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Advanced simulation framework for AMHS

ISSM Paper: FD-P-067


Hiroshi Kondo
Asyst Shinko, Inc.
Ise-City, Mie-Pref. Japan
Kondo-hi@asyst-shinkoet.com

Abstract- AMHS (Automated Material Handling System) ven- source location (from), then transported by AMHS and
dors are being expected not only to offer transport capabilities finally erased at a destination location (to). By executing
but also to guarantee its contribution to entire fab productiv-
ities. One of essential techniques for realizing this is estima-
this type of simulations, we can find bottlenecks in AMHS
tion with using simulation studies prior to installation of and make countermeasures prior to installation of AMHS
AMHS into a fab. However traditional framework of AMHS (Fig.2).
simulation cannot enable to estimate entire fab productivities.
This paper describes a new simulation framework for estima- AMHS layout From-To table
AMHS
tion of entire fab productivities, which describes what should parameters

be modeled and how they should be modeled.


INTRODUCTION
AMHS becomes to get more and more impacts on satisfac- AMHSsimulators
tory operations in semiconductor fabs. AMHS vendors are
being expected not only to offer transport capabilities but
also to guarantee its contribution to entire fab productiv-
ities. One of essential techniques for realizing this is esti- Delivery time Transport volume
Stocker
utilization
mation with using simulation studies prior to installation of
AMHS into a fab.
Fig .2 Input and output data of traditional AMHS simulation framework

TRADITIONAL SIMULATION FRAMEWORK


Traditional AMHS simulation framework consists of model DROWBACKS OF TRADITIONAL FAMEWORK
modules for AMHS (typically OHT [Overhead Hoist However, when we try to apply the traditional AMHS
Transport system] and stockers) and model modules for simulation framework to estimations of entire fab produc-
ports only. It does not include model modules for produc- tivities, we’ve found that it cannot say anything about fab
tion tools. The purpose of traditional simulators is estima- productivities. The framework has following three draw-
tion of delivery times and transport capacities. One of main backs due to lack of model modules of production tools.
input data for simulators used for such purposes are tables
that show frequencies of transport requests per pair of 1) It cannot estimate utilization of production tools.
source and destination, which are called “from-to ta-
ble”(Fig. 1). 2) It cannot estimate necessary capacity of stockers and
buffers, such as UTSs(Under Track Storages).
To
Stk1 Stk2 Eq1 Eq2 Eq3 Eq4
From 3) It cannot say ‘via-stocker ratio’.
Stk1 110 60 60 0 0

Stk2 120 0 0 30 90 We can easily understand that above drawback 1) is caused


Eq1 50 0 10 0 0
due to lack of model modules of production tools. But
some explanation may be required in order to understand
Eq2 60 0 0 10 0
that cause of drawback 2) and 3) is lack of model modules
Eq3 0 40 0 0 0 of production tools. At first, we explain drawback 2). Be-
Eq4 0 90 0 0 0 cause the framework lacks model modules of production
tools, we cannot derive tool utilization and coefficient of
Fig. 1 From-to table variability (that is standard deviation divided by average)
The underlying concept behind from-to tables is an as- of tool process time from it. According to queuing theory,
sumption that all transport requests are generated inde- these are the most major two factors to determine numbers
pendently. In simulation execution, a foup is created at the of carriers staying in a stocker or buffer [1]. Therefore, this
framework cannot estimate necessary capacity of stockers and

