Data visualization brings transparency to semiconductor production

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4 minutes Reading time
4 minutes Reading time

Semiconductors are the key technology of the networked world and can be found in the form of microchips in virtually every technical device. Bosch is one of the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturers – Bosch chips are now installed in smartphones, televisions, dishwashers, and almost every car in the world. To meet the growing demand, Bosch built a 200mm semiconductor factory in Reutlingen in 2010. In a complex manufacturing process lasting up to 14 weeks, the finished semiconductor chips are created there from raw silicon wafers.

The highly complex production facility extends over a large area, which is divided into corridors for the individual production steps. People and machines are spatially strictly separated in it. To get an overview of the progress in the individual phases and to be able to record any problems, employees must cover the individual corridors on foot in the process. This does not only result in a high expenditure of time. Faults and errors are only detected after some time, and therefore often too late. And at the end of the day, the production yield does not meet expectations.

The challenge: Using already existing data, for a central real-time visualization

It was therefore very important to Bosch to offer employees real-time information at a central location, for example, to inform them about malfunctions or maintenance work taking place.

Of course, Bosch has long been familiar with visualization solutions in a wide variety of areas. However, these each served different requirements and ran in parallel. Therefore, it was impossible to cover all the desired requirements with one of the already existing systems. This would have required a new, separate IT project, which was discarded due to the high cost.

For this reason, an external search was conducted for a universally applicable visualization solution, which was found in Peakboard. Immediate availability, universal applicability, and the ability to visualize data from a wide variety of sources in real time were key factors in this decision.

The solution: Target-performance comparison of the individual production steps using various Andon boards

Peakboard was founded in 2016 with precisely this goal in mind: To visualize operational data simply and efficiently in real time on displays in production or logistics.

It is an intelligent and low-maintenance all-in-one solution consisting of software and hardware. The data is obtained from a wide variety of sources, from sensors to Excel to SAP or from data integrators such as Theobald Software. This does not require any IT resources: the user decides which information should be displayed in which design with the help of Peakboard Designer, a free software tool downloadable from the Internet. Numerous templates help with this, but modeling according to your own needs is also possible without any problems. And since Peakboard is a low-code solution, it can be done without any programming knowledge.

The Peakboard Box is then connected to the desired monitor via an HDMI cable and to the company network via WLAN. With the help of this Peakboard Box, a powerful single circuit board computer, the finished visualization is played back on the monitor autonomously and in real time in the predefined details. In this specific case, Bosch had already defined its requirements and the desired type of presentation in advance. In a workshop together with the specialists from Peakboard, a first dashboard was created from these, and the integration into the system could already be realized within a single working day.

The result: Process overview and a universally applicable data visualization solution with integration of all required data sources

Unlike BI systems that are designed to analyze historical numerical data, Peakboard visualizes processes that are currently running. Depending on the specification, the viewer immediately receives the necessary information to make quick and independent decisions. That is what makes it possible to respond to requirements and events with the required reaction time and agility.

This first use of Peakboard was a complete success for Bosch. No time-consuming monitoring rounds were required anymore. The information, updated every 30 seconds, was now exactly where it was needed, enabling rapid intervention from day one. Another major benefit was the ability to quickly capture key information for employees returning to work from a shift break. Production at Bosch runs around the clock in shifts, and there are often breaks of several days in between. Only with Peakboard’s dashboard was it possible to immediately capture all important information quickly and efficiently, because the visualizations are structured according to the same principle everywhere.

There are now more than 20 Peakboard dashboards in use. Due to the unlimited design possibilities, other areas have requested it, because the advantages are obvious:

  • universally applicable data visualization solution,
  • Display of the data in real time,
  • trouble-free integration of all required data sources,
  • direct connection of the Oracle server,
  • simple, quick adjustments without IT resources.

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