The serious semiconductor shortage that began in 2021 has caused product shortages and sparked global inflation. Semiconductors, after all, are an integral part of our lives—essential to smartphones, PCs and automobiles as well as social infrastructure ranging from telecommunications to buildings and highways. Even before the pandemic, semiconductor manufacturers had anticipated rising global demand due to the rollout of high-speed communication technologies such as the IoT and 5G. Now, the industry is working tirelessly to enhance productivity to boost output.
Semiconductor lithography equipment, which uses light to expose electrical circuit patterns of nanometer-level line widths onto semiconductors, is a vital part of the semiconductor production process. This equipment requires regular maintenance and tuning by engineers. During the pandemic, however, engineers have been unable to regularly visit sites, which has further hindered productivity and raised the risk of breakdowns and extended outages.
Canon counts many semiconductor manufacturers as customers for its semiconductor lithography equipment. To address the servicing issues brought on by the pandemic, Canon began using XR devices to provide remote support. An XR device shares a worker’s field of vision and audio at the semiconductor manufacturing site in real time with a remote Canon engineer. The engineer sends holograms of the relevant manuals and parts to the XR device and advises the worker. Wearing an XR device, the on-site staff can work hands-free, improving safety and precision. What's more, the procedures can be recorded and used as teaching material for repair work and engineer training. In this way, Canon provides effective customer service, even during difficult times.