A pan-European research project involving 35 partners has been launched to increase the productivity of the semiconductor manufacturing process.
The three-year project known as IMPROVE (Implementing manufacturing science solutions to increase equipment productivity and fab performance) is aimed at reducing costs and processing time in the industry.
Industrial partners will work with academics from Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Portugal to improve the efficiency of semiconductor production sites and chip manufacturers.
The project has been launched due to the increasing complexity of chips, which has led to longer production times. An average of 550 individual process steps is currently required to create a chip, which takes around 12 to 16 weeks. The typical production run is 50 to 100 wafers, after which manufacturers have to reset production tools for the next product.
With a total budget of €37.7m (£32.9m), the project will seek to improve minute condition monitoring and predictive steps over the whole fabrication line, in addition to data-analysis strategies to increase the output of high-quality wafers and reduce manufacturing time.
IMPROVE is half funded by European partners with the other half publicly funded by the European Commission through the European Nanoelectronics Initiative Advisory Council (ENIAC).