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Evaluating vacuum and abatement service maturity

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Fast and flexible operations from the clean room to the SubFab are propelling customers ambitious growth targets, but how does this translate to the maintenance approach for the vacuum and abatement system?

A service maturity model can be used as an assessment of how the vacuum and abatement system is contributing to Fab success. This model describes a progression from reactive maintenance through preventive maintenance to more prescriptive types of maintenance approaches. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, and what are the challenges faced as we move from level to level?

Evolving practices that leverage technologies like machine learning, big data, advanced analytics, cloud computing to work with the unique creative potential of human beings, is starting to take hold and propel customers in achieving their goals.

The evolving maturity of servicing and maintenance

As machines of all types have played an increasing role in all kinds of manufacturing, the methods and approaches to supporting and maintaining those machines have also evolved. The service maturity model that we incorporate in our own Operational Excellence model describes a progression through different service levels. (See infographic below).

1. The lowest level is to do nothing or 'worry about it later'. This approach is potentially the most costly.

2. The next is reactive maintenance – run to failure and fix it when it breaks. This is a risk-based strategy that looks at maintenance costs as a non-productive expense and focuses mostly on minimizing that cost.

3. The next level up is planned/preventive maintenance. At this level manufacturers are beginning to look at the value that maintenance adds, through improvements in efficiency and performance. Maintenance is scheduled periodically to occur before the equipment is likely to fail. Essential components of this approach determine the optimal period, standardising performance and procedures, and finding opportunities for improvement. 

4. Predictive maintenance, the next level, is condition-based and relies on increased monitoring of operational parameters to predict imminent failures. It seeks to maximise the time between interventions while avoiding failures.

5. The highest level is prescriptive, in which close collaboration between the user and the service provider and a shared commitment to continuous improvement, promotes a prescriptive approach to maintenance, or adjustments to machine operation that optimise outcomes to achieve the user’s goals.

The progression described in the service maturity model allows us to look at where we are and where our customers are – so we can align and collaborate to achieve the desired outcome. It is important to realize that there isn’t a way to assign customers to a level on the scale. Different customers, different locations of the same customer, and even different products and participants within our own organization are often at different levels. 

Edwards service maturity 2021 infographic

The infographic is an excerpt from the recent Silicon Semiconductor article “Evaluating the Fab Lifecycle and SubFab service maturity model: Is there more to gain?


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