How Megasonic Cleaning Reduces Costs and Improves Silicon Wafer Yields

How Megasonic Cleaning Reduces Costs and Improves Silicon Wafer YieldsBetween process steps that etch silicon wafers and deposit circuit paths, semiconductor manufacturing relies on wafer cleaning to remove material from previous process steps and microscopic contaminating particles. As structures and circuits on wafers decrease in size, even the tiniest particles can interfere with etching and the creation of circuits and micro-structures.

Such interference can cause defects in the final semiconductor product, lower product performance or cause a reduced product lifespan. The use of Megasonic Cleaning results in a gentle cleaning action that dislodges particles from wafer surfaces while leaving the wafer, its circuits and structures undamaged. Megasonic Cleaning reduces chemical use and final product rejection rates using a process that is completely safe and environmentally friendly.

Megasonic Cleaning Delivers Quick Results with Safe, Gentle Cleaning Action

Megasonic cleaning systems generate microscopic cavitation bubbles in the cleaning solution. When a bubble bursts, it produces a tiny jet that dislodges contaminants from the surfaces of the parts to be cleaned. Lower ultrasonic frequencies generate comparatively large bubbles and powerful jets while high frequencies clean with smaller bubbles and less energetic jets.

The tiny structures etched into the silicon and the microscopic metal filaments deposited on the wafers are easily damaged. Products such as microprocessors, micro electro mechanical systems (MEMS), and controllers may not work properly if precise cleaning procedures are not followed. Using frequencies above 950 kHz in the megahertz range for cleaning the wafers ensures that the Megasonic Cleaning action takes place with the tiniest bubbles and the least energetic jets. As a result, Megasonic Cleaning is gentle enough to remove contaminating particles while leaving silicon surfaces, micro-structures and metallic deposits intact.

Reduced Use of Chemicals Saves Money

The traditional wafer cleaning process uses strong chemicals to strip contaminants and particles from wafer surfaces. In addition to the cost of purchasing the chemicals, there are costs for storage, handling and disposal. As environmental regulations become more strict, hazardous chemicals have to be stored in special containment facilities. Chemical delivery systems have to include special measures that guard against spills. Once the chemicals are used, they have to be neutralized and disposed of in a way that doesn’t harm the environment. All these measures are expensive and will become more costly as regulations tighten.

Workplace safety is another costly aspect of the use of hazardous chemicals. Operators have to be protected against inadvertent contact with corrosive materials and many of the chemicals emit dangerous vapors that require expensive ventilation equipment. Operators that work with hazardous chemicals need protective clothing that reduces productivity and work accidents can lead to serious injury.

Megasonic Cleaning removes contaminants from wafers and dislodges particles more effectively than chemical methods. The reduced use of chemicals saves money and leads to a safer, more productive workplace environment.

Modutek’s Megasonic Cleaning Improves Sub-Micron Particle Removal

Modutek has partnered with Kaijo Corporation, a world leader in megasonic and ultrasonic cleaning technology, bringing Megasonic Cleaning to wet bench semiconductor manufacturing. Modutek has integrated Megasonic Cleaners into the company’s wet bench equipment to produce unparalleled low particle counts. The bubbles of the Megasonic Cleaning system agitate the cleaning bath to disrupt boundary layers, allowing effective cleaning action around complex microscopic structures and inside holes. The tiny jets produced by the bursting bubbles break the bonds between the wafer surfaces and surface particles and allow the particles to be removed by cleaning solution currents.

The low particle counts achieved by Modutek’s wet bench stations incorporating Megasonic Cleaning reduce defects and improve yields for semiconductor manufacturing lines. Product quality rises while costs go down. Using the latest Modutek Megasonic Cleaning equipment improves overall facility performance for semiconductor manufacturing plants and research labs. Contact Modutek for a free consultation on selecting the right equipment to meet your manufacturing requirements.

