SOURCE: International SEMATECH Manufacturing Initiative (ISMI)

January 30, 2006 11:00 ET

New ISMI Program to Explore Transition to 450 mm Manufacturing

AUSTIN, TX -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 30, 2006 -- The International SEMATECH Manufacturing Initiative (ISMI) has begun a program to explore critical issues and barriers to introducing a new wafer size for manufacturing in the semiconductor industry, consortium officials said today.

The new program, initiated at the direction of ISMI's member companies, will examine an incremental approach aimed at improving 300 mm production in ways that could ease an eventual transition to larger wafers. This approach, called 300 mm Prime (300 mm), will include studies on how to improve 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 director. "Part of the productivity formula includes serious preparation for larger wafer sizes."

The purpose of 300 mm is to pave the way for such a change, Kramer added. "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," he said.

The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) calls for implementation of 450 mm manufacturing in 2012, Kramer noted. "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," he said.

Although details are being developed, major elements of the 450 mm program will include:

--  Member-driven collaboration on development of industry guidance for
    both 300 and 450 mm manufacturing
--  Use of ISMI's Industry Economic Model (IEM) and other modeling tools
    to provide fiscal guidelines for 300 mm development and 450 mm insertion
--  Assessment of industry readiness for wafer-size transition
    
Kramer said 300 mm aims at improving productivity not only for existing 300 mm fabs, but also for future 300 mm fabs and next-wafer-size facilities. For example, all three types of facilities can incorporate e-manufacturing, which ISMI has pioneered.

"Through 300 mm, we expect to generate immediate, mid-term and long-term benefits for all of our members," he added.

ISMI will provide more data on its vision of 300 mm and 450 mm at several public meetings in the upcoming year. These will include the Fab Managers Forum at SEMICON Europa, April, in Munich, Germany; The Confab, May, in Las Vegas, NV; SEMIC0N West, July, in San Francisco; and ISMI Symposium, October, in Austin. Kramer said supplier inputs will be sought at these meetings and related events.

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

ISMI is a global alliance of the world's major semiconductor manufacturers, dedicated to reducing cost per wafer, and ultimately cost per die, through cooperative programs focused on manufacturing effectiveness. The consortium conducts programs in manufacturing infrastructure, methods, standards, and productivity, with the aim of reducing the costs of producing finished wafers and chips and driving solutions to major productivity challenges. ISMI is a wholly owned subsidiary of SEMATECH of Austin, TX. For more information, please visit http://ismi.sematech.org/corporate/index.htm.

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