How to Order a Wet Bench for Your Specific Process Requirements

How to Order a Wet Bench for Your Specific Process RequirementsWet processing used in semiconductor manufacturing includes many complicated process steps which need to be taken into account when ordering new wet bench equipment. When selecting a supplier, experience and capabilities have to be evaluated. Physical requirements such as space and output volume are essential. The degree of automation required also plays a significant role. Finally, there are special requirements for specific processes that have to be evaluated. You need a competent manufacturer of wet bench equipment to help you get the wet process stations you need.

  1. Look for a Manufacturer with a Proven Track Record and In-House Capabilities

Manufacturers who can help you with your choice of a wet bench should have in-house expertise with a complete line of wet bench equipment, including their own software. An experienced manufacturer will be able to advise which stations satisfy your requirements and what options you should consider. In-house design and manufacturing capabilities allow the manufacturer to provide complete after-sales service and support.

  1. Make Sure Your Choices Don’t Impose Unwanted Physical Constraints

The chosen wet bench has to satisfy requirements for space, wafer size, and wafer throughput. If space is tight, a compact design or designs combining functions such as rinsing and drying can be considered. In any case, the station has to be able to process the proposed wafer sizes. Custom dimensions for equipment can be explored with a manufacturer that has customization capabilities.

Wafer throughput is often critical for the viability of the facility. It is influenced by the number of cassettes that can be processed in a bath and process duration. When projected throughput is borderline, an experienced manufacturer can often suggest special equipment, automation, or advanced process technology to reduce processing time and speed up production.

  1. The Degree of Automation Depends on How the Wet Bench Will Be Used

Wet benches for organizations such as research labs, small manufacturers, and high-volume manufacturing facilities have different automation needs. Labs often produce prototypes or small volumes for testing. A manual station may be the best solution for this kind of operation. Small manufacturers typically produce single units or small batches. A manual station could satisfy their needs, but a semi-automated station could allow them to run consistent batches while saving on the full-automation cost of robotics. High-volume operations will usually benefit from fully automated stations because they improve efficiency, reduce product defects and deliver excellent consistency over long runs.

  1. The Wet Bench Equipment Needs to Support the Wafer Manufacturing Process

Depending on the chemistry to be used, the selected wet bench equipment has to support the process. Wet process silicon wafer fabrication can use different chemical processes to clean, etch, develop and strip the wafers. Special equipment and accessories are used for various applications.

  • Acid process tanks are made from quartz or Teflon, while solvent processes require stainless steel tanks. Tanks are made with high-purity materials and are designed to minimize particle contamination.
  • Quartz tanks are used for cleaning, etching, and stripping. They can support high-temperature applications.
  • Teflon tanks are used for etching applications. They can be ambient temperature tanks or heated with re-circulation.
  • Silicon nitride wet etching requires special control features because adding de-ionized water to maintain the acid concentration can be dangerous.
  • Quick dump rinsers speed up the process while reducing the use of de-ionized water and avoiding particle entrapment.
  • Temperature-controlled circulating tanks are required for applications where the etch rate depends on the temperature. The baths are heated to achieve a higher etch rate and the temperature has to remain constant while the process is running.

Modutek Has the In-House Expertise and Capabilities to Help Choose a Wet Bench

As a leading semiconductor equipment manufacturer with over 40 years of experience, Modutek can recommend and provide the right equipment for your specific process requirements. Modutek has a complete line of wet processing equipment and can supply what you need and ensure it provides the performance you want. Contact Modutek for a free consultation and quote.

How Automated Controls Improve Silicon Wafer Manufacturing

How Automated Controls Improve Silicon Wafer ManufacturingPrecise automated controls that are incorporated into wafer manufacturing equipment help manufacturers meet the challenges of higher component densities and compliance with environmental regulations. They provide excellent repeatability and accurate chemical dosages that precisely control the etch rate and the cleaning and stripping processes. Chemical neutralization and disposal are handled automatically with document generation to prove regulatory compliance.

In addition to delivering improved process control, the automation software can easily be customized for specialized process requirements or updated to reflect process changes. From the user inputs through to process equipment, the different components of automated wafer fabrication equipment work together to improve manufacturing outcomes.

An Intuitive User Interface Helps Operators Control the Process

A good user interface shows critical process variables and the status of necessary equipment. Operators can see how the process progresses and intervene to activate or shut down components if necessary. The interface can easily be updated when process requirements change or equipment is added. For fully automated stations, the process runs by itself after the operators select the sequence and set the initial conditions via the user interface.

Modutek automated stations use a touch screen with a graphical user interface (GUI). Operators see visual representations of the process and can control equipment from the screen. Because Modutek designs and programs the underlying software in-house, the company can easily change and update the GUI.

Automated Controllers Translate GUI Commands to Equipment Operation

Automation controls timed command sequences or keep process variables at the required set points. Sequences are programmed with Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) that output a sequence of commands when the operator issues the initial input. PLCs are programmed as a chain of outputs triggered by elapsed time or automated inputs. The chains are easy to program and change if needed.

Automation of process variables includes controllers for temperature, pressure, flow, or level. Modutek can integrate third-party controllers such as Omron or Allen Bradley for higher-level automation, such as machine control or special functions. This capability also allows Modutek to integrate its equipment into existing installations.

Data Logging Helps to Evaluate System Performance

When the Modutek automated stations are programmed to output key variables, the data can be assembled into reports helpful in evaluating performance and monitoring the program logic controls. The data can be collected over Ethernet and viewed remotely. Automated logs can be used to check values such as chemical use, output quantities, output yields, and chemical disposal details. Feedback from data logging is key to the optimization of the overall process.

Optional Equipment Interfaces Increase Application Flexibility

Modutek’s automated wafer fabrication equipment uses an optional interface that allows it to work with existing systems and components from other manufacturers. The SEMI Equipment Communications Standard/Generic Equipment Model (SECS/GEM) developed by the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) organization governs the interaction of the software running the automated controllers and the semiconductor manufacturing equipment. Under the SECS/GEM standard, Modutek can customize its systems to meet customer requirements for updating its process lines or adding new equipment.

As a leading semiconductor equipment manufacturer, Modutek continuously innovates on equipment and automation. The company can supply individual pieces of equipment or provide turnkey installations. Modutek ensures its equipment meets customer needs and performs as expected in both cases.