Sometimes it makes more sense to upgrade existing equipment than to buy complete new systems. Equipment may not be near the end of its useful life and new technology can often increase yield and output quality. Customers can address ongoing safety issues and reduce frequent unscheduled downtime. Upgrades can provide higher levels of automation and improved robotics can be installed.
When equipment breaks down, it may be an opportunity to replace key components while whole subsystems can be upgraded during scheduled maintenance to avoid additional downtime. By addressing known weaknesses in a production line, the overall reliability of operations can be increased. Upgrading wet bench stations and other semiconductor manufacturing equipment in this way can be a cost-effective means of improving productivity.
Specific Reasons for Upgrading Equipment
Retrofitting new components, upgrading existing equipment and repairing defective parts can often extend the life of your semiconductor manufacturing systems. Reasons for upgrading include the following:
- Install improved technology to increase throughput
- Upgrade components to obtain higher yield
- Refurbish or replace equipment that is no longer supported
- Save money by extending equipment life span
- Accommodate larger wafers
- Update the automatic and robotic systems and controls
- Improve ventilation and safety
- Upgrade electrical systems to the latest standards
- Improve ergonomics and ease of operation
- Improve chemical delivery system performance
Such upgrades depend on a supplier’s ability to evaluate a system’s specific requirements and implement a customized approach to install and repair components. Extensive experience with development and assembly of semiconductor fabrication equipment is a prerequisite for carrying out upgrades effectively.
Types of Upgrades Carried Out by Modutek
Modutek relies on their experience with in house development and manufacturing of wet bench and related equipment to carry out all types of upgrades, both on their own equipment and that of other manufacturers. Such upgrades can include:
- Identifying and replacing failing parts
- Replacing defective parts with new or retro-fitted components
- Replacing obsolete components
- Updating robotics, baths and wet etching components
- Upgrading motion controls and software
- Re-designing and improving systems within an existing footprint
- Reconditioning existing systems to improve performance
Modutek can visit a customer’s site and perform system evaluations to develop possible upgrade, repair and retrofit scenarios. Customers can then decide how they want to proceed and Modutek can carry out the selected work.
Specific Benefits of Upgrading
Many upgrades have specific benefits associated with them and customers can rely on Modutek to carry out the work so that the expected advantages are realized. For example, upgrading controls is an effective way of improving performance. Customers can upgrade from manual or semi-automatic operation to semi-automatic or fully automatic systems to improve consistency and reduce operator errors. Upgraded controls can also reduce waste and ensure that chemical formulas are followed accurately.
Safety upgrades are often required and always reduce operator risk. Adding robotics can result in more accurate control and improved safety. When electrical systems are brought up to code, reliability often improves as well as making the systems safer. Adding ventilation, fire suppression, tank lids and fume control can improve operator comfort as well as increase safety.
Adding heaters, chillers and temperature controls can reduce process times and result in better performance. Level sensors give more accurate system feedback and adding pumps, valves and switches can result in better overall process control.
Modutek can determine whether such upgrades and retrofits make sense and then carry out the appropriate work. The company can evaluate the performance of its own older systems as well as semiconductor fabrication equipment from other manufacturers on a case by case basis that includes MEI, Amerimade, Micro Tech Process, JST Manufacturing and others. With its in house expertise, Modutek can reliably upgrade semiconductor manufacturing equipment to provide optimal performance and guarantee the results.