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buffers. Then we explain drawback 3). In a production sys- (Further discussion about direct tool-to-tool delivery, see
tem that allows direct tool-to-tool delivery (like unified [2].)
OHT system), the system operates in following way. When
a tool completes a process for wafers in a carrier, if there is
FRAMEWORK FOR ESTIMATION OF ENTIRE
an empty load port of tools that correspond to next process
FAB PRODUCTIVITIES
step of the carrier, the system determines to deliver the
It is obvious that in order to eliminate these three draw-
carrier to the tool directly (Fig. 3). If there is no empty load
backs, it is necessary to introduce model modules for pro-
port of tools, the system determines to deliver the carrier to
duction tools into simulation model framework. But It is
a stocker and then deliver it to a tool when its load port
also as much as important to incorporate a part of MES
becomes empty (Fig. 4). However, traditional framework
capabilities into the model. This is because it is MES that
does not include model modules of production tools, so the
generates transport requests in response of tool load port
model cannot recognize a load port is empty or not. This
status and determines the carrier destination, that is,
fact makes it impossible to derive the probability that a
whether a carrier should go to stocker or not. However,
carrier goes through a stocker (via-stocker ratio) from the
when we include these into our simulation models, we must
model.
be careful about how precise we will model these items.
Intra-bay and inter-bay unified OHT system Over-detailed models require too many kinds of parameters,
increase number of variables to be varied, and increase
number of required simulation cases rapidly. However,
oversimplified models cannot say useful predictions. In
Stocker If the tool group for the next Stocker order to know adequate level of details, we need to know
process step of the lot has
any empty loadport when which parameters are dominant for simulation results. We
the process of the lot have studied this issue with helps of mathematical consid-
Tool-B1 finishes, the lot goes to the
tool. eration and simulation studies.
Tool-B2
Tool group for In traditional simulation framework, a foup is erased at its
Tool-B3 next step of 装置
Tool-A
the lot destination location, that is, a load port or a stocker shelf.
But in order to get tool utilization data, a foup must remain
after arriving at a load port of the tool, then wait for proc-
Fig. 3 Logic of direct tool-to-tool delivery (in case to go to a tool) essing of the tool, then be processed by the tool and then
wait for AMHS moving it to its next destination. Further-
Intra-bay and inter-bay unified OHT system
more a foup also must remain in a stocker in order to esti-
mate required capacity of a stocker. So, a foup must remain
from its entering into a fab to its going out of the fab. So,
each transport request is not generated independently. In
Stocker If the tool group for the next Stocker order to determine a destination of a foup, process flows of
process step of the lot has no
empty loadport when the
products are required as input data for the simulator. To get
process of the lot finishes, tool utilization data, process time for each process step in a
Tool-B1 the lot goes to a stocker.
process flow is required. Furthermore, to determine trans-
Tool-B2 port volumes, release rate of each product is required. Be-
Tool group for cause process flow and release rate of each product deter-
Tool-B3 next step of 装置
Tool-A
the lot mine frequencies of transport requests, we don’t need
from-to tables as input data. As described in [1], variability
Fig. 4 Logic of direct tool-to-tool delivery (in case to go to a stocker) of process time has effect on waiting time of lots and num-
ber of lots in a queue. So, we need value of process time
Drawback 1) directly spoils the ability to estimate fab pro-
for each recipe as input data rather than average process
ductivity. It makes the traditional framework impossible to
time over recipes. Furthermore because setup time, MTTR
show whether a delivery time as a simulation result is short
and MTBF of a tool can affect waiting time of lots and
enough for the target tool or not. Drawback 2) is also seri-
number of lots in a queue as well, they are required as input
ous for AMHS vendors to design AMHS configurations.
data.
Furthermore, it is also very important to estimate load of a
stacker crane to determine number of necessary stockers,
but because it is necessary to estimate via-stocker ratio in
order to estimate load of a stacker crane in a production
system that allows direct tool-to-tool delivery, drawback 3)
is also serious for AMHS system configuration designers.

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takt can-be-overlapped
10

Q ueue T im e * Process
time process time
8
takt can-be-overlapped
time process time 6 S equencial

R ate
4 C oncurrent
takt can-be-overlapped
time process time 2

takt can-be-overlapped 0
time process time 0 50 100
T ool U tilization (%)
Fig. 5 ’Takt time’ and ‘can-be-overlapped process time’ of a process time

Graph 2 Comparison of tool utilization v. s. Queue time curves for differ-


From analyses described in [3] and [4], we see that number
ent timing of generation of transport requests.
of load ports on a tool, ‘can-be-overlapped process time’
(‘can-be-overlapped process time’ is a part of a process
time during which another lot can be processed. ‘Takt time’
is the other part of a process time during which no other lot TECHNIQUES FOR EFFICIENT SIMULATION
can be processed. See Figure 5) and timings of transporta- STUDIES
tion requests generated by MES are required as input data. We have found that in order to do this type of simulations
Graph 1 shows example of a simulation result that indicates efficiently, it is very important to get agreement of custom-
impact of numbers of load ports on tool utilization v.s. ers on degrees of preciseness of simulation models. The
queue time curve. Graph 2 shows example of a simulation reason is that we can not always get all necessary data from
result that indicates impact of timings of transportation our customers because often some data may be hard to be
requests generated by MES on tool utilization v.s. queue estimated or collected. The key points of getting custom-
time curve. The word ‘Sequential’ in Graph 2 means that ers’ agreement are 1) to clarify kinds of data that customers
foup unloading activity and loading activity are done se- can offer, and 2) to make customer understand relation-
quentially and the word ‘Concurrent’ means that foup ships between causes (i.e. input parameters) and results (i.e.
unloading and loading activities are done concurrently. productivity measures) in order the customer to understand
These considerations described above determined compo- which kind of data has how much degree of impacts on
nents and parameters necessary for our models. Figure 6 simulation results.
shows an outline of simulation framework for estimation
of entire fab productivity.
Lot-related data
AMHS-related Tool-related data Product release rate MES-related
data Number of Process flow data
AMHS layout loadports Process time Control
10
Q ueue Tim e * Process

