SilTerra was founded in December 1997 as one of the first foundries established in Malaysia.
The foundry, which produces 0.25 μm CMOS devices on 200 mm wafers, was built in close coordination with LSI Logic Corporation (Milpitas, CA).
Tefen was introduced in the early stages of the project and contributed to
this success story in a number of ways that are outlined below.
Production Resource Planning
In order to achieve a monthly production capacity of at least 30,000 wafers (200 mm), SilTerra compiled a preliminary list of required equipment.
This list used tool-specific information available in LSI’s Industrial Engineering (IE) database and assumed certain technology, product mix and equipment throughput.
The team used Tefen’s Visions™ capacity planning software.
Visions takes equipment and process metrics such as throughput (units/hr), tool availability, test wafer usage, and process flows and calculates the required tool count, identifies bottlenecks and allows the user to perform “what-if” analysis for multiple time periods.
The number of operators and technicians needed for fab ramp-up was determined by using output from Visions together along with Tefen’s staffing
Micro Project Scheduling
Using the Macro schedule, the next step was to developed a detailed micro-level schedule.
The main building block used was a tool template that incorporated all of the activities required for receiving, installing and qualifying each production tool and its support systems.
SilTerra’s management set a target period of 40 days for move-in, installation, and qualification of each major piece of equipment.
After completing the first round of tool templates, tool dependencies were identified and incorporated into the schedule.
For example, many process tools could not be qualified without some key metrology equipment, and it was important to
capture these dependencies.
Based on the critical path of the micro schedule, we developed a detailed
move-in plan. The goal was to move-in seven tools during a 24 hour time period.
Some contingency plans were developed with alternative move-in paths, equipment and resources.
Different manufacturing areas and equipment were prioritized to allow cleanroom builders to allocate their resources more efficiently.
Tefen was in charge of this complex schedule.
Move-in and Installation
To minimize the impact of delayed flights, bad weather, transportation equipment breakdown and other unforeseen events, several air conditioned warehouses were rented close to the fab.
Details of the move-in plan, such as move-in path, moving equipment, de-crating, wipe down and cleaning were clearly defined and several specifications were developed.
We moved in several small tools before The official start to help streamline the
process and identify potential problems and “show stoppers.”
After months of careful planning and preparation, SilTerra began their move-in
activities in September 2000.
The operation proved extremely successful. Workers exceeded their initial goal of moving in seven tools per day.
In one month, more than two hundred pieces of equipment and their support components, together with hundreds of pumps, panels and other items were moved into their final locations in the fab and sub-fab.
Utilities Availability and Support
One of the major challenges was to ensure that the basic utilities needed to operate the equipment (such as electricity, exhaust, and drain) were ready on time. Several construction delays caused the schedule for these utilities to fall behind the tool installation schedule.
To minimize the impact of these delays on the overall plan, all efforts turned to
providing high priority FOAK (First Of A Kind) tools with the basic utilities.
To speed the recovery process, several cross-functional teams were formed, each consisting of construction, hook-up, facility and production engineering representatives.
The main responsibility of these teams was to ensure that utilities were available on time, in the right amount and within the specifications set.
These measures minimized project delays caused by base build activities.
Installing equipment in a cleanroom environment is a challenging task.
Many cleanliness requirements need to be met before installation teams can begin assembling the tool and connecting it to the different types of utilities within the fab.
SilTerra developed a detailed schedule for the “pre-facilitation” of major equipment, making sure that all facilities were ready at the point of connection (POC). One of the main advantages of such a schedule was that it allowed the installation and hook-up crew to accurately estimate their workload and balance it against available resources.
This plan allowed maximum utilization of scarce resources and was later linked to the overall project micro schedule for daily update and activity tracking.
Each manufacturing module (Photo, Etch, CMP, etc.) was internally qualified before line qualification began.
This ensured that equipment in one module would perform well with the other tools in that module.
The Integration group was in charge of this operation and managed to qualify the production line and produce the first yielding wafer in 89 days, a world record in the semiconductor business.
The first revenue wafer was produced two weeks ahead of schedule and SilTerra is well on its way to ramping up to 30,000 wafers per month by 2002.
Key Success Factors
The key factors that contributed to the success of this project were SilTerra’s strong management commitment, the support from LSI Logic and teamwork.SilTerra’s management was committed to building a world class manufacturingfacility in the shortest time frame in the most effective way possible. Management determined a set of milestones and incentive plans to reward people who contributed the most to the project.SilTerra promoted a “schedule oriented” culture and all activities were measured against the micro schedule targets.Managers, engineers and contractors were required to know the schedule andmajor milestones. All contractors drove their efforts toward on-time completion of tasks and main contractors were required to present their progress reports duringthe daily operations meeting.As the technology partner, LSI provided training to SilTerra engineers andmanagers. When fab construction began in Kulim, Malaysia, LSI provided its expertise and helped SilTerra with different construction problems. A team of experienced LSI’s engineers and managers stationed in Kulim assisted SilTerra with rapidly installing and qualifying the equipment.The broad scope of this project made teamwork a necessity. Various teams of experts were created to handle multiple tasks. For example, move-in and installation of tools in each manufacturing module was handled by a team consisting of equipment engineers, module IE’s, module managers, hook-up contractors and facility engineers.
The factors described above outline a very aggressive, but realistic, fab building
project. They have proven that in order to succeed in a project of this magnitude, teamwork and management commitment are critical.
The success of this project is also proof of the value and contributions
that the Industrial Engineering discipline brings to a project.
We believe that exceptional projects can not succeed by following conventional
methods. In pursuit of success, companies and individuals must develop new techniques and methodologies.
They have to plan for all possible situations and accept nothing but success.
We at Tefen Management Consulting provide professional strategic and business management that helps organizations to achieve this kind of success in the international market.