In a June 2020 article titled “Preparing Your Business For Excellence During Crisis” published by Innowave, we discussed combining advanced technologies with a pragmatic change in operational paradigm to achieve business continuity and excellence in the midst of a global crisis.

Today, let us examine how making these important decisions has definitively improved the performance of the semiconductor industry.

Setting the Agenda

As businesses look to 2021 and beyond, one of the key lessons of 2020 is that efforts into automation should not be narrowly defined as “pandemic response”. Strategic goals like streamlining operational processes and labor dependency reduction must ultimately drive this innovation. As such, industry leaders find themselves making tough choices with regards to various structural reforms and infrastructure reinvestment.

One thing is certain: the hyper-accelerated drive towards Industry 4.0 is here to stay, and it is paramount that companies stay ahead of the curve in this fast-changing landscape.

Putting Ideas to Work

First and foremost in this effort is making a concerted effort to digitize. Companies are awash with analog data – from equipment, people, processes. By digitizing and analyzing this data, we improve the efficiency, productivity, and access by different users and stakeholders. The shift to paperless real-time monitoring of production also removes the need for manual monitoring and stacks of on-paper data.

Major technological advancements we have made in optics systems and computer vision have significantly reduced cost and increased capability of defect detection, recognition, and classification. Detection of minute crack lines, even with complicated backgrounds, before breakage also offer an early signal of the health of the line.

By combining our AI algorithm and computer vision techniques, with state-of-the-art automation with a UPH> 160, and easy-to-use HMI for operators, we have achieved a huge reduction of engineers and operators time.  This greatly reduces the need for data collation, analysis, judgement by engineers, and  improving detection rate and accuracy at the same time. The smart functions also make it possible for line people and operators to take fast action after the training of use of smart functions. 

True to our central strategy of designing end-to-end solutions, we deployed our proprietary platform that provides a whole suite of features that build on the data obtained from our crack detection tool. These include:

  • Real-time monitoring of crack and breakage rate in the entire production line
  • Trend of overall crack and breakage rate in any defined time frame, in conjunction with those rates observed in different layers
  • Occurrences of patterns of crack lines across production machines throughout a specified time window. 
  • Automatically analyze common machines for specific defects signature, or suspected equipment with certain failure patterns or defects signature.  
  • Tool health surveillance system that generates circumstantial report.

Meeting Goals

To achieve the objectives set by our customers, a series of active and intimate collaborations between us and various business stakeholders are necessary. This allows us to avoid potential pitfalls, explore deeper improvements, and to fully understand the problems and challenges faced by businesses.

This successful and proven model of collaboration has resulted in significant improvements, including over 65% reduction in scrappage and a corresponding increase in line yield, within just a few months, results in multi-million dollars saving. With proper training and change management, we are confident that our customers will continue to improve their yield without our active intervention.

An Eye on 2021

2020 was a challenging year. While we are grateful that it has also been a fruitful year, we have only just begun, with this article illustrating just one of several successful stories. Innowave Tech will continue to advance our technological edge, explore the benefits of digitization and automation, and develop other intelligent solutions for the semiconductor world.

Fig. 1 – Detailed Tool Health Information board

Fig. 2 – Result showing drop in BW after predictive tool maintenance

Fig. 3 – BW Quarterly Rate

A Word from Industry Leader


“Predictive technology was successfully incorporated in this Smart Camera System to detect sources for Crack/Broken wafers. This truly marks the spirit of Industrial 4.0!”

Alan Lek, Director of Yield

Skyworks Solutions, Singapore

About The Author

Xu Jin Song
Managing Director