How Process Controls Improve Silicon Nitride Wet Etching Results

 How Process Controls Improve Silicon Nitride Wet Etching ResultsThe silicon nitride wet etching process uses a phosphoric acid solution in water to etch mask material quickly and reliably but the process is hard to control. Etching speed depends on the concentration of the solution and the bath temperature. Adding water to the solution to control the concentration is dangerous and, at the same time, it can change the temperature. Controlling such an unstable solution with two interdependent variables is difficult, but in the absence of reliable controls, the etching rate is not accurately maintained and the removal of silicon nitride is not precise.

How Silicon Nitride Etching With Phosphoric Acid Works

In the silicon nitride wet etching process, the silicon wafer is masked with a silicon nitride coating that has to be selectively etched. A solution of about 85 percent phosphoric acid and 15 percent de-ionized water is used to etch the silicon nitride at an optimized temperature of 165 degrees centigrade. To speed up etching, the phosphoric acid solution is heated to its boiling point. As the solution boils, water from the solution is lost as steam and the concentration of the solution rises. The boiling point of the solution rises as the concentration rises and the etch rate increases as both the temperature and the concentration increase.

To correct the etch rate, water has to be added to the bath to bring the concentration and the temperature back down. Adding water to boiling phosphoric acid is dangerous because it can reduce the temperature of the solution to below boiling. When the phosphoric acid solution is no longer boiling, the added water can form a thin film on top of the acid instead of mixing in continuously. Eventually the film will mix with the acid all at once and a “bump” can result from the exothermic reaction.

To make sure small amounts of water mix into the solution continuously, the solution has to be kept at its boiling point. Because the boiling point is variable, standard controls with a fixed temperature set point don’t work. Modutek has developed an innovative silicon nitride wet etching process control solution that features precise control of the temperature, concentration and etch rate while ensuring safe operation.

The Modutek Control Strategy Improves Etching Results

Modutek’s control concept uses an always-on heater to keep the 85 percent phosphoric acid solution at its boiling point. As water is lost to steam, the concentration of the solution starts to increase and the temperature starts to rise above the original value. A thermocouple senses the temperature rise and signals the system to add water. A small amount of water is added and is immediately mixed into the solution by the boiling action. The concentration is maintained at the original 85 percent phosphoric acid and 15 percent water and the temperature stays at the boiling point of 165 degrees centigrade with this concentration. The etch rate remains constant and the operation is safe.

Because the safety of the Modutek control strategy relies on the constant boiling of the phosphoric acid solution, an additional thermocouple is located above the hot acid to sense the presence of hot steam. Another thermocouple senses the temperature of the acid. If no steam is present or if the acid becomes too hot, the process is shut down. These emergency shut-downs don’t take effect during normal operation, but are an additional safety feature in case of equipment malfunction or operator error.

Modutek’s Control Strategy Delivers Improved Etching Performance

Modutek has tested and fine tuned their control strategy with their Nb Series silicon nitride wet etching baths for customers using manual, semi automated and fully automated wet bench stations. Customers that have been using the new equipment have achieved an average etch rate of 65 angstroms per minute while limiting oxide etch as the controls ensure safe operation at a consistent and optimum operating point.

A reliably-controlled and constant etch rate yields predictable etching and silicon nitride removal within product tolerances. When etching is not the same from batch to batch, product quality suffers and product lifespan can be reduced. Modutek manufactures a complete range of silicon wet etching equipment and with the company’s innovative control system, rejection rates are reduced and facility output is improved.

 

How Wet Bench Stations Are Designed for Ergonomics and Safety

How Wet Bench Stations Are Designed for Ergonomics and SafetyTo etch and clean silicon wafers, wet bench stations use aggressive and toxic chemicals that have to be handled carefully. Ergonomic design ensures that employees don’t have to perform risky or strenuous maneuvers in normal operation of the facility. To load trays, control processes and dispose of waste, employees should not have to lift especially heavy weights, stretch to the limits of their reach or perform repeated strenuous actions. The Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI) S8-0712 – Safety Guidelines for Ergonomics Engineering of Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment can help manufacturers design equipment for comfortable and safe operation.

