Improving Wafer Manufacturing Processes with Automated Equipment

Improving Wafer Manufacturing Processes with Automated EquipmentAutomated wafer fabrication equipment can improve semiconductor manufacturing facility performance, but all the associated process settings must be programmed properly. Before the manufacturing process can be implemented on a fully automated wet bench station, the settings, timing and other parameters have to be fine tuned. As circuit geometries and micro-structures become smaller and more tightly packed, the chemical concentrations, temperature levels and timed intervals affecting the etch rate become more and more critical. Fully automated equipment can precisely and reliably run a semiconductor manufacturing process once the correct variables are determined and programmed.

Manual Operation Can Determine the Settings for the Process Variables

Once wafer fabrication processes such as KOH etching are chosen, the process variables can be selected. Etching can be either isotropic or anisotropic and etching speed or precision can vary. Other factors may come into play as well. Initially it makes sense to run the new process on a manual station so that the process results for rough settings of basic variables such a concentrations, temperature and timing can be determined. These variables can then be adjusted to get an initial and acceptable process result.

Semi-Automatic Operation Can Fine Tune the Process

After determining the rough settings of the basic variables in manual operation, transferring to semi-automatic operation to optimize the process steps can save time. Those variables that will no longer change can be programmed into the semi-automatic software control while the others can be adjusted manually to get the best process result. In this way, as each process step is optimized, it can be programmed so that when optimization is complete, the process is ready to run on fully automated wafer processing equipment.

Fully Automated Operation Improves Semiconductor Manufacturing Facility Performance

Fully automated wet process stations for which the process has been optimized in manual and semi-automated operation can help improve overall production facility performance in the following ways:

  • Programmed settings ensure that the process is repeatable for different batches
  • Use of wet processing simulation software during optimization helps ensure accurate process parameters
  • Full automation eliminates human error
  • Precise dosages of chemicals and accurate timing results in fewer defective products
  • Throughput and wafer yields are increased

The programmed settings can be used again to get an identical result and they can be used for similar applications with minor adjustments. Instead of relying on operators to prepare etching baths, the fully automated station mixes the required chemicals quickly, safely and reliably, always the same way and without waste or spillage. The result is precise control over the process steps, fast execution without delays and high output quality.

Improved Output Relies on Optimized Software and Fully Automated Stations

Using an optimization strategy with manual and semi-automatic operation and running the optimized process on fully automated wafer fabrication equipment can lead to continuous improvement in semiconductor manufacturing operations. As new processes are brought online and optimized, they replace older versions that may not use chemicals as efficiently, may rely on some manual input or may not have the same precise and reliable execution as the fully automated stations. Tailor-made software working with fully automated wet process equipment can result in such continuous improvements.

With 40 years of experience in wet process technology and extensive in house expertise from manufacturing its own equipment, Modutek is ideally situated to supply fully automated equipment that improves semiconductor manufacturing output. The company has a complete line of standard and custom-built wet process equipment and the SolidWorks software used to calculate process parameters is programmed in house. Working closely with its customers, Modutek designs and builds its fully automated stations and programs the corresponding software to help them meet their goals for continuous improvement. Contact Modutek for a free quote or consultation on selecting equipment that supports your specific manufacturing process requirements.

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].

How Software Controls Support Unique Wet Processing Requirements

Automated software control systems can help improve wet bench operations but the software has to be flexible to meet the unique needs of a wet processing application. Software controls increase dosage accuracy, timing reliability and process safety but process parameters or even the process itself can change as regulations tighten, customer requirements change and suppliers differ. The ideal automated process station is custom built to exactly match the requirements of a particular process while retaining the software programming capability to respond to production line changes.

User Interface

Modutek’s fully automated wafer fabrication equipment features touch screens with a graphical user interface (GUI). Operators can see the status of the manufacturing process and can start and stop steps if required. Because Modutek designs and programs its software in house, the company can respond to unique requirements at the software level and can add equipment to the GUI if the process changes.

