The objective of the project was to improve European semiconductor fabrication plants efficiency by providing methods and tools to better control the process variability, reduce the cycle time and enhance the effectiveness of the production equipment.
This was achieved by development of new approaches in 3 major areas:
Virtually measure all processed wafers and to reduce sampling at standard metrology steps, thus improving cycle time.
Improve the process tools reliability whilst optimizing the maintenance frequency and increasing the equipment uptime.
Dynamically adapt the control plan, decreasing the number and frequency of control in the stable areas while increasing when needed in a sensitive zone.
The project started in January 2009 and ended in December 2011. Critical Manufacturing had the responsibility for the prototyping and modules specification for each of the major areas described before as well as their integration in a common fab-wide framework to be deployed at each of the IC manufacturers part of the consortium.
From over the 900 projects in the field of Industrial Technologies that have been launched under the Framework Programs 5, 6 & 7, Industrial Technologies, the IMPROVE project was selected as one of the 10 best research projects of 2012. The project won the Innovation award of Industrial Technologies 2012. During the award ceremony, Mr. Livio Baldi, from Micron, explained the impact of the IMPROVE project.