Key safety aspects of semiconductor equipment manufacturing include safe chemical handling and fire prevention. The FM 4910 specification and the Cleanroom Materials Flammability Test Protocol help manufacturers avoid using flammable materials in their equipment. Wet bench stations that adhere to these guidelines provide a better and safer working environment.

How Modutek Design Wet Bench Stations for Ergonomic and Safe Operation

Modutek designs its wet bench chemical stations according to the SEMI S8 guidelines and minimizes the use of flammable materials in its designs. Examples of safe and ergonomic

design measures applied by Modutek include the following:

  • Wafer holding trays are easy to load
  • Operator interface is on a swing arm
  • All stations are built around your ergonomic requirements

Ergonomic and safe design means that operators must be able to load equipment without strain. The wafer holding trays on Modutek’s wet benches can move to the front on robot arms that position the trays for optimal loading and unloading. Operators don’t have to stretch and can perform this often repeated action with a minimum of effort.

Operators have to be able to see the operator interface while monitoring the process. The interface monitor is usually off to the side of the wet bench station. The interface monitor is mounted on a swing arm that allows operators to adjust the position where they can view it while monitoring the process. The interface mounting arm can rotate and tilt to an ideal position and then can be locked with one hand. The operator can continue working while adjusting the interface monitor and doesn’t have to assume any unnatural positions.

All of Modutek’s wet bench stations are built and designed around your ergonomic and process requirements. Modutek does not sell stations which customers order from a catalog. Wet bench stations are built based on a customer’s specifications and incorporate features for ergonomic safety and repeatability. Besides ease of use Modutek also designs each station around your facility requirements. When the station is delivered all facility connections are pre-approved so your system will be up and running in a very short time. All of these added features save customers time and money.

In addition to these specific examples, Modutek applies ergonomic design principles and safety features across its full product line of wet process equipment. All its wet bench chemical stations satisfy safety regulations and are designed to keep employee physical effort to a minimum.

Equipment That Meets Ergonomic and Safety Guidelines

Modutek’s extensive line of wet process equipment and wet bench chemical stations are all designed according to the latest applicable ergonomic and safety guidelines. When customers need special equipment, Modutek can design customized systems to satisfy specific requirements. In that case, ergonomic and safety features are customized as well to make sure the special equipment meets or exceeds the guidelines.

Older equipment is often not compliant with new regulations. When that is the case, it’s a good time to purchase new or upgraded equipment. Whether new or an upgrade, the equipment comes with improved ergonomics and safety features. When employees work with reduced physical stress and feel safe in the workplace, employee morale and job satisfaction increases. If you need help selecting a wet bench station for your process requirements and also all ergonomic and safety regulations, contact Modutek for a free quote or consultation at 866-803-1533 or email [email protected].

Improving Piranha Etch Process Results in Silicon Wafer Cleaning

Improving Piranha Etch Process Results in Silicon Wafer CleaningPiranha etch is a popular process for silicon wafer cleaning, but it has to be tightly controlled to be effective. The mixture of about one part hydrogen peroxide and three parts sulfuric acid rapidly removes organic matter from silicon wafers. The etch process takes place in heated quartz tanks where both temperature and chemical concentration affect the etch rate.

Precise control is difficult because mixing the original solution is exothermic, and the hot mixture is then maintained at between 130 and 180 degrees centigrade. The hydrogen peroxide decays to form water, diluting the mixture. The rate of decay depends on the temperature, but adding extra hydrogen peroxide to keep the concentration steady increases the temperature.

With several key variables interdependent, accurate control with traditional control systems is not easy and results can be varied. The mixture, with periodic addition or spiking with hydrogen peroxide, has a useful life of only about one day. Modutek has developed a control strategy that improves process results while reducing chemical use.

