Manufacturing for the partially automated production process is spread across a very large area, and individual production areas encompass several “teeth”—i.e., corridors—for individual production stages. “Because employees weren’t able to receive a central overview of the progress of the individual production stages in their area, they had to regularly walk through the production areas to see if the manufacturing facilities had already finished processing somewhere,” explains Benjamin Wagner, from the area Equipment Engineering – Lithography at Bosch. “These ‘patrols’ not only took up too much time, but could also lead to situations where ‘completes’—the number of processed wafers—or even any kind of disruption would only be discovered after longer periods of time.” This lead daily production to unnecessarily fall below expectations.
“It didn’t take much time to formulate what everyone involved wanted: Giving employees the option to obtain, at any time from a central location, a visualization-based overview of where completes are missing, disruptions are occurring, maintenance or repairs are underway, or even where a new batch can be started so that downtimes can be reduced,” Wagner recalls.
Data visualization was nothing new to Bosch. Visualization solutions were already in place in various areas of production; however, these operated in parallel and each served different requirements. Using a single system to cover all needs was not possible. This meant that modifications or adjustments always resulted in a new programming project and thus a very large investment in time and costs. “Our in-house IT department finally gave us the push to find a visualization solution that could be implemented universally,” explains Wagner.