Advancements in Wafer Fabrication Equipment Improve Semiconductor Manufacturing

advancements in wafer fabrication equipment improve semiconductor manufacturingWhile the requirements for high precision control in wafer fabrication have increased, improvements in the fabrication equipment have also kept pace. The higher complexity and smaller size of semiconductor structures require extremely precise process control to ensure adequate output quality and a low component rejection rate. Advancements in automation and in reducing manual handling of the wafers have met these stricter requirements and allowed fabrication shops to increase productivity and reduce costs. Semiconductor equipment suppliers need to provide comprehensive automation solutions to meet in increasing requirements of manufacturers and research centers developing leading edge semiconductor devices.

Automation Advancements

Modutek, a leading semiconductor equipment supplier, provides wafer fabrication equipment that offers fully automated control of the entire processes. Process steps are precisely repeatable resulting in consistent output. Chemical dosage is accurate and the process is executed according to clearly defined steps. While operator intervention is still possible where needed, fully automated stations reduce errors and produce less waste.

Integrated software such as Modutek’s SolidWorks Flow Simulation and SolidWorks Simulation Professional lets operators calculate process variables and track chemical usage. Once the process is programmed, advanced robotics execute the process steps without operator intervention. Operators can rely on a consistent process environment and increased throughput with high output quality.

Both the software and the use of robotics within the automated stations themselves have significantly improved process control and efficiency. Many semiconductor equipment suppliers offer varying degrees of customized solutions for different kinds of wafer manufacturing requirements. At Modutek, both the software as well as the design, assembly and testing of their wet bench stations are carried out at the company’s facilities and are adapted to meet particular process requirements. The ability of suppliers to provide wafer fabrication equipment tailored to meet the unique requirements of semiconductor manufacturers has helped them to improve yields for each specific process they use.

Advanced Equipment Reduces Handling

The last etch process step involves etching the silicon wafer to remove the silicon oxide layer and then drying the clean wafer. Any particle contamination introduced at this point can influence further silicon wafer processing and result in defective or poor quality semiconductor components. Moving the silicon wafers from the last etch process step to a drying chamber risks introducing additional particle contamination. A new product by Modutek combines the last etch (HF) and IPA drying chamber to avoid handling the silicon wafers and substantially reduces the particle count.

The Modutek combined HF last etch and IPA drying chamber is a modified IPA dryer that allows injection of HF acid prior to the start of IPA drying. The ratio-controlled acid etches the wafers down to bare silicon and the wafers are then rinsed with DI water. Once the rinse reaches a pre-defined pH level, the IPA drying process starts with the introduction of IPA vapor from the top. The IPA or Marangoni drying technique avoids watermarks on the wafers. Throughout the process step, the wafers

Benefits from Using Advanced Fabrication Equipment

Modutek offers wet bench stations using the latest technology to improve wafer fabrication equipment and facility performance. With its advanced fully automated stations the company can improve yields by ensuring accurate processing. The software developed in house controls chemical use and precise processing of wafers. The combination of advanced robotics, dedicated software and in house expertise results in consistent, high quality output and reduced costs.

While automation drives a continuous advancement in process reliability and product quality, the elimination of the handling of wafers during transfer into the final drying chamber provides a single substantial improvement through wafer particle reduction. In recent tests only 20 particles (adders) in the 0.3 to 5 micron range were added to the etched substrate in the combined etching/drying system. This single step improvement in the fabrication process can often justify the cost of acquiring the advanced fabrication equipment that will subsequently increase facility performance and profitability.

Modutek has over 35 years of experience providing fully automated wafer fabrication equipment to the semiconductor manufacturing industry. The company has the expertise to advise customers regarding their semiconductor processing needs and can customize their equipment to meet a customer’s application requirements.