The Modutek “Bleed and Feed” Process Control Strategy Delivers Improved Results

Modutek’s “Bleed and Feed” process control strategy keeps the concentration of the Piranha mixture at the desired level while increasing the lifespan of the mixture. The company uses a two-tank “clean” and “dirty” tank design. When the concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the dirty tank goes down, a small amount of mixture is drained from the tank and is replaced by an equal amount from the clean tank. The clean tank then receives a fresh amount of mixture. The clean tank and dirty tank mixtures and the amounts of the bleed and the feed are all programmable so that the desired concentrations can be maintained for an extended period. Using the “Bleed and Feed” method, the Piranha mixture has a much longer life span.

“Bleed and Feed” Control Strategy Advantages

The control strategy of frequently adding small amounts of a programmable hydrogen peroxide/sulfuric acid mixture to the main “dirty” tank mixture to maintain its concentration provides several advantages to the silicon wafer cleaning process. Instead of spiking the mixture with hydrogen peroxide, the Modutek method adds an already mixed dosage to the main mixture, reducing temperature instability and allowing better control of the process. When the main mixture is relatively stable, it lasts longer and doesn’t have to be replaced as often. The temperatures and concentrations are more stable and the control of the etch or strip rate is more precise.

The Modutek “Bleed and Feed” Process Control Delivers Substantial Benefits

With more precise control of the process and a more stable Piranha mixture, Modutek’s “Bleed and Feed” process control improves Piranha etching results. Specific benefits include the following:

• Better control of the process increases reliability of strip results

• Precise temperature and concentration levels result in a constant strip rate

• Programmable dosage levels add control flexibility for predictable results

• Reproducing process parameters creates excellent repeatability

• Longer mixture life reduces chemical use

• Replacing the mixture less often reduces down time

• Chemical purchase and disposal costs are lower

• Risk of an accident from adding too much hydrogen peroxide is eliminated

Overall process results and wet etching performance are improved with the better outcomes and reduced costs of a Piranha etch process using Modutek’s “Bleed and Feed” process control. Customers incorporating Modutek’s new control strategy can expect reduced product failure rates, better output quality and overall improved wet process station performance.

Modutek continues to improve their silicon wafer cleaning equipment to provide customers with better process results using the “Bleed and Feed” process control in new wet bench stations. The company offers free consulting and can help customers choose an appropriate wet bench configuration or custom-build one to meet specific customer needs.

Modutek’s History of Innovation, Customer Support and Satisfaction

Modutek's History of Innovation, Customer Support and SatisfactionWith 40 years of success as a manufacturer of wet bench stations and semiconductor equipment, Modutek Corporation continues working with customers to improve process results and meet customer needs. The company emphasizes the following three aspects of its operations.

1. Constant innovation, looking for aspects of wet bench technology that could be improved and finding solutions that produce excellent results.

2. Customer support. Because Modutek manufactures all its own equipment, it has the expertise to provide unparalleled support for everything the company delivers.

3. Customer satisfaction. Modutek uses raw materials and parts of the highest quality to deliver equipment that meets or surpasses customer expectations.

By building its operations around innovation and customer needs, Modutek has become a leading semiconductor equipment manufacturer.

Manufactures Reliable Equipment of the Highest Quality

The key to producing reliable equipment is to use high-quality inputs for proven manufacturing processes. When manufacturing wet bench components with materials such as quartz, Teflon and stainless steel Modutek specifies the highest quality and produces equipment with an excellent track record. The high equipment reliability results in low down times and high-quality output for customers.

Innovation that Provides Customers with Solutions

Modutek’s customer-centered approach directs innovation towards addressing customer problems. The company works closely with customers to learn about their needs and then develops solutions that incorporate the latest technology to improve process results.

Wet Bench Equipment that is Designed, Built and Programmed In House

Customers ordering wet bench equipment from Modutek receive one-stop solutions with no third parties. During concept, configuration and design customers work with Modutek specialists to translate their needs into wet process systems that can carry out the functions they want. Manufacturing is done at the company’s plant in San Jose and the software used in process automation is written and programmed by Modutek’s own engineers. With no third parties to call in and a seamless knowledge of the delivered systems, Modutek can provide exceptional service and support.

