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The FabTime Cycle Time Management newsletter is a forum for introducing and discussing best practices in wafer fab cycle time management.
In this issue we have a brief recap of our September user group meeting, as well as an announcement about a new LinkedIn group that we’ve started for our software customers. Our software tip of the month is actually a list of 10 useful things that you can do with FabTime. In our subscriber discussion forum we have one response to an ongoing discussion of factors contributing to high cycle times in fabs.
Our main article this month is a bit of a change from our usual topics. FabTime’s Frank Chance has taken his introductory remarks from our User Group Meeting and turned them into an article. Frank reflects on his 30 years working in the high-tech industry, particularly the breathtaking pace of performance improvement in data storage. He compares this rate of innovation to the automobile industry, and also discusses some of the new applications that are enabled through access to inexpensive data storage.
In this issue we have the final agenda for our first-ever User Group meeting. Our software tip of the month for this issue is about using FabTime's new Tool Count trend and pareto charts to track the number of down tools by category (e.g. number of tools waiting for parts).
In our subscriber discussion forum, we have two responses to last month’s article about factors that contribute to fab cycle time. That article also inspired V.A. Ames of the SEMATECH Manufacturing Technology Center to offer to write a guest article about the six sources of equipment variation and ways to control them. After noting that the number one reported impact to fab cycle time continues to be equipment downtime and availability variability, V.A. elected to share his experience and “provide some insight into what needs to be done to lessen the impact of equipment variation on cycle time.” We believe that many of our subscribers will find food for thought in this article.
In this issue we have two FabTime announcements, one about a new software release, and one about the status of our user group meeting plans. Our FabTime user tip of the month is about using a new filter auto-complete functionality. Our subscriber discussion forum has a response to recent articles about reentrant flow, as well as a newly introduced question about making decisions when key staff members are not available.
In our main article this month, we share the results of the informal survey of cycle time-related issues that we have been conducting for the past 10 years. Specifically, we list the top 30 issues cited by people filling out forms on our website, in response to open-ended questions. In part because the top items on this list have not changed much over the years, we feel that this list suggests improvement opportunities to a number of fab stakeholders. We welcome your feedback.
In this issue, we are pleased to announce that the registration form for the first FabTime User Group meeting is now available. We also have a FabTime installation success story from one of our customers, and a call for papers for the 2013 APC Conference. Our FabTime user tip of the month describes the new dynamic search feature on the FabTime charts page. We have no subscriber discussion this month.
In our main article, we address a question raised by a new newsletter subscriber: Why should foundries care about improving cycle time? While acknowledging that cycle time motivations for pure-play foundries may be different from those of independent device manufacturers (IDMS), we propose several reasons why foundries should be focusing on cycle time improvement also.
In this issue, we are excited to announce our first User Group meeting, to be held this fall at the Atmel site in Colorado Springs (details below). We also have other community announcements regarding the Fab Owners Association meeting schedule, and WWK’s 7th annual semiconductor manufacturing technology survey. We have a new subscriber discussion question regarding percentages of hot lots and lots on hold, and responses to two past topics (Earned Plan Hours and OEE Loss Factors).
Because the subscriber discussion and announcements sections are rather lengthy this time around, we have opted for a brief main article. We revisit a topic first introduced way back in Issue 1.01: The Hawthorne Effect. The Hawthorne Effect refers to a tendency for worker performance to improve as a result of being monitored. Can you see the implication for reporting systems?
In this issue, we have one community announcement about a new production planning and control book published by three very long-time newsletter subscribers. Our software user tip of the month is about using the A20/A80 metrics to improve availability variability for tools. We have no formal subscriber discussion in this issue, but we have posed a few questions, in the hope of sparking some discussion for the coming year.
Our main article this month is about overcoming productivity losses that may occur during shift change. Whenever operators are measured (even self-measured) on move completions, there is a natural incentive not to start lots running that will not finish before the end of the shift. This leads to lost capacity on tools, as well as increased arrival variability to downstream tools. FabTime has been working with Cypress Semiconductor to develop a metric, called Earned Plan Hours, which attempts to overcome this behavior. As always, we welcome your feedback.
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