Equipment Interface

Once the operator starts a process and the software program runs, the automated system has to output commands to the equipment on the production line. Modutek uses the SECS/GEM interface standard, which stands for SEMI Equipment Communications Standard/Generic Equipment Model.

SEMI is the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International organization that developed the standard and defines the communication forms and messaging underlying the interaction of the software and the semiconductor manufacturing equipment. Using a common standard lets Modutek integrate other equipment into its production line designs and easily make changes to the software.

Automated Controllers

Controllers convert the input commands from the operators to corresponding output commands in the correct sequence to control process variables and the motion of the robotics. The sequence of commands is programmed into controllers such as PLC (programmable logic controllers) units that activate a command chain when the right input command is given. PLCs have the advantage that the programmable chains are easily re-programmed to meet changed requirements or equipment changes on the production line.

Because they design their own automation systems, Modutek can integrate higher level controllers such as Omron machine automation controllers or controllers from specific manufacturers such as Allen Bradley. Special controllers are often needed for unique functionality or for integration with existing systems.

Flow Simulation Software

Modutek’s SolidWorks Simulation Professional and SolidWorks Flow Simulation software is designed and programmed by the company’s software engineers to calculate chemical dosages and track chemical usage. The software ensures that the process environment for a particular batch is always the same, producing reliable etch rates and consistent throughput. When the process changes, the software can calculate new parameters and can automatically supply the right amounts of chemicals.

Vision Sensing

Fully automated wafer fabrication equipment can benefit from vision sensing with cameras and other optical sensors. The detected images have to be processed to identify the characteristics required by the system. Vision sensing can help with measurement, wafer or die alignment, quality inspection, sorting and mounting. For example, a coating could be inspected for continuity or products could be sorted according to defined properties. Modutek can integrate vision sensing into its fully automated wet process stations and help make sure the required functions work as desired.

Data Logging

The automated system can be programmed to output process variables to data logs that allow tracking chemical use, product quality, output and similar variables. The software sends the required data over Ethernet to create reports that operators and management can use for evaluating production line performance.

Modutek Designs Advanced Software Controls for Custom Applications

In 2020, Modutek is marking their 40th year of operation as a semiconductor equipment manufacturer and wet processing equipment supplier. The company’s success is due to innovation and continuous improvement in equipment and software to benefit their expanding customer base. For any wafer processing equipment needs contact Modutek for a free consultation or quote.

How Fully Automated Wafer Fabrication Equipment Improves Process Control

As the microscopic structures etched on silicon wafers become more complicated and densely packed, precise process control and the elimination of particle contamination become increasingly important. The accuracy of chemical dosages and the timing of steps have to be consistent and the handling of wafers must be reduced to a minimum. Fully automated wafer fabrication equipment can help ensure that these conditions for the production of high-quality semiconductor components are met.

Software is the Key to Full Automation

Manual and semi-automatic wet processing equipment rely on operators to mix chemicals and transfer wafers. The correct execution of the process steps depends on operator training, the operator following instructions and the instructions being accurate. Errors or inconsistencies in execution can result in defective products, production line down time and low quality output. Throughput is reduced and productivity suffers. The semiconductor manufacturing facility’s overall operations are less efficient and less profitable.

When software runs the wafer fabrication equipment, it eliminates the variability introduced by manual operation and inconsistent documentation. Once a process runs correctly, the software can be saved, and it will always run the same process exactly the same way in the future. Batches are consistent and components work as designed.

The use of software to run fully automated stations can have the following benefits:

  • Exact chemical ratios are ensured and are maintained from batch to batch.
  • The timing of process steps is precise and repeatable.
  • Process variables can easily be optimized by programming small changes in the software.
  • Accurate chemical dosages result in reduced waste and lower chemical use.
  • Chemical neutralization and disposal are reliable and easily documented.
  • Worker safety is enhanced because operators are less exposed to toxic chemicals.