Delivering a Comprehensive Suite of Wet Process Equipment

Modutek is a wet bench manufacturer with a complete line of wet process equipment including complete systems, individual stations and process components. Stations can be manual, semi-automated and fully automated and they can incorporate auxiliary functions such as an IPA vapor dryer or chemical handling station.

Components making up wet process systems include Quartz tanks/baths, Teflon tanks, Solvent baths, Megasonic cleaning, Air Scrubbers, waste water treatment systems and Quick Dump Rinsers. Modutek can offer such components to be added to an existing facility or can assemble standard components to meet specific customer needs. In each case, Modutek can help establish what is required for a wet process application and recommend equipment from its own comprehensive line, ensuring that the equipment performs as expected.

Modutek Can Design a Custom Solution for all Wet Process Applications

Semiconductor manufacturing has many steps and an application often has unique requirements. Prototypes, models, research projects or proof of concept products can each require custom solutions. While Modutek has standard components in its product line, the company can modify its standard designs to meet specific customer needs.

Because Modutek builds all its products in house, it has the capability to change dimensions, use special materials, and integrate additional functions into a system or program how specific processes run. Tanks and baths can be built to fit existing spaces or match existing facilities. Wet bench stations can be programmed with exactly the right amount of automation, adding operator interventions at critical points. With its in house expertise, Modutek can examine customer requirements and build the corresponding equipment.

Combining 40 years of experience with its comprehensive wet process equipment product line and its extensive customization capabilities lets Modutek satisfy customers with effective results. Modutek also backs up its equipment with superior customer service and support. That record together with its innovative products makes Modutek one of the leading semiconductor equipment manufacturers.

Modutek Continues to Supply and Support Customers during Challenging Times

modutek continues to supply and support customers during challenging times Businesses wishing to continue operations during a crisis need reliable suppliers to support them. The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging companies as never before and Modutek Corporation is playing its part. The company is staying open to support customers and is prioritizing critical components for essential businesses. Modutek has been in business for over 40 years and has weathered many challenges during that time. As a top supplier in the semiconductor manufacturing industry, the company emphasizes the business practices that help its customers.

Production of High Quality Equipment Characterizes a Top Supplier

A key component of customer satisfaction is product quality. Modutek uses top quality materials for its wet process equipment and manufactures most of its equipment in house, giving it excellent control of product quality. For semiconductor manufacturing, this means that Modutek wet benches deliver consistent performance over an extended period. Modutek ensures that materials withstand corrosive operating conditions, dosages are accurate and timing is precise while operation is safe and reliable.

Knowledge of Customer Priorities Allows a Top Supplier to Deliver Improved Performance

With its lengthy experience in the semiconductor equipment manufacturing industry and its record of working closely with its customers, Modutek can deliver innovative products that help customers improve manufacturing facility performance. Modutek is focused on wet process equipment with low particle counts, increased throughput, reduced defective output and lower use of chemicals. Its customers benefit from Modutek’s focus on equipment performance with lower costs, higher quality output and increased satisfaction from their own customers.

Innovation Drives Improved Performance

Modutek’s product development is driven by innovation. New ways of handling wafers, controlling processes and improving cleanliness produce better results. Modutek analyzes how its equipment operates for the various cleaning and etching processes. The company then identifies safety, control and output issues, trying out changes and different ways of improving the operation. Its product line includes new ways of controlling etching and innovative ways of carrying out cleaning, etching and drying. The company has pioneered a reduction in the number of process steps to improve throughput and reduce handling. Modutek’s innovative approach provides customers with equipment that operates reliably while reducing costs and improving output quality.

Top Suppliers Deliver Excellent Customer-Focused Support

In addition to supplying quality products that meet excellent performance goals and are characterized by innovative approaches, a top supplier can be judged by the level of support and service it provides to customers. To deliver excellent customer support, a supplier has to put in place customer-focused policies and have the appropriate support and service capabilities.

