Press briefing

Critical Semiconductor Sub-Systems providing the missing link to Future Data Analytics

February 15, 2018

Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and Edwards, the leading developer and manufacturer of sophisticated vacuum, abatement and subfab system solutions and services for the semiconductor industry, are launching a cooperation within Munich-based high performance center "Secure Connected Systems" ( The goal of the cooperation is to create an advanced performance characterization setup for predictive maintenance of subfab equipment as a reference for Industry 4.0 applications.

© Fraunhofer EMFT / Bernd Müller
Development of algorithms for predictive maintenance and process correlation for vacuum pumps.

Edwards is joining forces with the Fraunhofer research institutions AISEC, EMFT and ESK, with combined expert knowledge in the field of secure and reliable sensor networks. The cooperation involves research, development and evaluation of specific sensor and IoT technolgies, with the aim of generating and securing high-quality data to feed advanced analytics. Key is the research on the correlation between process and pump behavior to be piloted in the semiconductor cleanroom environment of Fraunhofer EMFT with a key role played by Edwards‘ next generation EdCentra data platform.

Exploring Industry 4.0 scenarios

The joint project of the Fraunhofer high performance center "Secure Connected Systems" in Munich with the industry partner Edwards focusses on the realization of predictive maintenance in the specific application of semiconductor production. In order to deliver efficient and effective service support of high-value assets, in this case vacuum pumps in a semiconductor manufacturing environment, predictive
maintenance techniques, such as equipment health prediction and correlation with process conditions, are essential.

The Fraunhofer EMFT 200 mm CMOS line together with the long established knowledge of the staff in semiconductor processing provide an excellent environment to study equipment and related process performance and validate advanced analytics and machine-learning solutions. The expertise of the Fraunhofer institutes ESK and AISEC in secure communication technologies is an important asset, enabling secure, flexible solutions for ‘connected’ fabs.

The implementation steps within the project include for example the development of a sensor setup at the Fraunhofer EMFT cleanroom equipment for acquiring data from various sources within the infrastructure, as well as the preparation of a connected sensor node network, including a secure Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure.

© Edwards Ltd. 2018
Edwards iXM1800 vacuum pump

Smart and cognitive maintenance

Novel Machine Learning techniques will be used to detect anomalies in sensor data. For this purpose, data fusion of several sensor data for combination and pattern recognition, as well as software algorithms for detection of specific states of instability are needed. The aim is to improve the process of predictive maintenance by exploring new machine learning algorithms fed with sensor data from above and below the cleanroom floor, to predict future performance and anomalies. Another important
aspect is the use of secure, highly reliable wireless communication between
equipment, taking into account factors such as energy consumption, data throughput and the unique nature of the semiconductor manufacturing environment.

A secure connection will be implemented to allow data, machine learning models and equipment status to be exchanged in real-time between secure locations: on premise at the Fraunhofer EMFT CMOS line, and remote in the cloud or Edwards HQ. As well as reducing response time for service, this simplifies analytical model development and deployment. The aim is to demonstrate a new reference architecture, consistent with the principles of Industrial 4.0, but tailored to the unique IP concerns of the semi-conductor industry. Sensor data from different entities within the fab can be stored in a secure data space that can scale upwards from a single tool or bay, to meet the needs of customers operating globally, but access to this data, and the movement of it, is restricted by applying single set of access rights and distinct policies.

Fraunhofer high performance centre "Secure Connected Systems" will demonstrate a smart maintenance solution at the Embedded World Exhibition & Conference in Nuremberg from 27th of February to 1st of March 2018 in Hall 4, Booth 470.