Modutek’s Wet Bench Design Process

Modutek's Wet Bench Design ProcessIn an effort to meet the highest customer expectations, Modutek has developed a wet bench design process that emphasizes collaboration with customers and dedicates the full resources of the company to identifying and satisfying customer requirements. Key features of the process are an emphasis on quality, an orientation toward partnering with the customer, a project-based account management structure and the use of the latest design tools. With this approach to wet bench equipment design, Modutek intends to ensure that the company meets the highest levels of customer satisfaction.

Design Goals

While meeting and exceeding customer expectations is the overall goal, Modutek emphasizes wet bench process results as well. A high-quality wet bench must be designed for high throughput with a long service life and a low level of downtime. High product quality requires a high level of extremely precise control. Based on these essential features, Modutek starts a conversation with the customer to identify his particular needs.

Partnership Design Program

To begin with the process, Modutek technical personnel gather all the details of their customer’s application. Specifications, data, descriptions and parameters are collected to allow Modutek to understand the customer’s business. The company can then develop the criteria for a successful design together with the customer. The business needs for wet benches, wet process tools, chemical delivery systems or custom semiconductor equipment are explored in detail. At the end of this process the requirements for a successful design are clear.

Design Tools

Once the design requirements have been identified together with the customer, Modutek uses advanced tools to help with design and modeling. Three dimensional design tools ensure precision and the accuracy of the models. Such 3-D designs are created for all wet process and chemical delivery systems, to show the positions of all components and to form the basis for a detailed design review. Once approved, the same material is used to create complete documentation, including post installation maintenance manuals. Using a single set of designs to generate all the documentation ensures that performance is always consistent, even when many units are produced.

Project Management

To execute the production as specified in the designs, Modutek focuses on managing accounts as projects. For each order, the company assigns a dedicated project manager to lead the work. He coordinates with the customer to make sure the design, engineering, manufacturing and integration remain on track. Delivery and installation at the end of the project are handled the same way. The project manager is responsible for ensuring basic technical requirements are met and the customer’s input is respected, leading to a high quality design that meets the customer’s needs.

Factors for a Successful Design Process

Four factors allow Modutek to offer a collaborative design process that gives superior results. First, the company has the experience and broad line of wet bench equipment to respond to a wide variety of customer requirements. Secondly, the company designs and builds all process, etching or cleaning components of its wafer fabrication equipment in house. Thirdly, all automation design is carried out in house, with Modutek engineers designing and writing the software. Lastly, Modutek’s SolidWorks Simulation Professional and SolidWorks Flow Simulation tools help design the system to get the end results specified. All of these factors must be in place for the successful implementation of the type of design process offered by Modutek, and the company works hard to ensure these prerequisites are retained in order to deliver the superior customer-centric service they make possible.

If you need wet bench equipment designed and built for your specific process requirements, contact Modutek at 866-803-1533 or email [email protected].

The Evolution of Semiconductor Manufacturing and Wafer Fabrication Equipment

The Evolution of Semiconductor Manufacturing and Wafer Fabrication EquipmentSemiconductor manufacturing equipment such as wafer processing systems and wet bench stations has evolved considerably over the past 15 to 20 years. The processes used have become more efficient by improving repeatability and increasing throughput while processing larger wafers and etching structures with smaller geometries and more detailed component parts. Automation of wafer fabrication equipment to run these processes have become increasingly complex and environmental considerations are now more critical. Chemical stations such as those provided by Modutek Corporation have played an important role in this evolution and continue to be on the forefront of further development and technical innovation.

Increased Productivity

A key element in the evolution of semiconductor manufacturing equipment is increasing productivity due to process improvements. The larger sizes of the substrate and the greater density of the structures to be etched have allowed an increase in yield. Throughput due to better process organization has increased efficiency. These changes have decreased costs and improved quality.

While wafer sizes have increased and the semiconductor structures created by etching have decreased in size, integrating the process elements such as chemical storage, chemical delivery, etching, cleaning and drying has been a major contributor to the evolution of wet bench stations. Modutek and other suppliers of wafer fabrication and processing systems have been able to reduce total manufacturing time and increase throughput while maintaining quality and reducing defects due to mistakes. Often several tasks can be combined and the downtime due to chemical changes can be reduced to a minimum.

