The Background.

The client had been working with obsolete equipment for over ten years, so the equipment needed to be upgraded to current day technology, which is fully supportable technically and has an abundance of spares. Within a Silicon Wafer Wiresaw, obsolete equipment such as a legacy Mitsubishi PLC and HMI solution, seven Servo axes, encoders, brakes and motors, a traditional safety system and hard wired VSD's. iTech has extensive experience with these machines and has completed 20+ upgrades on a global scale.

The new control system consists of a new, current Mitsubishi PLC connected over Industrial Ethernet via a Cisco managed switch to 2 Ignition SCADA systems, the new VSD’s and an intelligent Pilz safety system.  This also enabled the whole system to be connected via a secure remote access solution to allow for remote support.  The new regenerative servo solution removed the old braking resistors and reduced the overall energy usage of the machine.  A Fibre Optic connection between the PLC technology CPU and the servo systems increased performance and accuracy.

The Client:

Our client is one of the largest chemical companies in Japan with a large global market share for polyvinyl chloride, semiconductor silicon, and photomask substrates.

The Solution.

The solution is to create a brand-new control system. This was created in ePlan by iTech in Scotland and built by a partner panel builder. The use of digital technologies enabled a remote FAT to be performed, which was necessary due to COVID circumstances, which put the system on hold until it was safe and permitted to travel. Over the course of two weeks, the iTech team travelled to the US premises to successfully decommission the old control system and install the new hardware in preparation for the commissioning team to arrive in early 2022 to commission, test, and handover to the client.

The full install went according to plan and was completed within the specified timeframes. A remote connection to the headquarters was established, allowing the commissioning team to pre-test the connection and prepare for the commissioning as well as future support.

From upgrading and commissioning the machine, a 10+ year extended life was enabled, allowing it to operate within tighter tolerances and produce flatter and more accurate silicon wafers, increasing output and reducing workload on various further processes.

The Benefits.

Supportable technology (including remote support)

Faster communication, allowing greater accuracy and improved quality

Increased flexibility, allowing for more advanced diagnostics and machine refinement