Process development execution systems (PDES) are software systems used to guide the development of high-tech manufacturing technologies like semiconductor manufacturing, MEMS manufacturing, photovoltaics manufacturing, biomedical devices or nanoparticle manufacturing. Software systems of this kind have similarities to product lifecycle management (PLM) systems. They guide the development of new or improved technologies from its conception, through development and into manufacturing. Furthermore they borrow on concepts of manufacturing execution systems (MES) systems but tailor them for R&D rather than for production. PDES integrate people (with different backgrounds from potentially different legal entities), data (from diverse sources), information, knowledge and business processes.
Documented benefits of process development execution systems include:
A process development execution system (PDES) is a system used by companies to perform development activities for high-tech manufacturing processes. Software systems of this kind leverage diverse concepts from other software categories like PLM, manufacturing execution system (MES), ECM but focus on tools to speed up the technology development rather than the production.
A PDES is similar to a manufacturing execution systems (MES) in several ways. The key distinguishing factor of a PDES is that it is tailored for steering the development of a manufacturing process, while MES is tailored for executing the volume production using the developed process. Therefore, the toolset and focus of a PDES is on lower volume but higher flexibility and experimentation freedom. The tools of an MES are more focused on less variance, higher volumes, tighter control and logistics. Both types of application software increase traceability, productivity, and quality of the delivered result. For PDESs quality refers to the capability of the process to perform without failure under a wide range of conditions, i.e. the robustness of the developed manufacturing process. For MESs quality refers to the quality of the manufactured good/commodity. Additionally both software types share functions including equipment tracking, product genealogy, labour and item tracking, costing, electronic signature capture, defect and resolution monitoring, executive dashboards, and other various reporting solutions.
In contrast to PLM systems, PDES typically address the collaboration and innovation challenges with a bottom-up approach. They start-out with the details of manufacturing technologies (like PPLM), a single manufacturing step with all its physical aware parameterization and integrating steps into sequences, into devices, into systems, etc.
Other rather similar software categories are laboratory information management systems (LIMS) and laboratory information system (LIS). PDESs offer a wider set of functionalities e.g. virtual manufacturing techniques, while they are typically not integrated with the equipment in the laboratory.
PDESs have many parts and can be deployed on various scales – from simple Work in Progress tracking, to a complex solution integrated throughout an enterprise development infrastructure. The latter connects with other enterprise systems like enterprise resource and planning systems (ERPs), manufacturing execution systems (MESs), product lifecycle management (PLM), supervisory, control and data acquisition (SCADA) solutions and scheduling and planning systems (both long-term and short-term tactical).
New ideas for manufacturing processes (for new goods/commodities or improved manufacturing) are often based on, or can at least benefit from, previous developments and recipes already in use. The same is true when developing new devices, for example, a MEMS sensor or actuator. A PDES offers an easy way to access these previous developments in a structured manner. Information can be retrieved faster, and previous results can be taken into account more efficiently. A PDES typically offers means to display and search for result data from different viewpoints, and to categorise the data according to the different aspects. These functionalities are applied to all result data, such as materials, process steps, machines, experiments, documents and pictures. The PDES also provides a way to relate entities belonging to the same or similar context and to explore the resulting information.
In the assembly phase from process steps to process flows, a PDES helps to easily build, store, print, and transfer new process flows. By providing access to previously assembled process flows the designer is able to use those as building blocks or modules in the newly developed flow. The usage of standard building blocks can dramatically reduce the design time and the probability of errors.
A PDES demonstrates its real benefits in the verification phase. Knowledge (for example in the semiconductor device fabrication – clean before deposition; After polymer spin-on no temperature higher than 100 °C until resist is removed) is provided in a format that can be interpreted by a computer as rules. If a domain expert enters the rules for his/her process steps, all engineers can later use these rules to check newly developed process flows, even if the domain expert is not available. For a PDES, this means it has to be able to
The processing rule check gives no indication about the functionality or even the structure of the produced good or device. In the area of semiconductor device fabrication, the techniques of semiconductor process simulation / TCAD can provide an idea about the produced structures. To support this ’virtual fabrication’, a PDES is able to manage simulation models for process steps. Usually the simulation results are seen as standalone data. To rectify this situation PDESs are able to manage the resulting files in combination with the process flow. This enables the engineer to easily compare the expected results with the simulated outcome. The knowledge gained from the comparison can again be used to improve the simulation model.