These benefits come from programming automatic controls to manage the cleaning and etching of the silicon wafers. The software calculates how much of each chemical is needed for a particular process step. It controls the adding of the chemicals to the process tank, times the process step, drains the chemicals and neutralizes the waste chemicals. Once the variables in the software are optimized, the software will run the optimized process the same way every time. The results are predictable and consistent.

The Use of Robotics Reduces Contamination

Particle contamination becomes a bigger problem when the structures and conductors on the silicon wafers are small or tightly packed. For the smallest microscopic structures, a single particle may block a conductor, distort a structure or affect diffusion. The result can be an increase in defective products, products with a reduced life span or products that don’t have the desired characteristics.

Manually moving or handling wafers can be a source of particle contamination. Robotic parts are designed with low particle counts in mind and the movement of wafers can be reduced to a minimum. The exact motions are programmed and performed the same way each time.

In fully automated systems, only the robotic arms transport the wafers and no manual handling by operators is required. Once the automated sequence is started, the robotics controlled by the software move the wafers through the process without operator intervention. Fully automated robotic systems reduce particle contamination and improve semiconductor manufacturing facility performance.

Modutek Offers Fully Automated Wafer Fabrication Equipment and Wet Bench Stations

Modutek’s product line includes fully automated wafer fabrication equipment and wet bench stations. The company programs its own SolidWorks Simulation Professional and SolidWorks Flow Simulation software and makes extensive use of robotics to deliver excellent process control and high-quality output. Modutek’s software is developed in house and all wet process stations are assembled in the company’s San Jose facility. This means that Modutek specialists can optimize the automation to deliver the best possible performance and that they can customize the equipment for special applications.

The full range of benefits that Modutek’s fully automated stations include the following:

  • Reduced chemical usage
  • Improved etch rates
  • Higher yields
  • Better throughput
  • Excellent repeatability
  • Can handle both acid and solvent applications
  • Can work with standard wafer carrier sizes and custom sizes up to 30″ x 60″
  • Extensive tracking of process variables
  • Highest output quality

To make sure that the desired performance is maintained and to track all relevant data, the Modutek fully automated stations provide data logging and data access through Ethernet. Customers can record process variables and track key characteristics through an optimization period or during normal processing. These records can be valuable for quality assurance purposes and for demonstrating compliance with environmental regulations.

Modutek Supports the SECS/GEM Semiconductor Industry Protocol

The SECS (SEMI Equipment Communications Standard) and the GEM (Generic Equipment Model) protocol standards specify how automated semiconductor fabrication equipment can communicate with a host computer. Developed by the Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International organization, the standards define interfaces, messaging and communication capabilities. Communication can be via TCP/IP networks or an RS-232 connection. This means the control system of the fully automated wet process station can communicate with hosts that could range from a local computer to a server in the cloud.

Modutek’s fully automated stations support this protocol and can supply a variety of data to the hosts while receiving remote commands to start or stop a process and to choose stored recipes or programs. In an automated fabrication facility, an operator can remotely control their automated stations and can remotely log data and operating parameters. A library of recipes and software programs for specific process steps can be accessed by the automated stations that can carry out fabrication steps with a minimum level of local operator involvement.

Based on their expertise in the field of wet process semiconductor manufacturing and the hands-on experience of its specialists, Modutek can recommend automated semiconductor fabrication equipment and can build systems to meet the specific needs of customer applications. All software and robotics are designed, built and tested at Modutek’s San Jose facility.

The company leverages this capability to offer its customers custom automation solutions. Modutek’s fully automated stations can operate in a simple locally automated cycle where local operators log and verify operations. They can also function as part of an automated fabrication facility controlled remotely with data and operating parameters stored in the cloud.

