Intel Corporation and Fujitsu commenced collaborative verification of a system using IoT to visualize factory-wide environmental information (including electricity and water usage) and the operating statuses of semiconductor production lines, at the Intel Penang factory, a semiconductor fabrication plant, in April 2017.
This enables the management layer to ascertain the Penang factory's overall status in a timely manner and rapidly implement policies to further improve production efficiency.
Zero operational downtime and high productivity are the factory’s significant imperatives
“The most important things at the factory are to avoid operation stoppage and to optimize production activities,” says Ooi Kim Huat, General Manager of Penag Assembly / Test Operations at Intel. To achieve these objectives, factory workers must continuously check the operating status of equipment and manufacturing apparatuses, uncover any signs of future failures, determine when to replace consumables, and keep an eye out for wasteful energy use.
The Penang factory, which is Intel's largest semiconductor factory outside the U.S., has been using IoT to collect environmental information in the factory on a monthly basis, as well as to collect and aggregate data on each piece of manufacturing equipment on the semiconductor production lines to determine the causes of manufacturing equipment problems. However, it has always been challenging to grasp factory environmental information and semiconductor production line operating statuses in real time, and thus collected data has not been fully used to rapidly implement improvement measures.
IoT Collaboration for Smart Factories and Smart Offices
Given these circumstances, there was a growing need to build a system for the production lines that could obtain data from sensors, discover equipment with problems as soon as possible, and help solve such problems before they began affecting productivity. The management layer also wanted to grasp various information about the office and factory in a timely manner in order to quickly make decisions.
Intel and Fujitsu first started collaborative efforts to build IoT solutions in May 2015. In the first phase, the two companies launched a field trial with Shimane Fujitsu Limited, which primarily manufactures laptop computers, aiming to increase efficiency by visualizing the manufacturing process in the factory, and they successfully achieved results such as reducing shipping costs by 30%. Now, as part of the second phase, the two companies have begun verification of a smart office and smart factory at the Intel Penang factory to promote integrating IoT capabilities into factories. The companies commenced collaborative verification of a system using IoT to visualize the factory's overall status in real time, including the operating statuses of semiconductor production lines and energy usage, to improve production efficiency. This verification has confirmed visualization of factory-wide environmental information and visualization of the operating statuses of production equipment by linking with Intel IoT Gateway, which can process sensor data at high speed; the Fujitsu Cloud Service K5 IoT Platform, which centralizes and manages massive amounts of data; and FUJITSU Intelligent Dashboard, which provides graphical, cross-cutting visibility into various kinds of data.
Connect equipment and apparatuses in the factory
To provide real-time visibility into factory-wide environmental information and the operating statuses of semiconductor production lines
This system uses the Intel® IoT Gateway, a gateway equipment for IoT systems, to collect a variety of environmental information from electricity and water meters as well as from environmental sensors that measure temperature and humidity in the factory. This is in addition to operating status data from the semiconductor production lines, which is centralized and managed on the K5 IoT Platform service, an IoT data utilization platform that features distributed service platform technology and enables stable processing even when data amounts greatly fluctuate. Based on the collected data, the system then visualizes in an easy-to-understand manner important management indicators, such as energy used and costs incurred, as well as manufacturing equipment capacity utilization through the Intelligent Dashboard, which provides a cohesive data display.
With this system, changing situations in factories can be viewed in a cross-cutting manner. Smart offices are likely to enable assessment of daily progress and extraction of awareness for kaizen (continuous improvement) by visualizing office energy information on a daily basis.
Smart factories provide a real-time grasp of the status of all factory equipment and enable early discovery of equipment and apparatus failures as well as early implementation of countermeasures in addition to efficient maintenance, thereby enhancing productivity.
Further verification for factory-wide optimization
In this collaborative IoT effort, the process of factory-wide optimization consists of the following five phases: (1) connecting devices, (2) collecting and managing data, (3) visualizing that data, (4) analysis and forecasting, and (5) optimization. This verification at the Penang factory achieved (1) connecting devices, (2) collecting and managing data, and (3) visualizing that data.
Going forward, Fujitsu and Intel will further analyze the data currently being collected and visualized before proceeding to the (4) analysis and forecasting and (5) optimization phases to identify the best operational methods and predict malfunctions and failures in advance.
Eric Chan, Director of Market & Channels Acceleration at Intel, spoke of his future goals: “We will expand into IoT solutions for other industries in addition to the manufacturing sector. We also expect that our solutions can reduce costs, increase efficiency, and optimize staffing.” The two companies will continue this collaboration to help make manufacturing factories IoT-capable on a global scale.
- Official name: Intel Corporation
- Lines of business: Development, provision, and sale of microprocessors, chipsets, flash memories, etc.
- Business scale.
- Office: Santa Clara, California, USA etc.
- Number of overseas offices: more than 50 countries
- No. of employees: About 107,600
- Year of establishment: 18th July, 1968