Securing Europe’s competitiveness in the semiconductor manufacturing industry is one of the biggest challenges of the fast-growing electronic market. This is where ECSEL project SemI40 (Power Semiconductor and Electronics Manufacturing 4.0) is stepping in – it will establish smart, sustainable, and integrated semiconductor production. The project will pave the way for serving highly innovative electronic markets with products powered by microelectronics manufactured in Europe.
Smart factories lay in the heart of Industry 4.0. They take on board information and communication technology, triggering an evolution in supply chains and production lines that serves a much higher level of automation and digitalization. Put simply, it means machines operating on self-optimization and configuration, and often even artificial intelligence, in order to deliver high-quality goods and services.
This interconnection of information technology and industry is referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0. It is not a new technology – it’s simply a move towards the level of industrial digitalization that was not achievable a few years ago. This involves a range of advancements, such as Internet of Things and Cyber-Physical systems (i.e. sensors having the ability to collect and analyse information used by factories), developments in big data collection, and improvements in communications infrastructure secure enough to be used in an industrial context.
SemI40 focuses on smart production using cyber-physical systems, with secure data traffic playing a key role within and outside factories. The project’s aim is to develop processes that ensure secure communication across the partners in the supply chain environment characterized by different features – for example, in terms of age, operating system or interfaces. This will help to drastically reduce potential impact on production thanks to early identification of risks from malware.
Another major focus of Semi40 is to develop dynamic simulations of semiconductor manufacturing processes. They will enable production to be planned more efficiently, and will improve capacity utilization, cycle times and quality of the final product.
Semi40 aims at establishing a “learning factory” which will be able to respond to changes along the entire supply chain, and adapt more flexibly to variations in the configuration, flow of goods or customers’ order behaviour. This will allow for significant energy savings and more efficient use of resources.
SemI4.0 will also research the social impact on the jobs of the future - Industry 4.0 will in the long run change work functions and qualifications of employees. The requirements of future job profiles need to already be taken into account now. They increasingly entail system-oriented working and necessitate training and qualification measures that reflect the changes in production processes. As a result of these further developments, SemI40 will help secure more than 20,000 jobs at the companies involved.