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Rohm, Quanmatic demonstration marks world-first implementation in a large-scale semiconductor manufacturing
January 16, 2024
Japanese electronic parts manufacturer Rohm and quantum algorithm startup Quanmatic are implementing quantum optimization into a semiconductor production line.
The move represents a world-first demonstration of manufacturing process optimization using quantum technology in a large-scale mass production line at a semiconductor manufacturing plant.
The companies plan to introduce their quantum-powered software into the electrical die sorting (EDS) process at full scale beginning in April 2024. They have been conducting demonstrations aimed at optimizing combinations during manufacturing since January 2023 and have now met the benchmark conditions they set to go live.
They are using quantum annealing, which is particularly good at solving optimization problems with many dependent factors. In the EDS process, the number of combinations involving manufacturing devices, test equipment, conditions and other factors is so large that classical methods cannot take them all into account. Traditionally, manufacturers carried out process allocation operations using basic calculations combined with expert knowledge.
The companies built a prototype in September 2023 that combined quantum and classical computation techniques and incorporated insight and data on the EDS process from Rohm.
The results demonstrated improvements in key performance indicators such as utilization and delivery delay rates, and the algorithm reduced the computation time needed to respond to changes in manufacturing conditions.
Tetsuo Tateishi, Rohm's chief technology officer, senior corporate officer and board member said that as the role of semiconductors becomes increasingly important to achieving a decarbonized society, ensuring stable supply has become a societal issue.
“The development of an operational system suitable for large-scale mass production lines using quantum technology represents a major step forward for the semiconductor manufacturing industry, enabling real-time optimization of production processes,” Tateishi said.
“Going beyond the current situation, we will accelerate the introduction of quantum technology and related methods into a wide range of processes, with the goal of strengthening our stable supply system by establishing a more holistically optimized supply chain.”
The companies are now aiming to improve the accuracy of the manufacturing system through a series of trial operations at overseas plants before full-scale implementation in April.
Quanmatic’s product, which improves quantum computing efficiency, is based on research conducted at Waseda University and Keio University. Nozomu Togawa, CSO and co-founder of Quanmatic and professor at Waseda University called the result an example of a highly mathematical optimization calculation method researched at a university being applied in the real world.
“The aim is providing semiconductor products through a supply chain that is continually optimized on a daily basis using quantum-related methods – which holds great significance as a large-scale practical application of quantum technology,” Togowa said.
“We believe that the accumulation of such achievements will lay the foundation for realizing the Japanese government’s Future Vision of a Quantum Society.”
Editor, Enter Quantum
Berenice is the editor of Enter Quantum, the companion website and exclusive content outlet for The Quantum Computing Summit. Enter Quantum informs quantum computing decision-makers and solutions creators with timely information, business applications and best practice to enable them to adopt the most effective quantum computing solution for their businesses. Berenice has a background in IT and 16 years’ experience as a technology journalist.
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