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The IRDS and Factory Integration: The Way Forward for Smart Manufacturing in Microelectronics

By James Moyne and Steve Moffatt

The new International Roadmap for Devices and Systems charts an end-to-end course for the computing ecosystem, including device manufacturing, and captures the trends in “smart” manufacturing for the microelectronics manufacturing industries.

Initially developed in the 1980s as the USA Semiconductor Roadmap, the International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) has existed as the global roadmap for the semiconductor industry since 1998. However, the past decade has seen a rapid industry evolution from device physics through manufacturing, driven by factors such as the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile devices, green technologies and big data. As a result, many in the industry agreed that a new approach to a technology roadmap was needed, and the final ITRS roadmap (ITRS 2.0) was published earlier this year [1].

IEEE, "the world's largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity", took the ball and in May 2016, announced the launch of the new International Roadmap for Devices and Systems (IRDS) program. With this launch IEEE is “leading efforts to build a comprehensive, end-to-end view of the digital ecosystem, including devices, components, systems, architecture, and software.” [2]

Table 1. The IRDS effort is divided into focus areas.

The interactions (arrows) and societal factors (ovals) that impact these focus area roadmaps are illustrated in Figure 1 [3,4].

Figure 1: Societal forces impacting challenges and opportunities in factory integration.

The IRDS Factory Integration Focus Area[3]

Smart manufacturing trends in our industries are captured in the Factory Integration (FI) focus area, which is dedicated to ensuring that the semiconductor manufacturing infrastructure contains the necessary components to produce items at affordable cost and high volume in a safe and sustainable manner.

It can be argued that technologies in FI are evolving faster than any other area, with the latest revolution being defined in "smart manufacturing" and "Industry 4.0" literature [5,6]. In defining FI directions it is important to understand that societal factors impact the evolution of FI in two ways: (a) with regard to the requirements they place on product technologies (which are roadmapped in other focus areas); and (b) from the perspective of FI leveraging these factors as capabilities in solutions. The following is an example of how some of these factors directly impact FI:

  • The Cloud: The advent of the cloud and cloud-based technologies provides tremendous opportunities in terms of analytics, addressing data volumes, coordination, enterprise-wide sharing and commonality, and leveraging capabilities across industries. However, it also presents challenges in terms of security from attack, security for IP protection, and performance.
  • Big Data: The data explosion in FI provides both challenges and opportunities for FI in terms of data volume, velocity, variety (merging), veracity (quality) and value (analytics).
  • Mobility: Mobile devices have and will continue to enhance the capabilities of FI systems in terms of accessibility, ergonomics and human-machine interaction, flexibility, portability, etc., but also can present many challenges in both security and performance..
  • Green Technology: The movement towards greener technologies and subsequent requirements for reduction in energy costs and "carbon footprint" significantly impact FI. First and foremost, they require that facilities objectives, such as energy consumption and ESH objectives like contaminated waste reduction, be an integral part of FI factory operation objectives.

The FI Focus team has addressed evolution of FI by providing an extendible roadmap that identifies challenges and potential solutions in the common and physical-system functional areas as shown in Figure 2. The following is a brief description of the scope of each of these areas:

