and G3 CoolCase(tm) FOUP wafer carriers, which have been adopted as a best-of-breed 300mm product by six leading IC manufacturers in the United States, Europe and Taiwan.

Rick Friedman, Asyst's vice president of Fab Solutions, said, "Our 300mm customers need sophisticated solutions that will enable them to minimize cycle times, optimize equipment productivity and increase total fab throughput. The typical OEE for a 300mm fab ranges from 40 to 60 percent. Based on a typical investment of $1-$2 billion in 300mm tools in a full production fab, even a one- percent increase in OEE is worth tens of millions of dollars. By optimizing front-end tool and FOUP utilization and productivity, our new SMART-Fab software tools can provide as much as a two- to three- percent improvement in OEE, representing considerable cost savings for integrated device makers and foundries."

Asyst's new software suite represents a holistic solution with capabilities unmatched by currently available material control systems. The SMART-WIP system, which monitors lots as they move through the fab to let operators quickly locate and retrieve lots, is highly flexible to accommodate rapid changes in lot setup. It also handles buffers, helping operators maintain maximum wafer-per-hour throughput of bottleneck equipment. The FOUP Management System automatically tracks all the FOUPs in the fab, monitoring the parameters of each, and stores FOUP history data to facilitate analysis. The data this tool provides helps the operator quickly and easily determine if FOUPs need to be washed, inspected, repaired or even replaced. The front-load monitoring system works in concert with both the FOUP and the load port, monitoring their interaction to ensure automated wafer hand-offs are as smooth and efficient as possible. The system tracks front-load performance, supporting enhanced availability, e-diagnostics and fab bottleneck avoidance tools.

Pricing and Availability
Asyst's SMART-Fab 300mm fab software tool suite can be purchased individually or as a package. The FOUP Management System and 300FL Monitoring System are available this month.

About Asyst
Asyst Technologies, Inc. is a leading provider of integrated automation solutions that enable semiconductor manufacturers to increase manufacturing productivity and protect investments in silicon wafers during the manufacture of integrated circuits, or ICs. The company offers a broad range of 200mm and 300mm solutions that enable the safe transfer of wafers and information between process equipment and the fab line throughout the IC fabrication process, while reducing IC damage caused by human, environmental, mechanical and chemical factors. Encompassing isolation systems, work-in-process materials management, substrate-handling robotics, automated transport and loading systems, and connectivity automation software, Asyst's modular, interoperable solutions allow chipmakers and original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, to select and employ the value-assured, hands-off manufacturing capabilities that best suit their needs. Asyst's homepage is

SMART-Fab, AdvanTag, SMART-WIP, IsoPort and CoolCase are registered trademarks of Asyst Technologies, Inc.

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