TSMC Pioneers the World’s First Automated Wafer Inbound/Outbound System, Reducing 13 Million Manual Tasks per Year
As an advocate for workplace safety and health, TSMC developed the world’s first “Automated Handling System for Wafer Warehouses” that effectively reduced the handling volume of warehouse staff by 95%. Moreover, a “Automated Wafer Inbound/Outbound System” was created by using automated packing and unpacking tools in the cleanroom to eliminate ergonomic hazards and improve transportation efficiency. As of January 2022, TSMC has deployed these systems to all 8-inch fabs, 12-inch GIGAFAB® fabs, and two backend fabs in Taiwan. On average, 13 million manual tasks can be reduced per year.
16 Packing/Unpacking Steps Automated, Enhancing Efficiency by 70%
After the raw material wafers required by TSMC’s various fabs are transported to the cleanroom through the automated receiving and warehousing system, employees will carry out the process of unpacking/packing, handling and delivery. In order to reduce ergonomic hazards, TSMC’s Intelligent Manufacturing Center (IMC) worked with Manufacturing Departments of Fab 14 and Fab 15, Material Supply Chain Management Division, and Intelligent Engineering Center to start the development of the “Automated Wafer Inbound/Outbound System” in 2015. After analyzing all manual procedures, the process was streamlined into 16 automated packing and unpacking steps. TSMC standardized the packing methods of 21 wafer providers which led to an unpacking success rate of 99%. Moreover, by using big data analysis, TSMC can accurately control the vacuum-pumping pressure and sealing heat of the packing tool to ensure its quality and safety. By deploying the system, the process efficiency has been enhanced by 70% and has become a standard design for all new fabs.
TSMC Wafer In/Out Fully Automated Management Process
Expanding the Scope to Achieve Fully Automated Management of TSMC Wafer In/Out
In addition to deploying the Automated Wafer Inbound/Outbound System to improve process efficiency in the cleanroom, IMC also worked with the Production Control Integration Department to expand the automation scope, introducing the wafer packing and sorting processes to the finished product warehouse and resulting in a monthly workload reduction of 314 tons for the warehouse staff and a 35% enhancement in efficiency for wafer delivery drivers. TSMC’s goal is to link all three systems – the “Automated Wafer Inbound/Outbound System”, the “Automated Handling System for Wafer Warehouses”, and the “Automated Wafer Packing and Sorting System” – to achieve fully automated management of wafer in/out in the third quarter of 2022 and provide a safer and heathier work environment for employees and contractors.