With more than 35 years of experience, Modutek continues to provide innovative and reliable equipment for semiconductor manufacturing. For a free consultation or quote contact call 866-803-1533 or email [email protected]

 

How Robotics Have Revolutionized Semiconductor Manufacturing

The automation over the last 25 years of wet bench stations used for semiconductor manufacturing has resulted in more efficient production and an increase in output quality. When the handling and mixing of the chemicals, the handling of the silicon wafers and the timing of the process steps were carried out manually, mistakes could result in defective products. Semiconductor equipment manufacturers have developed automation that has resulted in improved yields and less waste.

Modutek has been on the forefront of developing robotics and process control software that allows fully automatic or semiautomatic processing of silicon wafers. In this way, the entire semiconductor manufacturing process is controlled accurately and reliably. Chemical quantities and process timing are precise, process parameters are reproducible, and material handling is safe. Contamination is reduced with robotic wafer handling. For all these reasons, adding robotics to a wet bench processing line is a cost-effective solution for better facility performance.

Modutek’s Leadership in Wet Bench Robotics

During the company’s history of making wet process equipment, Modutek has focused on the integration of the latest technology in-house and with its own team of specialists. Founded in 1980, Modutek manufactured components such as quartz heated baths, nitride etch baths and rinsing systems. In 2002, Modutek acquired Sysmax Inc. with its advanced automation technology and from there developed its own robotics.

Advances in robotics have allowed Modutek and other semiconductor equipment manufacturers to offer semi-automated and fully automated stations. These wet benches and chemical stations can control the whole semiconductor manufacturing process with no or limited operator intervention. Both fully automated and semi-automated stations produce excellent process uniformity with semi-automated stations and robotics available at a lower cost if full automation is not required.

A key Modutek advantage for this type of equipment is that all process control software and robotics are designed and assembled in-house. The team working in the company’s San Jose, California manufacturing facility carry out all development work for both the SolidWorks Simulation Professional and SolidWorks Flow Simulation software and for the associated robotics. All silicon wafer fabrication equipment is also tested in-house using de-ionized water. As a result, Modutek can offer unparalleled support and customization services.

Advantages and Benefits

The primary motivators for installing fully automated wafer fabrication equipment are to reduce costs and improve output quality. Elimination of human error and increased precision of chemical use means less waste and high-quality products.

Modutek’s SolidWorks Simulation Professional and SolidWorks Flow Simulation software can calculate correct dosages and track chemical usage. With tighter environmental regulations, efficient chemical use not only reduces costs directly but also makes environmental compliance easier and less costly. When the composition of chemical baths is tightly controlled, the etch rate or wafer cleaning is predictable and consistent.

Automatic chemical delivery is not only more reliable than a manual procedure – it is also safer. Spills of hazardous or corrosive chemicals are less likely, and employee safety is increased.

Robotic handling of wafers can reduce contamination and deliver cleaner wafers for subsequent processing steps. The reduced size of features in semiconductor microstructures means that a single particle can block etching of a key feature or impact doping in a critical part of the semiconductor component. It is vital to keep contamination of wafers to a minimum, and robotic handling of wafers reduces the sources of particle contamination.

While some semiconductor manufacturing applications can be automated with standard solutions, in many cases the particular needs of a specific customer can require a degree of customization of the robotics and the process control software. Because Modutek does its own robotics and software design, developing custom applications is never a problem. Modutek’s team knows exactly how each part of the automated systems work and how to make the necessary adjustments.

With Modutek’s more than 35 years of experience, the company continues to promote innovation in robotics for semiconductor manufacturing. Robotics has made the wafer fabrication process more efficient, more predictable and safer. With its complete line of automated equipment, Modutek continues to bring these benefits to customers. For a free consultation or quote contact call 866-803-1533 or email [email protected]

How Wet Bench Stations Are Tailored for Specific Manufacturing Process Requirements

The fabrication of semiconductor wafers requires that an elaborate set of chemical etching, stripping and cleaning steps be followed in a precise procedure that can be consistently repeated. The semiconductor manufacturing process requires that the use of hydrofluoric acid and other chemicals which must precisely controlled and monitored. These high-tech processes are critically important to industries that fabricate semiconductors, medical equipment and photovoltaic cells. They require the use of custom-made wet benches designed to assist in the safe and precise control of corrosive chemicals at high temperatures.

