(OKI.com) OKI and OKI Data (the OKI Group printer company) announced that they have applied a quantum computer provided by D-Wave to calculate optimal layouts for semiconductor manufacturing machines at OKI Data’s LED Management Factory, successfully obtaining results indicating that the distances traveled by workers can be reduced by an average of 28%.
Due to the population shrinking, labor shortages are becoming an increasingly serious issue in manufacturing industries. Improving productivity at manufacturing sites has become a major and pressing social issue directly affecting manufacturing costs. At the LED Management Factory operated by OKI Data, multiple products are manufactured with different manufacturing processes using tens—or even hundreds—of different semiconductor manufacturing machines, with workers constantly moving between machines. Improving productivity here requires optimizing machine layouts to minimize distances traveled by workers (“flow lines”).
A quantum annealer provided by D-Wave to tackle this layout optimization. From a research perspective, a quantum annealer offers the advantage of facilitating quantitative observations of the results of the optimum layouts computed. However, to solve the problem in an efficient way, a new algorithm suited to constraints involving both the quantum annealer and the manufacturing site was required, making the involvement of personnel familiar with the manufacturing site absolutely essential. For this reason, personnel from the LED Management Factory were involved in the process to successfully design a computational algorithm in-house by modeling the conditions that apply when manufacturing two types of products involving different manufacturing processes and production quantities within the same factory.