A semiconductor is an essential element in electronic devices that run our digital life globally, giving the technology its essence; it is the core of almost all intelligent electronic devices. Smaller than a fingernail, Yet capable of revolutionizing digitization and advancing technology on a global scale, these tiny chips are manufactured through a complex and time-consuming process, regulated under a sterile environment and a significant amount of finance. Implementing digital twin technology in the manufacturing process of semiconductors will have a positive impact and play a vital role in production, assisting with machine maintenance, creating quick and accurate designs, and enhancing performance while taking over several other roles.
The reasons for the demand and supply gap in semiconductor manufacturing
RISE OF DIGITIZATION
As the Fourth Industrial Revolution took hold of the globe, the need for digital devices increased in every corner of the world, and the demand for more advanced products grew. In order to manufacture such high-tech products, Companies require advanced chips in a short period of time due to fewer companies standing in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, with several electronic business orders to complete, creating a gap in the supply and demand chain of the semiconductor manufacturing business.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, when the world was under quarantine, global operations came to a standstill, forcing people from all walks of life and organizations to adapt to new ways of keeping their businesses running. People of all ages, from students to CEOs, had to adapt to virtual platforms. Entertaining and socializing while confined indoors has resulted in an increase in the demand for electronic devices, such as mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. Consequently, semiconductor manufacturing companies witnessed an immediate spike in demand, causing them to ramp up their production quickly. As semiconductors are pretty complex to produce, even under controlled conditions and with high levels of precision, it can take approximately 4 to 6 months to mass produce.
The shortage of semiconductors has had a profound impact on the automotive industry, affecting its manufacturing. The sudden rise in demand for electronic phones, laptops, and tablets during the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this issue, causing an adverse effect, and resulting in limited numbers of cars being produced. The more advanced these semiconductors are, the more complicated they are to produce. Because of this, automobile manufacturing companies are not able to manufacture progressive cars.
ROLE OF DIGITAL TWIN IN SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING
DIGITAL PROTOTYPE CREATION
Prototypes are the first physical representation of the product, giving designers an opportunity to make necessary changes that are appropriate for improving the product. Implementing a digital twin in the prototype creation phase will assist semiconductor designers in creating a virtual replica of the semiconductor, thus constructing an efficient design. A design that reduces the time needed for fault-finding procedures and is more accurate gets better with each change made.
INNOVATION IN SEMICONDUCTOR DESIGN
The need for new and advanced technology has become a necessity rather than a want not only in every business but also in the semiconductor industry. Semiconductor design is a tedious task that involves numerous calculations and several modifications to design integrated circuits, which take on the various complicated roles in electronic devices. Using digital twins in the semiconductor design stage will give designers the freedom to be creative while producing less waste and driving innovation.
SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURING MACHINE MAINTENANCE
The fabrication process of manufacturing semiconductors is a time-consuming one, as they can be as small as a fingernail and are capable of performing several vital roles. It can take up to 4 to 6 months to produce one batch of semiconductors as they are manufactured in an environment where even the air is controlled. To meet the demand and supply gap of a highly digitized world, these machines run relentlessly, causing their components to wear out more quickly than usual, resulting in a massive loss of resources and halting the production process. Digital twin technology will not only administer the machinery and its components but also relay real-time data to the maintenance team so that any errors can be fixed before they occur and stop the entire production of semiconductor manufacturing.
CONTROL OVER THE SUPPLY CHAIN
Once the semiconductors have been fabricated, they need to be delivered to the assembly division of the device promptly due to the increased demands of the market that must be satisfied. This supply chain must be smooth and efficient with no delays, as it could cause major losses for both companies and result in the loss of customer relations. Digital twin technology has the ability to create a twin for the entire supply chain of the semiconductor, giving businesses insights into each and every nuance by analyzing and predicting future flaws and errors, and also giving them a set of possible solutions that can be applied to keep the flow of the supply chain moving smoothly.