  • Common functional areas
    • Augmenting Reactive with Predictive (ARP) covers augmentation of existing reactive technologies with predictive technologies including Predictive Maintenance (PdM), Fault Prediction (FP) Virtual Metrology (VM), predictive scheduling and yield prediction, and enhancing predictive capabilities of the factory with simulation and emulation.
    • Big Data (BD) identifies the challenges and potential solutions associated with the increases in data generation, storage and usage; the need for higher data rates; and the availability of additional data on equipment parameters. It specifically addresses the Big Data attributes of volume, velocity, variety, veracity and value.
    • Control Systems Architectures (CSA) covers general trends in control that are common across the FI space. These include the move to more granular control (e.g., from lot-to-lot, to wafer-to-wafer, to within-wafer); higher speed control; higher quality control methods; increases in control systems capabilities; the advent of new control paradigms such as fully distributed (autonomous) control and machine learning; and cloud-based and other new control platforms .
    • Environmental Safety and Health (ESH) projects the principles of a successful, sustainable, long range, global, industry-wide ESH program. Execution remains largely independent of the specific technology thrust advances to which the principles are applied. Thus, many ESH Roadmap elements, such as the Difficult Challenges and the Technology Requirements, remain similar to those presented in earlier Roadmaps.
    • Factory Operations (FO) provides many key drivers for the requirements and solutions needed for improved fab productivity, agility and flexibility. It covers the hierarchical operation of the factory; integration of factory component operations such as facilities and assembly/test; methods for overall factory productivity improvement, waste reduction and cycle time metrics; operational paradigms related to 450mm wafers and smaller lot sizes; the emerging need for integration with supply chain and future manufacturing paradigms.
    • Yield Enhancement (YE) addresses wafer environment contamination control, and characterization, inspection and analysis.
  • Physical-system functional areas
    • Production Equipment (PE) covers process and metrology equipment and their interfaces to other factory elements. It also focuses on addressing equipment-related productivity losses.
    • Material Handling Systems (MHS) covers transport, storage, identification, tracking, and control of direct and indirect materials. MHS covers requirements for automated MHS hardware and control systems.
    • Factory Information and Control Systems (FICS) includes computer hardware and software, manufacturing execution and decision-support systems, and factory scheduling, control and diagnostics associated with control of equipment and material-handling systems, and process control.
    • Facilities include the infrastructure of buildings, utilities, and monitoring systems.

Figure 2: 2016 Factory Integration Focus Area scope and structure

Looking Ahead

The FI area continues to evolve rapidly with new challenges in existing areas such as big data capabilities to support yield prediction, prioritization in new areas such as supply chain integration, and even the creation of new roadmaps for new paradigms such as artificial intelligence and cyber-physical systems (CPS). In the 2016 roadmap the following are two key areas where current efforts are being focused:

  • Big Data: The current Big Data section of the FI chapter addresses challenges and potential solutions associated the "5 Vs" of data Volume, Velocity, Variety (merging), Veracity (quality) and Value (analytics). Efforts in 2016 are focused on (1) quantifying these challenges by leveraging results from a survey conducted by the Yield Enhancement group, as well as discussions at the Advanced Process Control (APC) Conference [7] with big data experts, and (2) providing more information on the evolution of Big Data analytics.
  • Security: This area is rapidly growing in importance in FI and is receiving greater attention in 2016. Information security will be more challenging with the increase of data shared across the factory integration space. Challenges include protection of data and IP, and system protection against malicious attacks. Solutions in other industries should be heavily leveraged. While it is expected that a security roadmap in semiconductor manufacturing will rely greatly on advancements in other manufacturing areas, a framework for security in semiconductor manufacturing factory integration is still needed. The current FI roadmap summarizes basic security challenges and solution areas. Future roadmap versions will seek to better define an evolving FI security framework.

    The microelectronics manufacturing landscape is changing at a faster pace than ever before. This presents a challenge to maintaining an industry roadmap, especially in rapidly evolving areas such as Factory Integration. The IRDS represents a successful retooling of roadmapping in our industry to chart a course in smart microelectronics manufacturing for years to come.


    The IRDS is a consensus document resulting from contributions from a number of subject matter experts. The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution of these experts, especially Paolo Gargini, Michael Garner, and the members of the IRDS Factory Integration Focus Area team.

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    [1]2015 International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS): Factory Integration Chapter, available at
    [2]"IEEE Rebooting Computing Initiative, Standards Association, and Computer Society Introduce New International Roadmap for Devices and Systems to Set the Course for End-to-End Computing," available at
    [3]International Technology Roadmap for Devices and Systems, 2016 Edition: Factory Integration Area Focus Team White Paper (in preparation).
    [4]J. Moyne, "International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors (ITRS) Factory Integration, 2015: Summary of Updates and Deep Dive Into Big Data Enhancements," APC Conference XXVII, Austin, TX, October 2015.
    [5]Project of the Future: Industry 4.0 (Germany Ministry of Education and Research,
    [6]INDUSTRIE 4.0 – Smart Manufacturing for the Future (Germany Trade & Investment,Investment,