Vistrian FactoryLook in disk media operations

Vistrian FactoryLook in disk media operations

A leading manufacturer of disk drives selected Vistrian’s FactoryLOOK as their tool to monitor and manage key production processes in their disk media manufacturing operations. This implementation has successfully grown from a small initial pilot project to implementation in 9 manufacturing plants, in 4 countries, across 300+ production tools and in 90% of their production process steps.

Initial Pilot Implementation: The customer started with a pilot project consisting of 5 production tools spread across 3 production processes. The primary goal was to evaluate the usefulness of the Vistrian FactoryLOOK system in managing the performance of the process and equipment operations.

Based on the customer’s requirements, the average number of parameters extracted from each of the production tools was 20 at a frequency of between 2-5 readings per second.

In addition, the customer added a new type of sensor to one of the production tools to detect unusual disk behaviour at one of their processing steps. Because the machine controller was inaccessible, the Vistrian Spider was used to directly collect the sensor data on a continuous basis.

Results from Intial Implementation: After the pilot was released into production, the FactoryLOOK software was able to detect previously unknown and unseen behaviour from both the production tools as well as the operations staff. Specific examples of such behaviour were:

1. On some of the tools, FactoryLOOK reported that the power readings of the ultrasonic generators were surging to 4x the expected readings for a very short duration during each cycle. This was considered potentially damaging to the product, and the customer took steps with the equipment engineering teams to address this phenomenon.

2. The throughputs of tools were different and changing over time even though the process definition (recipe) used had not changed. Since FactoryLOOK was collecting cycle time information about the key bottleneck activity on the tool, the actual reason for the variance was clearly established to be the pneumatic actuator that was slowly deteriorating, but had not yet failed.

Moreover, a casual observer of the tool’s operation would not have been able to capture this detail of tool behaviour.

3. Operators were resetting the error messages on the HMI system and continuing to operate the tool after a tool failure had been reported. While this behaviour was suspected, FactoryLOOK provided clear records of this behaviour by recording machine states on a continuous basis. This data provided the customer with sufficient cause to initiate operator re-training.

4. The customer believed that equipment events/failures would lead to specific yield losses in production. However, there was no tangible data available about tool events in the past, since product failure analysis was only performed at the end of the production process.

Using FactoryLOOK’s event and alarm trend charts, the customer was able to see a distinct correlation between equipment events and the corresponding yield losses. FactoryLOOK was able to provide the user with a heads-up on potential yield problems, when used in this manner.

Based on the positive outcome and contribution of the pilot phase, the customer decided to take the next step and implemented the FactoryLOOK solution across a greater portion of their manufacturing process.

Subsequent Implementation: The customer embarked on implementation of FactoryLOOK to cover 100% of tools in 2 critical operations and has chosen 2 other operations that are deemed important in their manufacturing process.

The FactoryLOOK solution is currently implemented in 7 plants, in 4 countries and has grown to 300+ production tools being continuously monitored. In addition, 2 other product divisions and 4 additional plants in 3 countries have begun implementation rollout of FactoryLOOK.

Results from Subsequent Implementation: Upon successful implementation of the Vistrian FactoryLOOK system, the customer reported benefits in both production yield as well as equipment availability leading to a payback period of less than 6 months.

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