Modutek works closely with customers and has the required expertise because the company designs and builds its own equipment. Its engineers know exactly how each component works and how the parts combine to deliver the desired performance. Modutek can supply a full range of wet process equipment, ranging from manual stations to fully automated processes. For the automation, Modutek writes its own software, avoiding the need to call in third parties for service. As a result, Modutek can implement customer-focused support policies using its own personnel and can supply effective service with its own engineers and technicians.

Modutek Will Continue to Fulfill Its Top Supplier Role in the Current Crisis

As it has during past downturns and difficult times, Modutek will continue to act as a top supplier to its customers. Components and support for semiconductor manufacturing are critical for many industries and Modutek will provide both so its customers can operate as they see fit. At the same time, Modutek has been designated a supplier for essential businesses and will prioritize critical parts for these industries. All of Modutek’s customers can continue to depend on the company for the supply of equipment, parts, support and service.

Modutek Supplies Components to Essential Businesses During Covid-19 Crisis

modutek supplies components to essential businesses during covid 19 crisisModutek is continuing business operations during the COVID-19 pandemic because it is a supplier of critical components to essential businesses. The parts and systems Modutek supplies in wet process semiconductor manufacturing equipment are important for many businesses including those in the infrastructure and medical industries. At the same time, to support first responders and medical staff, the company is supplying components for face shields used in personal protection equipment. Modutek has re-prioritized its manufacturing capabilities to ensure that it can produce these critical components as needed.

Modutek Supplies Critical Components to the Essential Infrastructure Industries

Companies whose businesses and manufacturing plants are essential for the continuing operation of important infrastructure may request that suppliers of critical components remain in operation and continue to supply the required parts. They may make reference to the “Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During COVID-19 Response” issued by the Cyber security and Infrastructure Security Agency on March 19, 2020, and detail which of their activities is considered essential. Essential infrastructure could include the food supply, the electric grid, the oil and gas industries, communications and critical manufacturing including defense. Modutek Corporation has been asked to stay open and to continue operations to support this essential infrastructure.

Modutek Continues to Supply Critical Components to the Medical Industry

The greatest challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic are faced by the medical industry, including health care, medical devices and personal protection equipment. As a company that supplies components for medical equipment manufacturers, Modutek has been asked to continue to supply these critical components and to ensure that there is a sufficient supply. Some medical devices rely on specialized components and Modutek continues to fully support these manufacturers.

Modutek’s Semiconductor Wet Process Equipment is Essential for Many Industries

As a premier manufacturer of semiconductor wet process equipment, Modutek’s components and subsystems are an important part of the supply chain for essential industries. Because the company designs and builds all their equipment in house, the manufacturing process is flexible enough to accommodate the special needs of customers delivering essential products and services during the COVID-19 crisis. In normal times, Modutek supplies components and subsystems to many industries, including the medical industry, high technology, research labs and semiconductor manufacturing facilities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Modutek continues to support its customers with priority given to those in essential industries.

Chemical Delivery Systems Designed to Meet Facility Requirements

Different semiconductor manufacturing facilities or other users of chemicals have varying needs. The chemical delivery requirements of large chip producers differ from those of small fabricators, custom shops or research facilities. Chemical delivery system capacity, equipment layout, the number of different chemicals and the specifications for quality, accuracy and quantity may all vary, depending on the facility and the application. Suppliers of chemical delivery systems need to be able to customize their equipment to satisfy the specific requirements of different facilities. Suppliers who manufacture their own equipment in house are best able to adapt their standard products to the needs of their customers more easily than those using third party manufacturers.

Storage, Delivery and Disposal Are Key System Functions

The operation of chemical delivery systems can be divided into storage, delivery and disposal functions. These functions are impacted by chemical volumes, number of chemicals and facility layout. For operations that need a large volume of chemicals, storage and delivery options are going to be different than for small operations. The space and equipment layout at a facility also determines how the key functions are executed. A competent supplier has to be able to evaluate all the relevant factors and requirements before designing and building the custom system.

For example, for large volumes of chemical usage, storage space for chemical totes and a load cell interface for tracking chemical use are required. If small volumes of chemical are used, storage can fit into small spaces close to the point of use. Similarly, disposal differs according to the volume of waste chemical generated. Waste liquids can be neutralized close to where the waste is generated or the waste liquids can be piped away for remote neutralization and disposal.

