July 14, 2011 - During a 450mm industry briefing held in conjunction with SEMICON West, the International SEMATECH Manufacturing Initiative (ISMI) presented the steps it is taking this year to provide the infrastructure and momentum to enable the 450mm transition. This program plays a critical role in coordinating industry efforts on 450mm wafer supply, standards setting, test wafer generation and equipment demonstration.
Participation in the 450 program has doubled in last 18 months, according to the consortia. Interaction between the consortia and industry is intensifying in pace and breadth.
|450mm program strategy and projected scope. (Source: ISMI)|
Some progress updates, snipped from the discussions:
Wafers: Requests for 450mm wafer loans are rapidly increasing. ~750 wafers have been loaned to >40 suppliers, up from ~440 to 25 suppliers a year ago.
Equipment: Silicon suppliers have installed 450mm dedicated equipment and are manufacturing developmental test wafers in large volume, improving the wafer quality. 10 tools are operational or on order for the cleanroom, up from three a year ago. Factory infrastructure components to enable safe and secure 450mm operations are being implemented now.
Processes: 450mm readiness is increasing in all areas of the supply chain, and progress is accelerating rapidly. 450mm development is underway for most required capabilities (most from multiple providers) to enable the transition, vs. <10 required capabilities at this time last year. That includes a now-defined patterning strategy. Increased consortium cleanroom operations have resulted in cleaner wafers, blanket films, and improved wafer shipping techniques.
Integration: The 450mm factory integration standards are completed, and testbed scope is finished. Pilot line evaluations show "low risk" for 450mm, ISMI says. The first 450mm stocker is now shipping to the 450mm consortium.
Collaboration will continue to be critical for a cost-effective and timely 450mm transition, ISMI emphasized. Consortia and related groups have historically been effective, and success in 450mm will rely on comprehensive industry-wide collaboration. Benefits checked off by ISMI: it's cost-effective for a precompetitive environment, it leverages the larger community's expertise and experience, and aligns participants to common goals and timelines.
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