Applied Materials uses RFID to Better Track Assets

Applied Materials Inc. faced significant challenges in tracking assets, such as targets, electrostatic-chucks, and power supplies, valued in the tens of thousands to millions of dollars. Applied Materials adopted a hybrid system comprising passive RFID tags and a Wi‑Fi‑based Real-Time Location System (RTLS) provided by Tagit Solutions. This integrated technology aimed to streamline asset tracking, enhance calibration compliance, and safeguard client IP by monitoring the real-time location of products, particularly silicon wafers used in testing. The benefits from the implementation of this new RFID tracking system were:

  1. Asset Tracking: RFID tags on equipment facilitated quick location identification, ensuring inspectors could efficiently locate test and measurement equipment for ISO compliance.
  2. IP Protection: The system enabled real-time tracking of customer wafers, ensuring the protection of valuable intellectual property worth millions of dollars.
  3. Calibration Management: The ability to track and locate assets streamlined the calibration process, allowing inspectors to identify tools requiring calibration promptly.
  4. Cost Savings: The RFID system prevented unnecessary equipment purchases by providing visibility into existing assets, saving costs for the company.
  5. Tax Credits: Accurate tracking of equipment usage within the lab enabled Applied Materials to claim tax credits for depreciated equipment over time.

The phased implementation of RFID technology at Applied Materials has resulted in a well-managed system that not only meets the company’s asset tracking and compliance needs but also enhances IP protection for its clients.

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