Smart Factories and Automation


Aiming to drive greater efficiency and improvements in our manufacturing process that will in turn deliver higher customer satisfaction in quality and delivery, ASEH began to invest in automated, lights-out factories in 2015. At ASEH, we are accelerating digital transformation in smart manufacturing through automation, heterogeneous integration in machine and production systems, and heterogeneous integration in systems-in-package (SiP). In 2011, ASE established the ASE CIM Committee, a strategic task force that is comprised of teams from various business units (lead frame packaging, ball-grid array packaging, flip chip packaging, wafer-level packaging, SiP packaging and test services) and the Information Technology Center. By 2022, the company has established 36 lights-out factories, trained more than 700 automation engineers, and developed over 45 industry-academia research projects. ASEH achieved another major milestone when its bumping facility in Kaohsiung was inducted into the World Economic Forum's Global Lighthouse Network, a community of production sites and value chains that are world leaders in the adoption and integration of the cutting-edge technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).


Innovative and Breakthrough Methods Adopted in the Creation of Smart Factories

Challenge Problems encountered Solution
Inadequate equipment connectivity
  • To meet the needs of smart factories, production equipment information must be collected and stored in a central database so that real-time analyses and management can be conducted.
  • In the early days, due to the dearth of OSAT industry production equipment that met Semiconductor Equipment Communication Standards (SECS), equipment connectivity was the top challenge to be overcome.
  • Step 1: Collaborate with procurement units to conduct negotiations with equipment suppliers and request that new production equipment meet SECS standards.
  • Step 2: Perform research on existing production equipment to find ways to achieve automatic connection and convert into compatible SECS formats. After years of development, ASEH’s production equipment now meets SECS standards.
High complexity of product tracking
  • Automotive customers require strict records of the production history of all automotive chips to facilitate tracking when problems occur.
  • In semiconductor chip manufacturing, product tracking begins at the wafer fabrication stage. The wafers will then proceed to the next process stage. Once the wafer is cut into individual dies for packaging, the dies do not have any markings for identification and tracking.
  • Use 2D codes and RFID technology to accurately record the individual wafer and the location on the wafer that each die originated from, the location on the substrate and the locations on the die carrier and substrates.
  • Every location data is stored in the map system database that can be accessed any time. Customers are able to check production history, while our engineering teams can use the data to perform quality and yield analyses.
Lack of local automated equipment supply chains
  • In the early stages, most automated equipment suppliers were large foreign suppliers that commanded high prices, were inflexible and provided long lead times. As a result, we faced delays in project completion and unsatisfactory outcomes.
  • Actively look for local suppliers of automated equipment including automated guided vehicles, automatic storage and robotic arms, etc. In recent years, we have established business relationships with approximately 38 automation suppliers, strengthening the local automation industry chain in Taiwan.
Lack of qualified personnel
  • When the ASE CIM Committee was initially established, there were only 30 engineers qualified to manage the automation process.
  • More than 700 smart factory automation engineers have been trained through the establishment of in-house automation and AI training modules as well as industry-academia research programs.
  • Created Intelligent Engineering training modules to provide training on statistical analysis and equipment monitoring, and to teach students how to apply digital technology in manufacturing. So far, more than 2,000 personnel have received training.
  • Created Digital Application training modules to provide courses on RPA, Qlick View, Doc.Bee, co-know, etc. for administrative and support staff. The training helps accelerate our digital transformation and improves employee productivity. So far, more than 4,000 personnel have undergone digital training.


Smart Factory Milestones


Introduced the recipe management system (RMS)

As a control measure before mass production, the EAP transfers data to equipment through SECS/GEM, ensuring data validity and improving overall equipment efficiency (OEE).


Inhouse-developed Semiconductor Equipment Communications Standard (SECS) equipment automation program (EAP)

To overcome challenges in equipment connection program development, we designed a development platform for standardized equipment connection programs, solving process design problems, lowering program development complexity, and increasing human-machine ratios and operation time.

Implemented the fault detection and classification (FDC) system

By collecting equipment production parameters in real-time, systems are able to report equipment status immediately and check formal functions automatically so that warning signals are issued when malfunctions occur, thereby preventing the repeated manufacturing of defective products and ensuring that reporting mechanisms are in place to detect malfunctions in real time.


Introduced robotic arms and automated guided vehicles (AGVs)

AGVs and robotic arms were integrated to introduce the autonomous mobile robot (AMR) that can support transport operations, thus reducing manpower on the floor and maximizing packaging capacity.


Ushering in the era of AI

Applying AI powered detection technology to identify and intercept any malfunctioning equipment that may compromise information security and prevent any information security incidents. The in-house developed technology helps mitigate information security risks and reduce investment costs.


Incorporated the predictive maintenance system (PdM)

A predictive maintenance system helps determine equipment that is likely to require maintenance and predicts equipment component failures and malfunctions in advance. The system allows early notification of maintenance personnel to service the equipment, thereby lowering equipment failure time.


Launched the world’s first 5G mmWave smart factory

The 5G mmWave smart factory was a collaborative effort between ASE, Chunghwa Telecom and Qualcomm, showcasing the future of automation and smart factories. 3 use cases were developed to demonstrate the use of 5G mmWave in smart factories - automated production line inspection using AI+AGV, remote AR maintenance and the AR experience at the ASE green technology center.


Build an IAI platform to promote the universal application of AI

ASEH ushered in the era of AI. In addition to actively cultivating AI technology talent, we began to build the IAI platform to create an AI no code environment and promote widespread application of AI throughout the company.


Inducted into the World Economic Forum's Global Lighthouse Network

ASE's Bumping Factory in Kaohsiung adopts 4IR (Fourth Industrial Revolution) technologies across its manufacturing operations. In particular, the facility applies AI technology in the management of equipment and processes to improve yield and accuracies in production schedules. As a result of the remarkable integration of 4IR, the facility was inducted into the World Economic Forum’s Global Lighthouse Network (GLN).


Sustainable Impact of Smart Factories

Our smart factory concept began with a strong foundation in automation, and the heterogeneous integration of customers, suppliers and production processes, to drive the semiconductor industry onto a higher value chain and accelerate technology advancements. Smart factories represent the next leap for the semiconductor packaging and test industry to play an enabling role beyond More than Moore.

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