A generic real-time process control system



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Texas Tech University


A major problem facing manufacturers is the design and implementation of flexible automation systems. This problem is complicated by the many differing requirements for automated systems. Every facility has its own specific requirements; therefore, a generic factory control system design could provide the flexibility and adaptability to solve a wide variety of automation needs. Since factory automation systems are implemented from the bottom up, it is necessary to ensure that the initial automated subsystems are going to be compatible with future system enhancements.

This thesis describes the various levels of factory automation and establishes a functional specification for each subsystem in the automated facility. These specifications provide the general information required to define the design objectives for the facility subsystems. The first step toward obtaining a solution to the automation problem is to develop a generic software control system for process equipment. A first-generation control system has been developed and applied to a four-module HF vapor etcher system, used in the processing of semiconductor wafers.