AMHS MTBF/MTTR Overlapped process time scenarios


parameters Setup time /frequency
8
6 2LP s
R ate

4 3LP s

2 Advanced AMHS Simulator


0
0 50 100
T ool U tilization (%)
Stocker capacity
Delivery time
Stocker utilization Tool utilization
Transport volume
Graph 1 Comparison of tool utilization v. s. Queue time curves for differ- Via-stoker ratio

ent number of load ports.


Fig. 6 Input and output data of AMHS simulation framework for estima-
tion of fab productivity.

There is another issue we should consider to perform such


simulation studies efficiently. The advanced simulation
framework shown Fig, 6 has much more input parameters
than traditional simulation framework (Fig. 2) has. So, it
increases number of simulation cases that should be done
dramatically and increases efforts and time for achieving
simulation studies in order to find an optimal fab configu-
ration. To mitigate combination explosion of number of

197
simulation cases, we propose three phase simulation stud- [4] H. Kondo, T. Egawa and S. Nakamura, “Combination Bottlenecks in
ies. In the first phase, we do simulation studies with using full automated Fab and its countermeasures.” Proceedings in Interna-
tional Symposium on Semiconductor Manufacturing – ISSM, Sept.
models that do NOT include AMHS model modules. In this 2003, pp.279-272.
phase, we check and solve throughput and fab cycle time
issues and get from-to table as one of simulation results. In [5] SEMI E87-0706 Specification for Carrier Management (CMS)

the second phase, we do simulation studies with using AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY


model that include ONLY AMHS model modules. The Hiroshi Kondo joined NEC Corporation in 1982 and had
from-to table we got in the first phase is used as input data been engaged in development of Factory Automation Sys-
in this phase. We then see TL (Time for loading. It is de- tem (especially real-time Dispatching system) for semicon-
fined as time duration from determination of lot that should ductor Fabs. In 1998 he joined Selete (Semiconductor
be delivered to a tool to completion of loading operation.) Leading Edge Technologies, Inc.) and developed AMHS
and TU (Time for unloading. It is defined as time duration simulation model and common communication specifica-
from when a load port becomes ready to unload a carrier tion between AMHS and MES. In 2002 he joined Asyst
(i.e. “ReadyToUnload” event defined in SEMI E87 CMS Shinko, Inc. and now is in charge of AMHS simulation
[5]) to completion of unloading operation (i.e. “ReadyTo- researches.
Load” event defined in SEMI E87)) for each tool and
check whether the tool has load port neck or not by calcu-
lating discriminant for load port neck (see, [3] and [4]). If
the discriminant says it will have load port neck, we will
modify the AMHS configuration. After solving lord port
problems, we proceed to the third phase. We use models
that include both production tool and AMHS model mod-
ules for final confirmation. First two phases play role as
pre-checker of fab configurations. These would find prob-
lems of fab configurations prior to do simulation with total
model like shown at Fig. 6. Using these two phases de-
crease number of simulation cases that should be done, and
therefore decrease efforts and time to find an optimal fab
configuration.

CONCLUSIONS
AMHS vendors are being expected not only to offer trans-
port capabilities but also to guarantee its contribution to
entire fab productivities. But traditional AMHS simulation
framework cannot say anything about fab productivities
due to lack of production tool models. In this paper, we
described a model framework for advanced simulation that
can predict fab productivities. We also pointed out some
techniques that contribute to efficient simulation studies.
We expect that this framework enable us to estimate tool
utilizations, required storage capacities and via-stocker
ratios, and helps us to propose more optimized configura-
tions of AMHS to our customers.

REFERENCES
[1] Wallace J. Hopp, Mark L. Spearman, “Factory Physics – Founda-
tions of Manufacturing Management SECOND EDITION” New
York: McGraw-Hill, 2000, especially Section 8.6.7
[2] H. Kondo, “Study for realizing effective direct tool-to-tool delivery.”
Proceedings in International Symposium on Semiconductor Manu-
facturing – ISSM, Sept. 2005, pp.21-24.
[3] H. Kondo, “Requirements for AMHS in 450 mm era.” Proceedings
in International Symposium on Semiconductor Manufacturing –
ISSM, Sept. 2006, pp.189-192.

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