How Chemicals Are Used Impacts System Design

A facility that uses large volumes of a few chemicals will need only very simple controls while a production line that spikes with some chemicals and mixes others will require complex controls with high precision. Requirements for repeatability, accuracy and quality control all come into the specifications for the design and configuration of the system. Sometimes manual open loop controls are adequate but for other facilities fast, closed loop automation may be critical. Software, modeling and robotics are expensive and may not be required for some applications but may be necessary for others. The chemical delivery system provided to a facility needs to incorporate each of these specific requirements.

Safe Operation Depends on the Chemicals Used

While operator safety is paramount, the actual safety features required for an installation depend on the chemicals used. Non-hazardous chemicals may not need any special safety measures while highly inflammable solvents may require explosion-proof designs with the relevant National Electrical Code (NEC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) certifications.

Safety measures for hazardous chemicals can include operational strategies to reduce worker exposure. For some applications, a degree of automation up to fully automatic systems can increase safety and reduce operator error. For others, less expensive solutions can include semi-automatic or manual systems with corresponding safety interlocks and automatic shut-down for dangerous conditions. In each case, the specific operating characteristics of the chemical delivery system have to be evaluated and a custom solution has to be designed and installed.

Modutek Can Customize Chemical Delivery Systems

Modutek designs and builds their own equipment down to programming their own software for chemical dosage and for automation. With extensive experience in the field of chemical delivery systems and in house design and manufacturing expertise, Modutek can customize their systems to the extent required. The resulting systems are safe to operate and they deliver top performance while responding exactly to customer needs. If you need a chemical delivery system for your facility, contact Modutek for a free consultation or quote.

How Specialized Manufacturing Equipment Provides Safety for Using Solvents

Semiconductor manufacturing solvent applications use specialized wet bench equipment to reduce the risk of fire and explosions from volatile solvents such as acetone. Solvents are used for operations that include stripping, cleaning and pattern transfers, and their inflammable nature means that the equipment has to meet stringent safety regulations. Safety measures focus on ensuring electrical components don’t ignite solvents or their vapors and operator safety through training. Additional safety measures include limiting access to sensitive areas and installation of fire extinguishing equipment. These safety measures provide integrated approach to solvent handling and use and ensure stainless steel solvent stations can be installed and operated safely in new fabrication lines or with existing equipment.

Special Features Satisfy Regulations and Keep Operators Safe

When working with inflammable solvents, safety regulations require specific features and additional operating measures to keep workers safe. These features can include the following:

Design to hazardous location Class 1 Division 1 or Division 2 certification.

Design electrical equipment to use low-power signals too weak to generate sparks that could set off an explosion.

Use of carboys to collect solvent waste.

Use of safety interlocks to ensure safe operation.

Process monitoring with safety alarms for dangerous conditions.

Detection of liquid spills.

Emergency power off mushroom button.

Wiring per NFPA 70 and 79.

Auto lids to seal off chemical containers.

Access controls to ensure only qualified personnel can operate the equipment.

Gaseous automatic fire suppression systems such as those using carbon dioxide.

An experienced manufacturer of wet bench equipment incorporates these features in all their solvent station designs to make sure an integrated safety concept allows for safe operation.

Modutek’s Stainless Steel Solvent Stations Meet All Safety Requirements

Modutek manufactures the SFa and the Sa series of stainless steel solvent baths for solvent applications including IPA, acetone and resist strippers. The baths meet National Electrical Code Class 1 Division 1 Group D requirements for hazardous locations and are specially designed for safe operation. Made from 304 stainless steel, the baths are inert for the solvents used. The SFa bath is a temperature controlled recirculating bath while the Sa bath is constant temperature.

The baths both include all the required safety features for safe solvent operation. With NFPA 70 and 79 wiring, fire suppression, N2 head case purge, 1-inch lip exhaust and PVC safety shields, the baths are configured to keep workers safe. Operational safety is ensured with safety interlocks, an emergency off mushroom button, a Teflon N2 gun, a de-ionized water hand spray and a continuous flow de-ionized water manifold.