Automation

The development of automation systems from Modutek and other suppliers has also played an important role. While open loop controls are still available for processes that need operator input, fully automated systems featuring reliable and accurate closed loop control help improve wet bench performance. Automation can reduce errors and allows semiconductor manufacturing systems to achieve better repeatability. Chemical dosage is always the same, timing is identical for all batches of a particular process and clearly defined process steps allow technicians to pinpoint problem areas and apply further optimization.

Environmental Factors

Environmental regulations have influenced the evolution of semiconductor manufacturing equipment by requiring companies to reduce their environmental footprint. For wet bench processing systems this means ensuring that possible chemical spills are contained and discharges of chemicals are neutralized so they don’t damage the surrounding environment.

Modutek and other companies have seized on these challenges to improve process efficiency in their process equipment by reducing chemical usage and recycling of chemicals when possible. Software allows the calculation of exact dosages and automation carries out the mixing without waste or spillage. Sensors in the chemical baths give feedback on the chemical composition or the neutralization process and ensure that the desired pH value is attained before recycling where appropriate or discharging when needed. Accurate tracking of chemicals in storage and in use lets operators reduce chemical waste to a minimum.

The Evolution Continues

Modutek and other companies specialized in semiconductor manufacturing equipment face continuing challenges to meet the demands of wafer fabrication shops that want to either achieve improvements of current processes or manufacture more densely packed components using new processes. Satisfying customer demand in this area requires that a company provide a wide spectrum of processing equipment that uses the latest technology. For wet bench processing this means offering manual, semi-automated and fully automated etching, cleaning, plating and chemical solvent stations with a wide variety of options that include custom and retrofit systems. If you are looking for reliable wet benches and wafer fabrication equipment built specifically for your business’ needs, call Modutek at 866-803-1533 or email [email protected] to discuss your specific requirements.

What to Look For In a Semiconductor Equipment Supplier

What to Look For In a Semiconductor Equipment SupplierWhen purchasing semiconductor manufacturing equipment, it is critical to identify what is important for the application. Establishing objective criteria can help select a supplier that is able to meet the needs of a particular project. Whether the purchaser is an engineer working on a manufacturing process, a facilities manager responsible for a semiconductor fab line, or a researcher looking for lab equipment, identifying the required supplier characteristics can help to ensure that the equipment will perform adequately and deliver the projected results. While the detailed requirements may be different for particular purchases, there are several overall qualities to look for before making the purchase.

  1. The supplier must be an established company with a good track record. It must be able to provide proof that it has the expertise necessary for satisfying the requirements of the project. Reference installations of similar equipment and the names of satisfied customers can establish that a supplier is competent and reputable.
  2. Before considering a company as a supplier, look for the capability to provide a range of equipment for a broad set of applications. A particular project may have special requirements and need some customization. Selecting companies that can meet special needs due to their extensive experience with customized products can help with the purchase of equipment that exactly meets the requirements of the application.
  3. An application will have specific requirements expressed in the technical specifications for the equipment to be purchased. The supplier must understand the requirements and propose equipment that meets all the specifications and is suitable for the intended use. A guarantee before purchase that specific benchmarks will be met confirms that the supplier understands your needs.
  4. It is important to purchase up-to-date technology to avoid having to operate obsolete equipment resulting in inferior performance. The supplier must offer state-of-the-art equipment and be able to demonstrate a continuous development and improvement of existing products.
  5. Maintenance and downtime can significantly increase the cost of equipment beyond the purchase price. Suppliers need to show that the equipment they propose is high quality and they must detail their expectations for maintenance costs and projected downtime based on experience from similar installations.
  6. When equipment breaks down or performance is not as expected, the supplier must have customer support and service capabilities that quickly address any problems on site. Look for details of supplier support and service personnel and evidence that a supplier has the capabilities to provide onsite service and repair.

