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.