Wet bench equipment

Modutek provides a full range of wet bench equipment to address the specialized needs of semiconductor manufacturing facilities and research centers. Wet bench stations can be tailor made according to the specific manufacturing process requirements of a customer.

Citric-nitric passivation wet benches are critical to the passivation of titanium and stainless-steel parts in various industries. Electro-polishing wet bench equipment is deployed in the medical device industry in the manufacture of precision steel, cobalt chrome and titanium components.

Multistage wet process fume hoods with circulation pumps are used in aerospace component manufacture, printed circuit board fabrication, and the semiconductor manufacturing industry. Modutek’s wet bench equipment for the semiconductor industry meets UL2360/FM4910 standards for fire and contamination safety. This enables fabricators to remain compliant with applicable environmental laws.

Titanium anodizing equipment, agitated immersion washers, in-line conveyor washers, spray cabinet washers and other precision equipment are an integral part of the semiconductor industry, as well. Modutek is an industry leader in the design, development and deployment of these and many other kinds of wet bench equipment.

The precision needed in manufacturing equipment

Sulfuric acid-peroxide is a powerful chemical that is critical to the cleaning processes applied to semiconductor wafers. Effective application of this chemical mixture is inherently unstable and requires constant rebalancing. The rebalancing and control is needed to maintain efficiency. The mixture needs to be constantly replenished with hydrogen peroxide at high temperatures, something that can be costly even in simple material costs. Modutek’s high-tech systems not only ensure the correct concentration levels, they also help fabricators contain material costs through the use of an exclusive chemical re-use system to contain material costs. Every part of the process is maintained and monitored by equipment that is software controlled.

The silicon nitride wet etching process is another semiconductor fabrication stage that requires a high level of precision and control. Silicon nitride is used to mask chemical etchings on silicon wafers. Once an etching successfully completes, the masking material requires removal. Typically, a mixture of phosphoric acid and the ionized water is applied. Precise control over the chemical mixture is needed, however, if only to prevent the risk of dangerous heat levels and explosions. Modutek’s wet bench station design addresses this challenge through the use of high-tech safety features and the use of precision software.

Modutek’s in-house design process

From manual to semi-automated and fully automated wet bench stations, Modutek’s products are designed and developed in-house right down to the software. From servo-controlled robots and automated equipment to low-cost manual stations, Modutek’s equipment covers the needs of the industries they serve. With their in house expertise and 35+ years of operation, the company is well equipped to meet and support the requirements of semiconductor manufacturers and research centers. Developing equipment that provides thorough and precise control of the manufacturing process is what sets Modutek apart from other semiconductor equipment manufacturers. Contact Modutek today at 866-803-1533 for a free consultation or quote on wet bench equipment that can be tailor made to support your specific manufacturing requirements.

 

Changes to the SPM Process Improves Efficiency and Results

The sulfuric acid hydrogen peroxide mixture (SPM) process effectively strips and cleans wafers but suffers from instability due to the decomposition of the hydrogen peroxide. A heated bath improves performance but increases the rate at which hydrogen peroxide changes into water. Periodically spiking the mixture with extra hydrogen peroxide can restore the required concentration but affects the strip rate. As a result, the SPM mixture has to be changed frequently, leading to high costs for chemicals and frequent downtime on wet bench stations. Working closely with a local semiconductor manufacturer, Modutek has developed a “bleed and feed” process upgrade that addresses these problems and results in substantially longer mixture life and improved process results.

