12 October 2021
IQE selects Critical Manufacturing MES to integrate processes across global production sites
Critical Manufacturing S.A. of Porto, Portugal (a subsidiary of ASM Pacific Technology) says that - following detailed technical discussions and evaluation based on its experience in the semiconductor industry, comprehensive functionality and extensive configurability - its manufacturing execution system (MES) has been selected by epiwafer foundry and substrate maker IQE plc of Cardiff, Wales, UK to replace legacy systems across its global business.
“The Critical Manufacturing MES has far-reaching capabilities to meet our production needs,” comments IQE’s chief operating officer Keith Anderson. “This strategic project will transform our production with enhanced integrated process control, real-time visibility of global operations, and improved production efficiency,” he adds. “The system will support our goals for continuous process improvements, greater business agility, enriched quality assurance, and easier compliance.”
IQE will be installing the new MES at all of its global production facilities. A core model will initially be deployed at its two facilities in South Wales, UK, and then the system will be rolled out to IQE’s other global production sites in Massachusetts, North Carolina, and Taiwan. The configurability of the system means that IQE can use the same system model at all locations, providing it with standard processes and improved knowledge transfer across global sites.
“Our MES is specifically designed to handle highly complex processes and will enable IQE to continue to deliver world-leading quality with tight integration between applications and physical manufacturing equipment,” says Critical Manufacturing’s CEO Francisco Almada-Lobo.
The MES gives IQE the capacity to readily reschedule production needs, taking into consideration all production factors such as equipment setup and throughput time, manpower and materials availability. With its ability to integrate processes and systems, IQE will be able to increase the level of automation throughout its facilities. This should lead to improved production speed, reduced errors, and less need for manual interventions, optimizing the utilization of IQE resources, it is reckoned.
“Our MES solution is highly modular to deliver all the capabilities IQE requires, integrated into a single, unified solution with user-configurable, intuitive graphical user interfaces (GUIs),” says Almada-Lobo. “Users will have access to support their daily process routines through a single application, ensuring they have the correct information to carry out tasks swiftly and correctly.”
The MES will provide complete manufacturing traceability and visibility, ensuring that correct information reaches relevant users to enable informed, fast and error-free execution of processes. Advanced analytics and easy reporting tools will further support this digital backbone for IQE’s business to reinforce strategic decision making and facilitate greater agility to respond to production or business disturbances.
The Critical Manufacturing MES supports smart manufacturing and is designed for connectivity to different protocols for legacy and new Internet of Things (IoT) devices and production systems. It is fully designed to adapt and evolve with IQE’s future business demands.
“This is an exciting step for our business and part of our core automation and digitalization strategy,” notes Anderson. “It gives us a platform to incorporate new technologies as they emerge and provides us with the capabilities to innovate cutting-edge products and deliver world-class service to our customers.”