After virtual verification the device is produced in an experimental fabrication environment. A PDES allows a transfer of the process flow to the fabrication environment (for example in semiconductor: FAB). This can be done by simply printing out a runcard for the operator or by interfacing to the Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) of the facility. On the other hand a PDES is able to manage and document last minute changes to the flow like parameter adjustments during the fabrication. During and after processing a lot of measurements are taken. The results of these measurements are often produced in the form of files such as images or simple text files containing rows and columns of data. The PDES is able to manage these files, to link related results together, and to manage different versions of certain files, for example reports. Paired with flexible text, and graphical retrieval and search methods, a PDES provides the mechanism to view and assess the accumulated data, information and knowledge from different perspectives. It provides insight into both the information aspects as well as the time aspects of previous developments.
Development activities within high tech industries are an increasingly collaborative effort. This leads to the need to exchange information between the partners or to transfer process intellectual property from a vendor to a customer. PDESs' support this transfer while being selective to protect the IPR of the company.
Computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) also known as Computer-aided Modeling or Computer-aided Machining is the use of software to control machine tools and related ones in the manufacturing of work pieces. This is not the only definition for CAM, but it is the most common; CAM may also refer to the use of a computer to assist in all operations of a manufacturing plant, including planning, management, transportation and storage. Its primary purpose is to create a faster production process and components and tooling with more precise dimensions and material consistency, which in some cases, uses only the required amount of raw material, while simultaneously reducing energy consumption. CAM is now a system used in schools and lower educational purposes. CAM is a subsequent computer-aided process after computer-aided design (CAD) and sometimes computer-aided engineering (CAE), as the model generated in CAD and verified in CAE can be input into CAM software, which then controls the machine tool. CAM is used in many schools alongside Computer-Aided Design (CAD) to create objects.
Computer-aided engineering (CAE) is the broad usage of computer software to aid in engineering analysis tasks. It includes finite element analysis (FEA), computational fluid dynamics (CFD), multibody dynamics (MBD), durability and optimization. It is included with computer-aided design (CAD) and computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) in the collective abbreviation "CAx".
In industry, product lifecycle management (PLM) is the process of managing the entire lifecycle of a product from inception, through engineering design and manufacture, to service and disposal of manufactured products. PLM integrates people, data, processes and business systems and provides a product information backbone for companies and their extended enterprise.
Computer-aided technologies (CAx) is the use of computer technology to aid in the design, analysis, and manufacture of products.
Enterprise software, also known as enterprise application software (EAS), is computer software used to satisfy the needs of an organization rather than individual users. Such organizations include businesses, schools, interest-based user groups, clubs, charities, and governments. Enterprise software is an integral part of a (computer-based) information system; a collection of such software is called an enterprise system.
Integrated circuit design, or IC design, is a subset of electronics engineering, encompassing the particular logic and circuit design techniques required to design integrated circuits, or ICs. ICs consist of miniaturized electronic components built into an electrical network on a monolithic semiconductor substrate by photolithography.
Knowledge-based engineering (KBE) is the application of knowledge-based systems technology to the domain of manufacturing design and production. The design process is inherently a knowledge-intensive activity, so a great deal of the emphasis for KBE is on the use of knowledge-based technology to support computer-aided design (CAD) however knowledge-based techniques can be applied to the entire product lifecycle.
Microfabrication is the process of fabricating miniature structures of micrometre scales and smaller. Historically, the earliest microfabrication processes were used for integrated circuit fabrication, also known as "semiconductor manufacturing" or "semiconductor device fabrication". In the last two decades microelectromechanical systems (MEMS), microsystems, micromachines and their subfields, microfluidics/lab-on-a-chip, optical MEMS, RF MEMS, PowerMEMS, BioMEMS and their extension into nanoscale have re-used, adapted or extended microfabrication methods. Flat-panel displays and solar cells are also using similar techniques.
Technology computer-aided design is a branch of electronic design automation that models semiconductor fabrication and semiconductor device operation. The modeling of the fabrication is termed Process TCAD, while the modeling of the device operation is termed Device TCAD. Included are the modelling of process steps, and modelling of the behavior of the electrical devices based on fundamental physics, such as the doping profiles of the devices. TCAD may also include the creation of compact models, which try to capture the electrical behavior of such devices but do not generally derive them from the underlying physics.