Modutek scores high on all of the above characteristics as a qualified supplier of semiconductor manufacturing equipment. The company has been providing such equipment to industry, research facilities and university labs for over 30 years. They have a broad range of equipment and extensive experience in customization. Modutek offers the latest technology in high-quality, low maintenance systems and has onsite repair capability. Semiconductor manufacturing equipment from Modutek, including wafer fabrication equipment and wet benches, is an excellent choice for projects in the high tech industry. For more information on Modutek and its products and services, please contact Modutek toll free at 866-803-1533 or email [email protected]

Tips for Selecting the Right Wafer Fabrication Equipment for Your Application

Tips for Selecting the Right Wafer Fabrication Equipment for Your Application

Selecting the right wafer fabrication equipment for your company’s manufacturing requirements is an important decision. Whether you manufacture solar panels, semiconductors, or LED displays, it’s necessary to have a reliable wet bench station constructed by an experienced wet process equipment provider. From the military industry to the medical industry, process and facilities engineers need to consider five factors before selecting an appropriate bench.

High Quality Control Standards and Safety

Due to repeated use, wet bench stations should be both durable and safe. Modutek Corporation ensures equipment meets both conditions by minimal outsourcing of their design and manufacturing process. In addition, all stations come equipped with a chemical fume hood that efficiently expels hazardous chemicals. Testing at their facilities in San Jose, CA confirms functionality and compliance with all current safety standards.

Custom Fabrication Options

Production rates increase when wet bench stations are tailor-made according to your requirements and application. Modutek utilizes PFA, Halar, PVDF and PVC-C welding expertise to construct a station that makes meeting prototype specifications effortless. Modutek specializes in custom designs, providing numerous features for etching, plating, and cleaning. These include:

  • SolidWorks Flow Simulator software
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Teflon plumbing
  • Overhead deck lighting
  • CO2 fire suppression
  • Rear access

Wafer Size

Consider your specific applications and the wafer or substrate sizes a wet bench can handle before making a purchase. Modutek’s selection of wet bench stations process wafer sizes up to 12” and glass solar panels up to 30” x 60”.

A Full Service Vendor    

Don’t settle for off-site service and repair. Wafer fabrication equipment vendors should eliminate the issue of shipping faulty wet benches and related equipment. Fortunately, if your wet bench requires maintenance, Modutek’s specialists come to you. Receive a diagnosis and schedule a convenient repair over the phone.

A Devoted Vendor with a Wide Selection

Whether you need a fully-automated, semi-automated, or manual wet bench, you want a vendor that employs quality resources and expertise to create them all. Modutek offers all three types of stations that are customized according to your requirements.

Fully-Automated Wet Benches

Enjoy a hands-off approach with fully-automated wet process stations. These are available in any size from Modutek. Standard features include Emergency Power Off (EPO) and a one year warranty on all parts.

Semi-Automated Wet Benches 

Etch and clean with precise semi-automatic wet benches. Modutek incorporates servo motor automated robots with touch screen controls in all of their semi-automatic stations. This supplies you with three degrees of flexibility for any processing need. In-house development gives you full turnkey support and the same consistency found in advanced, fully-automated systems.

Manual Wet Benches

Use manual wet benches to reduce the price of using robotics in your clean room applications. Modutek’s standard benches include all the safety features found in automated systems and support both acid and base processes with white polypropylene construction.

Modutek’s Experience

Modutek has built and supplied custom wafer fabrication equipment for 30+ years. Certified specialists work with you from design to final installation and supply future assistance through field service repair. Email [email protected] or call 866-803-1533 for a free quote.

How Modutek’s Wafer Fabrication Equipment Provides Optimum Results

How Modutek's Wafer Fabrication Equipment Provides Optimum ResultsIn 1980, Modutek began manufacturing wet-processing and wafer fabrication equipment for the semi-conductor industry. Working with industry leaders Modutek has stayed focused to their roots by providing high-quality clean room equipment for advanced technical applications. Today, their wafer fabrication equipment and wet bench stations are used in a variety of applications from commercial to academic.

