, on April 26, 2024, 05:36 PM

Latest Feature Releases & Updates: SYSTEMA Advanced Planning & Scheduling (APS) for Semiconductor v2024.1

(released 30.3.2024)

What’s new in SYSTEMA’s Advanced Planning & Scheduling solution (APS) designed for integrated semiconductor shopfloor execution?

In v2024.1 we introduce critical queue timers to allow efficient operations of workers such as Lithography or CMP. To support the operations of APS, we have enhanced the BI frontend to track and historize all relevant scheduler metrics. APS has been further enhanced to allow for planning idle time purposely to model timer or energy flexibility. The effectiveness of integrated batch formation and priority scheduling has been further improved. Additionally, this release comes with many other notable updates and refinements described below.

Key updates

Improved Maintenance Visualization in Dispatcher Web UI

With this release, the schedule view in the operator UI has been significantly improved to better display maintenance tasks. These tasks consume considerable tool time and are thus key to any successful scheduling deployment. SYSTEMA APS allows for integrated planning of production.

SYSTEMA Advanced Planning & Scheduling (APS) for Semiconductor v2024.1Figure 1: Gantt view visualizing the planning results. Different task types (indicated by color) are displayed jointly, incl. maintenance and engineering tasks.


Critical Queue Timers

In semiconductor frontend manufacturing, critical queue timers are factored in to avoid costly rework and scrap, making it an important objective to address in production planning and control. In the 2024.1 release, we have extended our multi-objective hybrid planning model to better support configurable timers. Now timers do support not only min and max settings and configurable critical steps, but also support intentional capacity reduction in upstream steps to ensure maximized timer compliance with rework while balancing other production targets.

SYSTEMA Advanced Planning & Scheduling (APS) for Semiconductor v2024.1Figure 2: Schedule of a multi-step use case in which a max timer ends in the cleaning step. The look-ahead planning model of SYSTEMA’s APS solution anticipates and minimizes timer violations, considering capacity limitations of upstream operations.


More Versatile Lot Priorities

We heard from you that four priority levels as previously supported by our schedule component (and also other competing products) are not sufficient to model the needs of the modern line control engineer. Starting with this release, the scheduling component now supports up to 9 different lot priority levels: when possible, very low, low, below normal, normal, above normal, high, urgent, critical, immediate. You can map your custom priority classes to this model. Furthermore, the dispatcher rule editor can be used to model dynamic priority classes at ease. Finally, lot priorities are now better balanced with other competing production targets such as setup avoidance.

SYSTEMA Advanced Planning & Scheduling (APS) for Semiconductor v2024.1

Figure 3: Gantt view for a stage scheduling use case with several different priority levels (indicated by color)


Improved Scheduler Operations UI

Whenever APS does its magic to optimize task-to-tool assignments while considering and balancing a multitude of optimization goals, it emits a great number of metrics. These metrics are stored for historical analysis. With this release, a shiny new reporting component allows line control engineers to track scheduling operations (and possible trends or deviations) over time.

SYSTEMA Advanced Planning & Scheduling (APS) for Semiconductor v2024.1

Figure 4: Snippets of the SYSTEMA APS operations UI. Various metrics related to shopfloor and solving performance are visualized to allow for a detailed analysis of the provided planning solution.


Revisited Batch Optimization

One key insight from the ongoing dialogue with our partners is the need to integrate batch formation and scheduling into a coherent planning function. With this release, we finally mark integrated batch formation as a stable function of the scheduling component. Batching rules can be configured from a range of common options or provided as custom elements. With batch formation enabled, the scheduler will not just propose the formation of batches, more importantly, it will optimize the WIP flow to maximize batch formation and utilization of critical batching tool-groups. Batches complement the existing wafer and lot processing modes in the scheduling algorithm.



Figure 5: Comparison of different planning approaches based on customer data. Left bar chart shows resulting batch sizes by dispatching. The right figure clearly states the improvement in terms of average batch size which can be achieved by batch optimization with SYSTEMA APS.


Dispatcher Features: “Merged Dispatch List” & “Group Views”

Merged Dispatch Lists are for use cases like clusters or an area where several dispatch lists with same sorting rules are merged into one dispatch list with configurable individual list entry data.

The next new feature, Group Views, is useful for tool areas. The best entry (material-tool combination) for that group is listed in the sorted material list, but the next best tool alternatives are also available in an additional field.

Other Improvements

Notable Improvements

  • SYSTEMA APS now runs with Java17 for better stability and performance
  • The Web UI has extended to allow more configuration of the tool schedule display
  • Schedule report generation in CLI has been improved to be more informative and organized displaying more metrics and KPIs
  • Metrics-DB now also tracks failed scheduler runs which can happen because of invalid master data configuration or other data integrity issues
  • Metrics-DB has been extended to track not just operational metrics, but also a configurable list of industrial engineering KPIs
  • The APS core has been reworked for dramatically improved performance when optimizing schedules

Notable fixes

  • APS CLI excel reader has been fixed to support queue timers
  • Solver core has been fixed to support tasks that are not assignable to any tool (because of lacking tool recipes)
  • Solver core has been fixed to support schedules with a make span longer than one year

For questions or to learn more about SYSTEMA APS, please contact us.


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