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The fabrication of modern semiconductor chips is one of the most complex manufacturing efforts ever seen. A typical process sequence has more than 300 steps, runs in a semiconductor factory (in short: fab) which costs beyond 1 billion US$, where an individual manufacturing tool may be worth well above 10 million US$. Due to the large investments involved and often small margins it is important to optimize the manufacturing plant. The following and many more questions have to be answered: How many tools are required for a certain throughput, where are possible bottlenecks, how does the fab react to a product or process mix, what are typical run times for lots, how does equipment downtime influence the operation, how many operators are needed, what are the optimum scheduling and dispatching rules?
The detailed and quantitative answer to these questions cannot be given by analytical modeling. The model of a semiconductor fab resembles a highly dynamic system. Its system variables change state at discrete time steps. Therefore factory simulation with a discrete-event simulatior is the appropriate method to describe the fab and its operation.
FabSim contains a fab model and a discrete-event simulator in a compact program. It will give quick and efficient answers to the above questions.