How Automated Controls Improve Silicon Wafer Manufacturing

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

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

An Intuitive User Interface Helps Operators Control the Process

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

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

Automated Controllers Translate GUI Commands to Equipment Operation

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

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

Data Logging Helps to Evaluate System Performance

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

Optional Equipment Interfaces Increase Application Flexibility

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

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