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40-30 develops SIGAP for advanced procedures management

40-30 of France, a specialist in maintenance systems, has developed SIGAP Version 1, an advanced procedures management computer system. SIGAP is currently undergoing extensive testing at the company’s test site in Grenoble, which specialises in the maintenance of ionic implanter sub-arrays used in ion implantation machines used at semiconductor manufacturing sites.

For over a year, the SIGAP system has been managing around 100 procedures, some of which use more than 100 screens. The results are well above expectations, with zero failures after more than 1,200 services, improved productivity, increased mean time between failures (MTBF) and, most significantly, evidence that SIGAP ‘kills’ mistakes and significantly reduces costs.

40-30 carried out a study of 2,000 nonconformities, both directly linked to process or not, which revealed that, for any company, over 90% of the hundreds of nonconformities generated every year are caused by insufficient procedures or by failure to comply.

The SIGAP experiment is currently deployed at five French 40-30 sites, as well as a site in Singapore, and is being used to monitor activities in vacuums, ultra-clean technology, electronic activity, valve services and radio frequencies. All the sites are connected to the SIGAP main server.

Close to 50 terminals are currently linked via the internet to the SIGAP procedures central database, where 12 staff are developing new procedures and working on Version 2 of SIGAP. The 40-30 R&D team is also working on a site version, where the alpha site is a LETI linear ionic implanter in Grenoble (in south-eastern France).

Version 2 of SIGAP, which has multilingual capability, will be released in June 2009, while Version 3, which will feature a video component, is under development and will be released in early 2010.

SIGAP V2 features can be operated in English, Russian, Mandarin Chinese or Arabic, and can even differentiate between right-handed and left-handed operators, as they do not hold tools in the same way.

SIGAP is also an efficient training and skills transfer tool, which can be used in maintenance or production within any industrial sector. Using SIGAP helps to reduce training time and to lower the level of the trainer that is required. Previously, an experienced technician would require at least six months of training to master the maintenance of an implanter sub-array but, using this system, an operator can become competent within a month.

40-30 aims to generate a €2m turnover from SIGAP and its by-products in the next fiscal year. The development of SIGAP has been supported by OSEO, a French public-sector agency that offers assistance to SMEs.

Philip Jolly | alfa
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