The SPM Process

A typical mixture for the SPM strip and clean process is one part hydrogen peroxide to three parts sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid parts can go as high as 7 parts but once the process has started, if the concentration changes, the strip rate can change as well. The mixture is heated to 130 to 140 degrees centigrade to increase the strip rate. The higher the temperature, the faster the hydrogen peroxide decomposes to water, diluting the mixture.

To keep hydrogen peroxide in the mixture, more of the chemical is periodically added to the process, spiking the concentration back to its original level. Despite this, the mixture is normally usable for only a few hours at a time and typically has to be replaced several times a day. Replacing the mixture is costly and requires repeated downtime when processing has to wait for a new pour. In addition to the costs of the chemicals, there are treatment and disposal costs that are required to comply with environmental regulations.

Modutek’s “Bleed and Feed” Process Change

Modutek has developed a hydrogen peroxide spiking method that keeps the chemical mixture at a predictable concentration and avoids the requirement for frequent replacement. The method reduces consumption of the chemicals and lets the system run for extended periods without down- time.

Using a two-tank dirty and clean tank process, the “bleed and feed” method involves draining a programmable amount of mixture from the dirty tank prior to each process step. Another programmable amount is fed from the clean tank to the dirty tank. Then programmable amount of sulfuric acid is added to the clean tank and both tanks receive programmable amount of hydrogen peroxide.

When the entire mixture has to be replaced, normally about once every week, the system has a quick drain feature that reduces down time and gets the process up and running again quickly. The whole “bleed and feed” spiking method is PLC controlled and the periodic adding and spiking of chemicals allows the mixture to be used continuously for days at a time.

Benefits of the Modutek Process Change

In addition to savings related to the reduced use of chemicals, the new update improves overall efficiency and achieves better results. Instead of having to shut down the wet bench station every shift to pour new acid, the process can run for days and only requires a complete chemical change once per week. In addition, the process is cleaner and can deliver better cleaning and stripping performance.

Modutek is offering the SPM process upgrade on their new wet bench stations and can provide details regarding chemical use and performance. The company has the experience and expertise to help customers more effectively use the SPM and other processes to ensure they obtain the results they need. Call Modutek at 866-803-1533 for any questions you have with using either the updated SPM process or other wet processes needed for your application.

 

Modutek at 2018 Semicon Conference in China

2018 Semicon Conference ChinaModutek Corporation, a leading provider of wet bench stations and wet process equipment, will be at the Semicon Conference in Shanghai China from March 14-16, 2018 with their factory representative Laserwort Ltd.  They will be located in Hall N2 at booth 2431. Information about the Semicon Conference can be referenced at http://www.semiconchina.org/ and details on Modutek’s attendance at the conference can be referenced at: Modutek at Semicon Conference in China

Come by the Modutek /Laserwort booth to get information and answer any questions you have about using Wet Bench Process Stations for acid/base, solvent and ozone cleaning or photo resist strip.  In addition Modutek will also provide information about the benefits of their new IPA vapor dryer with the HF last process. Modutek serves customers around the world who require any type of wet processing equipment and builds chemical delivery systems for pharmaceutical, biochemical, solar and semiconductor manufacturing.

Additional details on some of Modutek’s products are listed below:

Single Chamber HF Last IPA Vapor Dryer

Benefits include:

  • Most drying cycles completed within 10 to 15 minutes
  • Very low consumption of IPA
  • No moving parts inside drying chamber eliminating wafer breakage
  • Eliminates watermarks
  • Drying technology can be designed into wet bench eliminating one transfer step

Features include:

  • Single drying chamber for DI water rinsing and IPA vapor drying
  • On board HF metering for precision mix ratios
  • Uses an in situ HF etch process with a rinse step before the IPA drying cycle
  • Filter bypass for contamination control with no cassette contact points
  • Easy to change IPA bottles
  • Handles all process sizes (standard wafer carriers to glass substrates)

 

Fully-automated Wet Bench Equipment

Benefits include:

