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28th Annual U.S. APC Conference: Challenges and Practical Solutions in Advanced Process Control

By Nanochip Staff

Set for October 17-20 in Phoenix, Arizona, the annual U.S. Advanced Process Control (APC) Conference continues to be best public resource for understanding current and future APC challenges and solutions for microelectronics manufacturing. Get the latest information on fault detection (FD) control, run-to-run (R2R) control, predictive technologies including virtual metrology and predictive maintenance, big data and big data analytics, and the impact of new approaches such as smart manufacturing.

For over 25 years the APC Conference has been a premier showcase for the latest APC innovations in microelectronics manufacturing. In the 90s the first successes in R2R control and fab-wide FD were presented here. In the 2000s novel concepts related to virtual metrology and predictive maintenance were revealed. More recently solutions for big data and predictive analytics tailored for microelectronics manufacturing have been presented along side the latest innovations for APC staple technologies like R2R control and FD. Additionally key challenges in current solutions, such as setup cost and false alarms in FD and methods for secure data sharing, are formulated by user and supplier experts in working group sessions. In the microelectronics industry, it is generally accepted that the APC Conference is the place to learn about the current- and future state-of-the-art in the world of APC.

Who, What, When, and Where? APC Conference XXVIII 2016 is being held October 17-20 at the Hilton Phoenix/Mesa Hotel. The conference will begin with tutorials and a welcome reception on Monday, technical presentations including two keynotes along with poster presentations on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a technical IMA-APC Council Meeting on Thursday morning. The conference is underwritten by the Integrated Measurement Association (IMA), which has organized the event for the past five years. Conference platinum sponsors are Applied Materials, BISTel and Rudolph Technologies, with support also provided by Inficon, SC Solutions and Tokyo Electron.

Keynotes: Keynotes this year will be presented by key APC thought leaders Dr. Chris Maloney of Intel Corporation, and Kirk Hasserjian, Corporate Vice President of Service Product Development in the Applied Global Services business at Applied Materials. Details on the talks, including titles and abstracts, can be found at

Tutorials: In response to feedback from 2015 conference participants, this year’s all-day sessions will provide an introduction to APC concepts, solutions and trends, followed by practical demonstrations of APC solutions from Dr. James Moyne of the University of Michigan, along with experts from key solution providers, including Applied Materials, BisTEL, Buffalo Automation, INFICON and Rudolf Technologies. This provides an unparalleled opportunity for a broad perspective on the wide range of APC solution possibilities, all under one roof.

Presentations: The presentations at the APC conference are selected by an expert committee based on a technical review of extended abstracts.. They will cover a wide range of relevant topics including APC and smart manufacturing, virtual metrology, predictive maintenance, APC and predictive analytics, chamber matching, linking APC to yield, improving performance of existing APC capabilities (such as FD), and advancements in APC standards and technology roadmaps. In addition, a number of practical APC implementation success stories will be presented. A complete listing of presentations, along with conference registration information, can be found at

The IMA-APC Council Meeting: A key component of the Conference is the IMA-APC Council meeting. This event brings together APC technology experts, users, suppliers and other interests to discuss key current challenges facing microelectronics manufacturing APC users and implementers, and determine potential actions to address these challenges.

For example, at last year’s meeting it was agreed that the biggest issues in practical FD control deployment were the cost of FD model and limits development and maintenance, and unaccectable rates of false and missed alarms (see figure 1). In response to that concensus, at least two presentations (from the University of Cincinnatti and Applied Materials) will address these issues head on with new technologies and solution enhancements.

Figure 1: illustration of the use of data mining and equipment and process knowledge to improve on traditional FD. Here traditional FD indicated sporadic faults, however there were still issues with downtime and yield (upper left). Data mining and analysis (right) revealed lift time excursions were more directly associated with the fault. Subsequent enhancement of FD (lower left) allows for more accurate detection of the fault and even a level of fault prediction, resulting in reduced faults, downtime and scrap.

Information on discussion topics for this year’s IMA-APC Council meeting can be found at the conference web site. It is expected that the focus will be on mechanisms to support data sharing between the user and the service-solution provider while also maintaining security and IP separation.

It’s In Phoenix… in October! The locals say that October is one of the best times of the year in Phoenix, so come and enjoy the beauty of the desert and southwestern culture while beefing up your APC skills at the biggest APC Conference in years! If you are interested in using, enhancing, providing, or just learning about APC and all of its related technologiesincluding predictive capabilities, big data and smart manufacturingyou should be there. Make sure to stay for the whole conference and attend the Thursday IMA-APC Council meeting to get your voice heard and questions answered.

The microelectronics APC technology space continues to grow. The APC Conference is the place to be to optimize your resources today and in the future, and to get your your engineers connected to the nano-manufacturing APC community. We hope to see you there!

For additional information on what Applied is presenting at APC, contact