TSMC Partners with Suppliers to Build Industry-pioneering iSystem™, an Internet of Things and Intelligent Energy Saving System, Generating Energy Saving Benefits of NT$85 Million
TSMC is devoted to fulfilling green manufacturing and pursuing optimized energy and resource usage through continuous development of innovative technologies. In addition to developing industry-leading and world-class semiconductor green tools, TSMC partnered with Applied Materials and other sub-fab equipment suppliers to build iSystem™, an Internet of Things and Intelligent Energy Saving System, to control and achieve energy efficiency for sub-fab components under the prerequisite of no impact on fab tool production efficiency. The iSystem™ intelligent energy saving system has been successfully introduced into Fab 15B, on 2,351 vacuum pumps, 805 POU abatement, and 80 processes associated with 588 production tools. This has saved 13.4 million kWh of electrical energy annually, resulting in carbon emissions reduction of 13,800 tons and generating energy saving benefits of NT$85 million ($3 million).
Achieve All-time Dynamic Energy Saving via Automatic Adjustment of Required Energy for Production Tools
Historically, sub-fab components have been operated under full-loading mode (High mode) to ensure the exhaust of a variety of process gases used in semiconductor wafer manufacturing are abated in order to comply with government regulations and environmental and safety requirements. In 2016, TSMC partnered with suppliers to develop and introduce iSystem™ to bridge the communications gap between the fab production tools and sub-fab components. iSystem™ monitors chamber level ECID/SVID data for process gas flow status based on SEMI Equipment Communications Standards. iSystem™ uses the SECS/GEM information alone with operation parameters of sub-fab components in consideration of operation stability and criteria of destruction and removal efficiency (DRE) to deliver commands automatically and simultaneously to sub-fab components, enabling adjustment of the subcomponent operating parameters to match the real time needs of the process exhaust gases being generated.
Operating Mechanism of iSystem™, Internet of Things and Intelligent Energy Saving System
In addition to energy-saving mode, TSMC and its suppliers further developed sub-fab Sleep mode and Rest mode in compliance with SEMI standards, to enable deeper level of savings while production tools have an extended chamber idle or down time. Furthermore, TSMC optimized the control level and operation parameters of sub-fab components based on validated abatement results to improve energy efficiency and reduce the generation of NOx, providing further progress towards the dual goal of energy saving and environmental protection.
Introducing ISO 50001 Energy Management System and AI Technologies for Precise Energy Usage
In 2020, TSMC adopted ISO 50001 Energy Management System (EnMS) into iSystem™ for standardized systematic execution and efficiency assurance on energy saving. The quantified savings amount is automatically calculated by iSystem™ and the Energy Performance Index (EnPI) and Energy Baseline (EnB) are built from the data collected by iSystem™ from connected sub-fab components. In collaboration with TSMC IT department, iSystem™ alarm management system and energy saving reporting system are developed to precisely manage energy usage and sub-fab operation. Advancing to the next stage of energy saving management, the energy usage data will be archived in the cloud storage system, enabling the development of an automatic inspection and real-time signaling system to help detect and address abnormal equipment operation situations through AI and machine learning. Furthermore, increased energy efficiency can be realized through optimized operational parameters using big data analysis.
Continuous Improvement of iSystem™
For further expansion on the scope of energy saving, TSMC also worked with other semiconductor equipment suppliers to adopt the intelligent energy saving system into sub-fab components associated with all the processes and production tools. In addition to the application and development of intelligent energy saving system built in Fab 15B, the system was being adopted in Fab 18 in 2021 and will expand to all other 12-inch wafer fabs in Taiwan gradually. It is estimated to save 82 million kWh of electric energy annually, or 84.6 thousand tons of carbon emission reduction, generating energy saving benefits of NT$520 million ($18.6 million) in the future. TSMC continues to move toward the sustainability goal of carbon neutrality and net zero emission.