  • In house customization to meet customer process requirements
  • Precise automated process execution and reliable repeatability
  • Full automation control with touch screen
  • Improved yield and reduced errors
  • SolidWorks Simulation software for accurate calculation of process parameters
  • All robotics and software design designed in house
  • Complete design, assembly and test at one location to meet your specifications

 

Semi-automated Wet Bench Equipment:

Benefits Include:

  • Automation control with touch screen
  • Servo motor automation
  • SolidWorks Flow Simulation software
  • SolidWorks Simulation Professional software
  • All robotics and software designed and developed in house
  • Complete design, assembly and test at one location to meet your specifications

 

Manual Wet Bench Equipment:

Benefits Include:

  • High end manual equipment at competitive pricing
  • Meets or exceeds all current safety standards
  • Low cost of ownership
  • Designed to meet any process requirements
  • Can accommodate custom designs and processes
  • Equipment designed for future expansion

 

All wet bench equipment supports the following applications:

  • KOH Etching
  • Quartz cleaning
  • Ozone Strip
  • Ozone Cleaning
  • SC1 & SC2 (RCA Clean)
  • Megasonic Cleaning
  • BOE (Buffered Oxide Etching)
  • MEMs processing
  • All solvent applications
  • Hot phosphoric (Nitride Etching)
  • SPM Cleaning
  • Precision Part Cleaning

Modutek has over 37 years of industry experience and expertise in developing and building wet bench stations and wet process equipment that provides highly reliable results for precision processes. They also provide world-class service, and customer support. Contact Modutek at 866-803-1533 or email [email protected] for a free quote or consultation to discuss your requirements.

 

Determining Which Wafer Processing Station Will Meet Your Requirements

Wet bench stations come in a variety of configurations designed for different applications. It can be difficult to make a selection from the many possibilities and make sure the equipment you choose will best meet your requirements. One way to cut down on the uncertainty and to structure the selection process is to emphasize three areas where your needs have to be satisfied.

A Wafer Processing Station has to comply with the standards and regulations in effect for your operation; it has to be able to carry out the processes that you are considering; and it has to be automated in accordance with what you need. When you consider these three areas and find equipment that fulfills your requirements in each one, you will be closer to making a final selection.

Compliance with Standards

Wet bench standards aim to ensure safe operation and resistance to combustion. Modutek wet bench stations comply with the following standards:

  • NFPA 70 – National Fire Protection
  • NFPA 79 – Safety of Industrial Machinery
  • NEC – National Electrical Code
  • UL508a -Standard for Industrial Control Panels

If the equipment is to be installed outside the US, Modutek can also comply with the national standards of Europe (CE Mark), Canada (CSA) and Australia/New Zealand (AS/NZS3000). In addition to complying with these standards, Modutek can supply third party certification for compliance.

Applications

Depending on the process required, Modutek can supply the right systems and advise on the advantages of specific products from their complete line of wet bench equipment. Standard Modutek wet bench stations can support both acid and solvent processes while the stainless-steel line is designed for solvent processes such as those using acetone or IPA. Optional equipment for specific processes is also available.

Automation

Modutek offers manual, semi-automated and fully automated wet bench stations. Which best meets your requirements depends on how you plan to conduct wet process operations. A manual bench may be appropriate for low volume custom or prototype device processes. For higher volume with standard processes, a degree of automation improves your throughput and reduces human error. Modutek’s stations are all built with the same high-quality materials, but the company can supply the degree of automation that matches your needs.

Manual wet bench stations feature competitive pricing with a low total cost of ownership. Modutek can supply the benches at any size and length and to meet any wet process needs. Custom designs are possible and future expansion of the process line is easy.

Semi-automated wet bench stations include robots for uniformity of process execution without the cost of full automation. The servomotors of the robots operate with three degrees of freedom and give you precise control of etching and cleaning. The Modutek-designed software, SolidWorks Simulation Professional and SolidWorks Flow Simulation, calculates process flow. The semi-automated wet bench stations have all the features and characteristics of the manual stations but include a touch screen with a graphic user interface to control the robotics and run the process.

