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LoRaWAN Automated Waste Disposal Solution for Semiconductor Wafer Plant

Date: 7/31/2020 12:00:00 AM

Project Introduction

Many hazardous chemicals are used in high-tech product manufacturing. Not only are these chemicals dangerous and polluting, their waste disposal is difficult and challenging to manage. Factories must install waste disposal systems to ensure the safety of their employees and the environment. Factories must also constantly check their waste disposal systems by routine inspections. However, for plants with a high number of inspection check points, a lot of human resources are needed to complete tasks, which can be very time consuming. What’s more, industrial waste output points are often high up in chimneys used to disperse fumes, so inspections themselves present dangerous challenges for inspectors.

Advantech’s WISE series products power LoRaWAN-based automated monitoring solutions for factories. Automated data collection and remote wireless technologies replace conventional inspection to improve daily waste disposal checks, so administrators stay informed of operations, are made aware of system failures, and can improve production line efficiency.

System Requirements

A world-renowned semiconductor wafer manufacturer with over 10 plants across Asia provides wafer manufacturing services to a wide variety of top-tier customers. A wafer plant in Taiwan is equipped with acid waste disposal systems which treat corrosive and hazardous liquids and gases generated by the photolithography and etching processes; which can only be disposed of once they meet environmental protection standards.

Plant staff always check the waste system motors and fans for anomalies using a handheld vibration meter. However as there are over 20 exhaust fans around the plant, human resources limit inspection frequency to just once a day. Also, for efficiency, the waste systems are mostly installed on the roof, so climbing up and down daily can be dangerous for inspectors.

So to complete inspections more efficiently and to reduce risks to staff, the plant decided to implement a solution that would automatically monitor the system using sensors and gateways. These included:

  • ISO 10816 (vibration evaluation standard)-grade sensors to ensure consistency between collected sensor data and handheld equipment.
  • Use of a wireless network to eliminate the need of wiring.
  • Long-range transmission coverage to avoid signal interruptions or unstable network connections.
  • Establishment of a private network to prevent data leaks.
  • Ruggedized hardware products for harsh outdoor environments.
  • Modbus communication protocol support for uploading data to the monitoring system.

System Overview

Advantech provided two products for the automated waste monitoring project: WISE-2410, a LoRaWAN smart vibration sensor; and WISE-6610, a LoRaWAN IoT gateway.

Here is how the solution works: WISE-2410 wireless vibration sensor is magnetically attached to the motor and collects vibration data to calculate speed and displacement eigenvalues, which are then transmitted to the WISE-6610 gateway every half hour via a LoRaWAN-based wireless network. WISE-6610 decodes the data package and uploads the data through Modbus to the wafer plant’s existing supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) system. Once data is obtained, the system compares it with the ISO 10816 severity chart and diagnoses the motors’ health.

WISE-2410 is a smart device with a built-in ARM Cortex-M4 processor, 3-axis accelerometer and temperature sensor. It calculates complex eigenvalues before output (including VRMS, ARMS, peak, displacement, kurtosis, crest factor, skewness, and standard deviation), which helps reduce network bandwidth loading. Besides eliminating network wiring issues, WISE-2410’s built-in LoRa transceiver is low frequency, long range, low power consumption, with high penetration characteristics. Actual test results indicate that the WISE-2410’s transmission range can reach up to 15 km, which is more than sufficient for the wafer plant’s 500-meter area.

WISE-2410 also makes the most of LoRaWAN’s openness, flexibility, and low-cost deployment advantages. Users can establish a propriety network themselves without the help of a network carrier, so data can be transmitted directly instead of in a roundabout way (i.e., to the carrier base station before back to the user). Thus the user saves on carrier fees while gaining necessary protection on data confidentiality.

Furthermore, the battery-powered WISE-2410 consumes extremely low power—just two 3.6V Li-SOCl2 batteries can last for two years. No external power connection and no frequent battery changes are required, so utilization is very convenient. The plug and play WISE-2410 is compact in size (84.7 x 48.3 mm) and three mounting choices of stud, adhesive, and magnet, provide flexible installation options based on site conditions.

Its wide temperature range (-20°C~85°C) and IP66-certified waterproof and dustproof enclosure also helps make WISE-2410 an ideal product for outdoor data collection.    The WISE-6610 is a high-performance LoRaWAN IoT gateway that provides reliable connection in industrial environments. Since it supports the Modbus protocol that is often used in factories, it fulfills the wafer plant’s request for reliable and effective data transmission to the central supervisory control system. Another perk is that WISE-6610 can connect with up to 500 WISE-2410 devices, which is desirable for expanding the automated monitoring range as needed, while maintaining existing hardware.

Project Induction

WISE-2410 : LoRaWAN Smart Vibration Sensor WISE-6610 LoRaWAN IoT Gateway

WISE-6610 : LoRaWAN IoT Gateway

System Structure Diagram

Conclusion

Industrial waste disposal systems are essential for high tech plants. Manual labor inspection methods are limited by human resources and present serious health and safety issues. Now, with an automated monitoring solution, waste disposal monitoring can be properly carried out and supervised without people being on site.

Advantech’s ISO 10816-compliant LoRaWAN automated monitoring solution delivers results that are completely consistent with human inspections. Its simple installation aids fast deployment and subjects can be added any time as plant needs change. Transmission quality rates beat Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with better coverage, penetration, and interference resistance. The Advantech solution generated excellent results, so in addition to the waste disposal system, the wafer manufacturer plans to apply it on other plant facilities (such as their air-conditioning system) monitoring. These features clearly demonstrate that Advantech’s WISE-2410 plus WISE-6610 really are a time-conserving, effort-saving, and effective solution.

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