Wet Bench Ergonomics and Safety

Wet Bench Ergonomics and SafetyImplementing ergonomic engineering principles to reduce operator strain and effort can increase safety and help prevent accidents. Established safety guidelines such as those of the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), the “SEMI S8-0712 – Safety Guidelines for Ergonomics Engineering of Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment,” can help manufacturers design their installations accordingly. Such designs make it easy for operators and technicians to reach controls and work with semiconductor wafers. Modutek follows these guidelines and has included specific features in their wet benches and other equipment to allow for ergonomic and safe operation. In addition, when dealing with specific customer requirements or retrofitting existing installations, Modutek can develop customized ergonomic solutions.

Swing Arm Interface Mount

When technicians have to monitor a process or operate tools when troubleshooting they must be able to see the operator interface and input commands safely and ergonomically without stretching or assuming unnatural positions. The normal resting location of the interface is to the side and out of the way. The swing arm allows operators to pull the interface out and over so it is visible and within reach when they are monitoring the process or handling tools.

The swing arm can rotate on three axes and tilt to let operators place it in any desired position. Once the operator pulls the interface into place and orients it in an optimal way, a single push button actuates pneumatic locking by pressing two large bearings together, preventing further movement. With this rigid and low bounce design, the interface can be positioned with one hand, and the design eliminates further movement such as might result from the operation of the touch screen.

Its epoxy powder coating and anodized aluminum finish together with its internal cabling make the swing arm easy to clean with low particulate generation for clean room applications. The fact that one technician can place the arm into a convenient position and lock it with one hand means that a second person to assist with the operations is often not required.

Easy to Load Wafer Holding Devices

The impact of safe and ergonomic design increases greatly when applied to operations that have to be carried out regularly and frequently. When wafer trays and holding devices are designed to make it easy for operators and technicians to use them, even small improvements in ergonomic design can make a big difference in both productivity and safety.

In Modutek wet benches, robot arms move the wafer holding trays to the front of the station to a position optimally located for easy and effortless loading and unloading. Modutek applies such ergonomic design principles to wet bench access for increased safety of operators and technicians working in semiconductor fabrication facilities and research labs.

Ergonomically Designed Upgrades and Customization

When a facility is upgraded or additional equipment is retrofitted, standard ergonomic designs may not meet the needs of the completed installation. Equipment that fully satisfies ergonomic design principles on its own may be difficult to operate when placed in specific configurations. Modutek can apply the company’s experience with ergonomic design to customize installations, ensuring that a customer’s specific ergonomic requirements are met and that the installation as a whole is easy and safe for operators and technicians.

Modutek processing stations are available in a wide variety of configurations and the company works with the customer’s engineering team to custom design the best processing equipment for the particular application. The ergonomic engineering required to ensure easy and safe operation is integrated in these designs and guides the company when customizing their equipment for specialized needs.

If you need help selecting or upgrading wet bench equipment for your application and have specific ergonomic requirements, contact Modutek at 866-803-1533 or email [email protected].

The Evolution of Semiconductor Manufacturing and Wafer Fabrication Equipment

The Evolution of Semiconductor Manufacturing and Wafer Fabrication EquipmentSemiconductor manufacturing equipment such as wafer processing systems and wet bench stations has evolved considerably over the past 15 to 20 years. The processes used have become more efficient by improving repeatability and increasing throughput while processing larger wafers and etching structures with smaller geometries and more detailed component parts. Automation of wafer fabrication equipment to run these processes have become increasingly complex and environmental considerations are now more critical. Chemical stations such as those provided by Modutek Corporation have played an important role in this evolution and continue to be on the forefront of further development and technical innovation.

Increased Productivity

A key element in the evolution of semiconductor manufacturing equipment is increasing productivity due to process improvements. The larger sizes of the substrate and the greater density of the structures to be etched have allowed an increase in yield. Throughput due to better process organization has increased efficiency. These changes have decreased costs and improved quality.

While wafer sizes have increased and the semiconductor structures created by etching have decreased in size, integrating the process elements such as chemical storage, chemical delivery, etching, cleaning and drying has been a major contributor to the evolution of wet bench stations. Modutek and other suppliers of wafer fabrication and processing systems have been able to reduce total manufacturing time and increase throughput while maintaining quality and reducing defects due to mistakes. Often several tasks can be combined and the downtime due to chemical changes can be reduced to a minimum.

Automation

The development of automation systems from Modutek and other suppliers has also played an important role. While open loop controls are still available for processes that need operator input, fully automated systems featuring reliable and accurate closed loop control help improve wet bench performance. Automation can reduce errors and allows semiconductor manufacturing systems to achieve better repeatability. Chemical dosage is always the same, timing is identical for all batches of a particular process and clearly defined process steps allow technicians to pinpoint problem areas and apply further optimization.

Environmental Factors

Environmental regulations have influenced the evolution of semiconductor manufacturing equipment by requiring companies to reduce their environmental footprint. For wet bench processing systems this means ensuring that possible chemical spills are contained and discharges of chemicals are neutralized so they don’t damage the surrounding environment.

Modutek and other companies have seized on these challenges to improve process efficiency in their process equipment by reducing chemical usage and recycling of chemicals when possible. Software allows the calculation of exact dosages and automation carries out the mixing without waste or spillage. Sensors in the chemical baths give feedback on the chemical composition or the neutralization process and ensure that the desired pH value is attained before recycling where appropriate or discharging when needed. Accurate tracking of chemicals in storage and in use lets operators reduce chemical waste to a minimum.

The Evolution Continues

Modutek and other companies specialized in semiconductor manufacturing equipment face continuing challenges to meet the demands of wafer fabrication shops that want to either achieve improvements of current processes or manufacture more densely packed components using new processes. Satisfying customer demand in this area requires that a company provide a wide spectrum of processing equipment that uses the latest technology. For wet bench processing this means offering manual, semi-automated and fully automated etching, cleaning, plating and chemical solvent stations with a wide variety of options that include custom and retrofit systems. If you are looking for reliable wet benches and wafer fabrication equipment built specifically for your business’ needs, call Modutek at 866-803-1533 or email [email protected]odutek.com to discuss your specific requirements.