While maintaining a high level of safety, the stations deliver improved yields with fast heating and accurate temperature control. With an operating temperature of 30 to 100 degrees centigrade, heaters can achieve a temperature increase of up to 2 degrees centigrade per minute. Temperature control accuracy is plus/minus 1 degree centigrade for excellent process control and reproducibility.

Modutek’s solvent stations are available in fully automated, semi-automated or manual versions. The fully automated stations further increase safety by eliminating operator error, reducing spills and ensuring that a process runs with the correct dosages and timing. Semi-automated stations give customers the benefit of robotic operation without paying the price of full automation. Manual stations retain all the safety features but don’t include automation and are less expensive. Each station can be customized to exactly meet the specific requirements of the customer.

As a wet bench manufacturer with extensive experience in semiconductor manufacturing technology, Modutek can design and build both standard and customized equipment that is safe to operate while delivering top performance. Modutek can provide free consulting to help customers clearly define needs and then propose wet bench components, standard systems or custom installations that meet the highest safety standards.

Why You Need a Wet Bench Manufacturer with In-House Expertise

As semiconductor manufacturing becomes more complex, there is an increasing demand for custom solutions to special applications. Standard systems often can’t take into account the combination of multiple steps required to produce an etched silicon wafer. Instead they end up creating inefficiencies with poor quality output. Custom solutions can consider each separate requirement and can assemble a production line in which each step is optimized for peak performance. Wet bench manufacturers best situated to satisfy the need for customization are those with in house expertise and those that manufacture the bulk of their equipment themselves.

In House Expertise Leads to Optimized Custom Designs

When a company has extensive experience as a wet bench manufacturer, it can evaluate special application requirements, identify key features that will be needed and use its expertise to design the corresponding equipment. The etching and cleaning processes to be used, the concentrations of chemicals, the timing of steps and the use of automation all impact the design of individual elements and of the complete production line. Companies that have designed many such systems will immediately know what design parameters are appropriate and proceed to the details of the customization.

A company has typically acquired its in house expertise by designing many different systems and gaining experience with the features included in each one. The design experience and data gained from testing and from customer feedback allow the company to design an optimized system without going through a trial and error phase. The result is a design based on real wet process results and one that can be built and put into operation without extensive corrections and modifications.

Custom Manufacturing Requires In-House Capabilities

Once a custom design is in place, the corresponding equipment has to be built. The complete customization process is extremely efficient when design and manufacturing take place within the same company. The supplier with in-house expertise in both design and manufacturing of wet bench equipment can use manufacturing experience to produce a low cost and easily constructed design. The company can then build the equipment to perform exactly as needed.

In house manufacturing means the company has experience with materials, knows the limitations of manufacturing processes and is aware of the capabilities of tools and equipment. Based on experience with equipment that has gone into production, a company with in house design and manufacturing expertise can offer custom solutions that really work.

In House Design and Manufacturing Leads to Effective Customer Support

Wet bench manufacturers that design and build their own equipment can provide customer support and service that quickly answers questions and solves problems. Engineers and technicians that have worked on the equipment and are familiar with it won’t have to check with third party suppliers and will be able to propose effective solutions. Companies with such in-house expertise can not only prioritize excellent customer support but can also deliver concrete results.

Modutek Has In House Design and Production Expertise

Modutek’s personnel design and build all their own equipment including design and programming of automation software. The company’s in house expertise and production know-how includes design, assembly and testing of all wet bench equipment supporting both acid and solvent applications. While the company has a complete line of standard equipment and systems, it’s in house capabilities allow it to offer customized solutions for any special applications.

Modutek has technicians and engineers familiar with electrical schematics, plumbing diagrams and software documentation. Company programmers write the automation software for semi-automatic and fully automated wet bench stations. Modutek’s in house expertise allows the company to provide the best possible designs, equipment and customer support.