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.

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].