Semiconductor process simulation is the modeling of the fabrication of semiconductor devices such as transistors. It is a branch of electronic design automation, and part of a sub-field known as technology CAD, or TCAD.
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to automation:
Post-silicon validation and debug is the last step in the development of a semiconductor integrated circuit.
Digital Prototyping gives conceptual design, engineering, manufacturing, and sales and marketing departments the ability to virtually explore a complete product before it's built. Industrial designers, manufacturers, and engineers use Digital Prototyping to design, iterate, optimize, validate, and visualize their products digitally throughout the product development process. Innovative digital prototypes can be created via CAutoD through intelligent and near-optimal iterations, meeting multiple design objectives, identifying multiple figures of merit, and reducing development gearing and time-to-market. Marketers also use Digital Prototyping to create photorealistic renderings and animations of products prior to manufacturing. Companies often adopt Digital Prototyping with the goal of improving communication between product development stakeholders, getting products to market faster, and facilitating product innovation.
Enterprise test software (ETS) is a type of software that electronics and other manufacturers use to standardize product testing enterprise-wide, rather than simply in the test engineering department. It is designed to integrate and synchronize test systems to other enterprise functions such as research and development (R&D), new product introduction (NPI), manufacturing, and supply chain, overseeing the collaborative test processes between engineers and managers in their respective departments.
Manufacturing execution systems (MES) are computerized systems used in manufacturing to track and document the transformation of raw materials to finished goods. MES provides information that helps manufacturing decision makers understand how current conditions on the plant floor can be optimized to improve production output. MES works in real time to enable the control of multiple elements of the production process.
Business process management (BPM) is a discipline in operations management in which people use various methods to discover, model, analyze, measure, improve, optimize, and automate business processes. Any combination of methods used to manage a company's business processes is BPM. Processes can be structured and repeatable or unstructured and variable. Though not required, enabling technologies are often used with BPM.
Plant Simulation is a computer application developed by Siemens PLM Software for modeling, simulating, analyzing, visualizing and optimizing production systems and processes, the flow of materials and logistic operations. Using Tecnomatix Plant Simulation, users can optimize material flow, resource utilization and logistics for all levels of plant planning from global production facilities, through local plants, to specific lines. Within the Plant Design und Optimization Solution the software portfolio, to which Plant Simulation belongs, is — together with the products of the Digital Factory and of Digital Manufacturing — part of the Product Lifecycle Management Software (PLM). The application allows comparing complex production alternatives, including the immanent process logic, by means of computer simulations. Plant Simulation is used by individual production planners as well as by multi-national enterprises, primarily to strategically plan layout, control logic and dimensions of large, complex production investments. It is one of the major products that dominate that market space.
Cloud manufacturing (CMfg) is a new manufacturing paradigm developed from existing advanced manufacturing models and enterprise information technologies under the support of cloud computing, Internet of Things (IoT), virtualization and service-oriented technologies, and advanced computing technologies. It transforms manufacturing resources and manufacturing capabilities into manufacturing services, which can be managed and operated in an intelligent and unified way to enable the full sharing and circulating of manufacturing resources and manufacturing capabilities. CMfg can provide safe and reliable, high quality, cheap and on-demand manufacturing services for the whole lifecycle of manufacturing. The concept of manufacturing here refers to big manufacturing that includes the whole lifecycle of a product.
Digital manufacturing is an integrated approach to manufacturing that is centered around a computer system. The transition to digital manufacturing has become more popular with the rise in the quantity and quality of computer systems in manufacturing plants. As more automated tools have become used in manufacturing plants it has become necessary to model, simulate, and analyze all of the machines, tooling, and input materials in order to optimize the manufacturing process. Overall, digital manufacturing can be seen sharing the same goals as computer-integrated manufacturing (CIM), flexible manufacturing, lean manufacturing, and design for manufacturability (DFM). The main difference is that digital manufacturing was evolved for use in the computerized world.
Predictive engineering analytics (PEA) is a development approach for the manufacturing industry that helps with the design of complex products. It concerns the introduction of new software tools, the integration between those, and a refinement of simulation and testing processes to improve collaboration between analysis teams that handle different applications. This is combined with intelligent reporting and data analytics. The objective is to let simulation drive the design, to predict product behavior rather than to react on issues which may arise, and to install a process that lets design continue after product delivery.