Fully automated wet bench stations track chemical use and ensure precise dosages and accurate process control for improved yields and excellent repeatability. The elimination of human error and fully automated control is especially important for processes with tightly packed semiconductor structures and dense circuitry. Full automation guarantees a consistent process environment that reduces defects and improves output quality.

Modutek designs, assembles and tests all robotic equipment in house and is therefore ideally situated to advise customers on solutions to meet their needs and customize equipment to fit any customer application. The company can help clearly define process requirements for their customers and then propose solutions that allow customers to determine which wafer processing station is ideal for their facility.

 

 

 

Improving Process Control with Fully Automated Wafer Fabrication Equipment

Improving Process Control with Fully Automated Wafer Fabrication EquipmentAn increasing number of silicon wafer fabrication applications, such as those with large size substrates or densely packed components, require tight process control. Accurate chemical dosage and precise process timing become critical for a high-quality output. Manual and semi-automatic controls depend on operator training and reliable operator execution of instructions, leaving open the possibility of human error and a variation in how process steps are carried out. Fully automated wet benches and chemical stations can improve process control accuracy and help with consistent execution. Software can help calculate process variables and ensure correct dosages. Full automation of the wafer fabrication process with the use of software for process control and robotics for wafer handling can result in better repeatability, reduced waste and improve production line performance.

Advantages of Modutek’s Fully Automated Wafer Fabrication Equipment

Modutek designs, develops and manufactures its wafer fabrication equipment in house to the highest quality standards. The SolidWorks Simulation Professional and SolidWorks Flow Simulation software are developed and supported in house by Modutek’s technical personnel. As a result, Modutek has the expertise to determine what is needed to meet the requirements of a specific customer’s application. It can supply standard wet bench chemical stations or customized equipment to exactly meet the needs of its customers, tailoring its equipment and software to fit any special process control requirements.

To satisfy customer requirements, Modutek can draw upon its complete line of wafer fabrication equipment. Its wet benches and chemical stations can handle both solvent and acid applications, and the equipment can process sizes up to 30 inches by 60 inches. Its software can run simulations, calculate chemical dosage and track chemical use. With its in-house expertise, Modutek can offer unparalleled customer support and comprehensive after sales service.

Benefits of Fully Automated Wafer Processing Equipment

Full automation means that the process is set up and can then run repeatedly in exactly the same way without requiring any operator input. Key factors for improved process control are accurate chemical dosage, precise timing of process steps, exact replication of the process sequence and full neutralization of chemical waste. Because operation of the automated program is transparent and recorded, technical personnel can optimize the individual steps to minimize chemical use and reduce waste. Process times can be adjusted to take into account special features of the application and results can be monitored for potential problems.

When the process automation is fully optimized, consumption of chemicals is reduced. Process output stays constant, the number of defective products is lower and the products are of consistently high quality. There are fewer spills and dosage errors while employee safety is higher. Compliance with environmental regulations in terms of chemical use and discharge is easier because chemical consumption is tracked at all times and the neutralization of discharges is ensured. The process environment is consistent and the optimized process can be repeated reliably.

As a result, wafer fabrication facilities that implement full automation experience lower costs due to reduced chemical use. Yield and throughput increase while output quality remains consistent and high. Production line performance and productivity improve and facility profitability can rise.

How Modutek Can Help

With over 35 years experience in wet bench process and wafer fabrication equipment, Modutek can evaluate a customer’s process needs and offer standard equipment or customized solutions as appropriate. Their engineers can work closely with each customer to identify what is required and ensure that the equipment works as expected. Modutek’s fully automated stations are an excellent choice for reliable and technologically advanced solutions to challenging wafer fabrication requirements. If you need highly reliable wafer fabrication equipment to support your semiconductor manufacturing process call Modutek for a free consultation at 866-803-1533 or email [email protected].