How On-Site Acid Neutralization Systems Provide Safe Chemical Disposal

When the right acid neutralization system is chosen, it can automatically add the required neutralizing chemicals to acid waste left over after a semiconductor manufacturing process step. Ideally such a system should use the least amount of chemicals while ensuring adequate neutralization of waste to comply with environmental standards. The system has to have enough capacity to handle the waste chemical flow and it must operate reliably, protecting against spills and documenting chemical use and discharge. With overall environmental standards tightening and local regulations becoming more stringent, semiconductor manufacturers need acid neutralization systems that provide safe and reliable disposal of chemical waste.

How to Choose Continuous Flow or Batch Acid Neutralization Systems

Acid neutralization systems can operate on a continuous basis or can neutralize individual batches of waste chemicals. For mass production of semiconductor parts, fabrication lines operate over extended periods, using fixed amounts of chemicals and producing uniform quantities of waste.

For these large-scale operations, a continuous flow acid neutralization system is the best choice. Because the nature of the waste chemicals is known and remains consistent over time, the neutralization process can add fixed amounts of low-pH chemicals to continuously neutralize the waste flow. Neutralization can be fine-tuned because the overall process doesn’t change.

Batch neutralization systems are better suited for the production of small quantities of semiconductor products. Typical applications are prototype production, production of small quantities for testing or the manufacture of special components. For these operations, the waste chemicals have to be neutralized in small volumes and each process is different. The batch acid neutralization system has to measure the pH of the waste chemicals, and determine what low-pH additions are appropriate. The neutralization is different for each batch as is each outflow.

Automation Can Play a Key Role in Effective Acid Neutralization Systems

Automated acid neutralization systems can help reduce chemical use, ensure regulatory compliance and reduce spills. The system automatically adds the required chemicals to the waste solution, tracks chemical use, measures outflow pH and records the results. Workplace safety is increased and human error is reduced. The records of chemical use and outflow pH can demonstrate that environmental standards are met.

Automating continuous flow systems is comparatively easy because the process parameters are known and they don’t change. The complete automation of batch neutralization systems can be challenging because key variables as well as the chemicals involved can vary from batch to batch.

For a continuous flow chemical acid neutralization system, the acid to be neutralized and the low-pH chemical to be used are known. The automation only has to add the required amount of neutralizing chemical on a continuous basis and record the resultant pH. For slight variations, a control loop can adjust the amount of neutralizing chemical to achieve the required output pH.

A fully automated batch neutralization system first has to measure the batch pH and add an amount of low-pH neutralizer. Depending on the chemicals involved, the automated system may have to add different neutralizing chemicals in several stages to achieve the required output. The automated system is complicated to program and difficult to set up. For batch neutralization systems, operator involvement to select the type of neutralization required can simplify the operation of the automated system and make it more effective.

Modutek Can Help Select the Right Acid Neutralization System

Modutek has a full line of chemical handling equipment, including acid neutralization systems. The company works closely with customers to determine their needs and can customize systems to meet special requirements. Once delivered, Modutek makes sure that the acid neutralization systems operate as specified and customers are completely satisfied. Contact Modutek for a free consultation to discuss the chemical disposal requirements needed at your facility.