Semiconductor manufacturing inspired integrated scheduling problems : production planning, advanced process control, and predictive maintenance

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Cai, Yiwei

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This dissertation is composed of three major parts, each studying a problem related to semiconductor manufacturing. The first part of the dissertation proposes a high-level scheduling model that serves as an intermediate stage between planning and detailed scheduling in the usual planning hierarchy. The high-level scheduling model explicitly controls the WIP over time in the system and provides a more specific guide to detailed scheduling. WIP control is used to balance the WIP (Work In Process) level and to keep the bottleneck station busy to maintain a high throughput rate. A mini-fab simulation model is used to evaluate the benefits of different approaches to implementing such a high-level scheduling model, and to compare different WIP control policies. Extensive numerical studies show that the proposed approaches can achieve much shorter cycle times than the traditional planning-scheduling approach, with only a small increase in inventory and backorder costs. With increasing worldwide competition, high technology product manufacturing companies have to pay great attention to lower their production costs and guarantee high quality at the same time. Advanced process control (APC) is widely used in semiconductor manufacturing to adjust machine parameters so as to achieve satisfactory product quality. The interaction between scheduling and APC motivates the second part of this dissertation. First, a single-machine makespan problem with APC constraints is proved to be NPcomplete. For some special cases, an optimal solution is obtained analytically. In more general cases, the structure of optimal solutions is explored. An efficient heuristic algorithm based on these structural results is proposed and compared to an integer programming approach. Another important issue in manufacturing system is maintenance, which affects cycle time and yield management. Although there is extensive literature regarding maintenance policies, the analysis in most papers is restricted to conventional preventive maintenance (PM) policies, i.e., calendar-based or jobbased PM policies. With the rapid development of new technology, predictive maintenance has become more feasible, and has attracted more and more attention from semiconductor manufacturing companies in recent years. Thus, the third problem considered in this dissertation is predictive maintenance in an M/G/1 queueing environment. One-recipe and two-recipe problems are studied through semi-Markov decision processes (SMDP), and structural properties are obtained. Discounted SMDP problems are solved by linear programming and expected machine availabilities are calculated to evaluate different PM policies. The optimal policy can maintain a high machine availability with low long-run cost. The structures of the optimal PM policies show that it is necessary to consider multiple recipes explicitly in predictive maintenance models.