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This paper validates a proposed job release methodology and experimentally investigates the impact of production control methodologies and system factors on wafer fab performance in terms of average cycle time, standard deviation of cycle time, average lateness, WIP inventory and fab output by simulating a wafer fab of Chartered Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd (Chartered) and statistically analyzing the experimental results using t-test and ANOVA. A full factorial design of experiment is conducted to evaluate the performance of three job release methodologies, three dispatching rules and three greedy levels of batching policy under different system environmental settings differentiated by fab output level and machine unreliability level. Based on the experimental results, the proposed job release methodology WIPLOAD control (WIPLCtrl) appears to be very efficient to be able to potentially improve all the considered performance measures simultaneously. The advantage of WIPLCtrl is robust to the change of system environmental conditions. In contrast, the improvement brought by a dispatching rule on a certain performance measure might cost the deterioration of other performances. Considering the relative impact on the fab performance, job release control appears to be the most important production control factor in comparison with dispatching and batching policy, especially when the system is operating on a high output level and/or with a high system variability level caused by machine unreliability.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2008