Because semiconductor manufacturing facilities use a variety of chemicals to clean, etch and process silicon wafers, chemical delivery systems are critical for ensuring that operations run smoothly. Chemical handling equipment delivers or collects the required chemicals for the safe disposal of the chemical waste. Effective chemical delivery systems remove concerns about the availability and correct mixture of process chemicals and allow operators to focus on issues directly affecting silicon wafer fabrication, such as wafer cleaning, etch rates, and particle contamination. When chemical delivery systems exactly meet facility requirements, a focus on the fabrication processes lets operators optimize production and helps improve output.
Adapting Receiving and Storage of Chemicals to Facility Requirements
Chemical delivery depends on how many different chemicals a facility requires and the volume of the chemicals used. Chemical characteristics such as toxicity also have to be considered. For facilities using a variety of chemicals in varying quantities, a special area may be needed to centralize reception and storage functions.
For small volumes of chemicals, a standard drum located near the process may be the most convenient. For large volumes, receiving and storing chemical totes monitored with a load cell to track chemical use could be the best solution. For dangerous chemicals, containment of possible leaks and special safety measures may be required to ensure compliance with environmental and safety regulations. A competent manufacturer of chemical delivery and storage systems can evaluate these factors and make corresponding recommendations.
Ensuring Timely and Reliable Delivery of Chemicals to the Process
The key function of chemical delivery systems is to ensure that the required chemicals are provided in precise amounts as needed for the process. Silicon wafer fabrication steps clean and etch wafers with mixtures of chemicals that have to be delivered to process tanks. Each step requires precise quantities of chemicals delivered in sequence and at timed or process-dependent intervals. Each facility has different process steps and different chemical delivery requirements. A well-designed chemical delivery system will reliably provide exactly the right chemical in the specified volume at the correct time.
Collecting and Disposing of Used Chemicals Safely
Once a process step is complete, the chemical mixture that remains is often still chemically active, toxic and dangerous. The wafers will have been removed from the chemical bath and the used chemicals need to be safely treated or collected and disposed. For example, acids used in wafer etching are hazardous for operators, harmful for the environment and even the vapors may be dangerous.
Disposal of chemical waste has to be in accordance with local safety and environmental regulations. The chemical system can either drain the chemical waste and send it to an on-site chemical neutralization system for treatment, or to storage in a chemical collection container. Used chemicals in chemical collection containers can be picked up by service providers that specialize in chemical disposal. In either case, the chemical handling has to be carried out safely while containing any leaks or spills.
Modutek’s Expertise with Chemical Delivery Systems
Modutek has extensive experience designing and building customized chemical delivery systems. With in-house expertise in designing and supplying a full line of chemical handling equipment and systems, Modutek can evaluate a facility’s chemical delivery needs and make corresponding recommendations. If you need guidance on selecting the right chemical handling equipment and systems for your facility, contact Modutek for a free consultation.