Achieving optimum results with Modutek’s Wet Processing Stations.

Modutek’s wet processing stations provide high quality and optimum results for your manufacturing process. Available in fully-automatic, semi-automatic, and manual benches. All bring unique advantages for your process requirements.

Wet Bench Manual Stations: Offered in a cost effective package, manual stations will support acid and solvent applications. This is offered with various options including a host of safety features without the need for advanced robotics.

Wet Bench Semi-Automatic Stations: Ideal for professional, academic and business applications, Modutek’s Semi-Automatic stations provide a large variety of customizations while remaining competitively priced. Our stations are ideal at continually producing uniform steps for technical work.

Wet Bench Fully-Automatic Stations: Packaged with in-house software, fully automatic robotics and top-of-the line features, Modutek’s fully-automatic stations are the most advanced option for optimal etch rates.

Built exclusively for your needs

Modutek’s wet benches can be customized to handle a host of solvents and applications. In addition to handling all solvent applications, wet benches can be adapted to the following processes:

  • KOH Etching
  • Ozone Etching
  • Ozone Cleaning
  • SC1 & SC2 featuring Megasonic Cleaning
  • Precision Part Cleaning
  • BOE (Buffered Oxide Etching)
  • SPM Cleaning
  • Plating
  • Quartz cleaning
  • Hot phosphoric (Nitride Etching)

Customized with state-of-the-art features

Modutek’s units are use in leading medical, solar, and academic labs. Their popularity is founded from their units’ ability to produce uniform results while exceeding current safety requirements. Additional features may be added to assist in achieving optimal results including:

  • FM4910 (PVC-C) material of construction
  • Rear access design
  • Third party certification for NFPA 70 & 70
  • Semi standard, CE mark and NEC certification available
  • Seismic zone 4 structural certification
  • Fan Filter Units (HEPA)
  • Lift station designed into bench
  • Dedicated drains to carboy with DOT containment
  • Overhead deck lighting
  • Light tower (3-color)
  • Counter balance safety shields

No matter your need or application Modutek’s experienced engineers and technicians will customize, build and test your unit to meet your requirements to provide optimal results. Modutek provides world-class service, set-up and customer support. Their Wet Benches and Wet Process equipment  provide high reliable results for precision processes. Contact them by calling 866-803-1533 or by email from the site.

10 Quick Tips on Selecting Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment

10 quick tipsFacilities management can be a challenging profession, particularly when it comes to purchasing semiconductor manufacturing equipment. Managers must ensure each piece of machinery is suited to the exact needs of a company, whether one is seeking wafer fabrication equipment or in search of chemical delivery systems.

Such equipment should be procured from companies offering quality customer service, the ability to upgrade, and expansive product lines featuring an array of choices. Thankfully, Modutek has what it takes to provide all of the above to clients. The following list can help those at the helm of vital industry processes choose the items that best suits their needs.

1. Insist on Thorough Instructions With All Equipment

Semiconductor manufacturing equipment requires a great deal of documentation to ensure top-performance. This includes everything from electrical schematics to information pertaining to spare parts.

Because this machinery is so complex, proper documentation is essential to functionality. Following the provided instructions will also be helpful to getting the most out of a piece of equipment. Durable machinery means a longer life-span, which makes purchases that much more cost-effective.

2. Choose a Company That Covers Many Different Applications

There are many differing needs within the field of process engineering. As a result, acquiring equipment from a company that offers a range of options is crucial. Modutek provides solutions related to numerous industry applications, including the following:

  • Ozone Process (standard clean and photo-resist strip)
  • Plating
  • Silicon Etch
  • Precision Cleaning
  • Flat Panel Display
  • Microelectromechanical Systems (MEMS)

3. Take Advantage of the Latest Technology

Modutek makes it a point to keep abreast of the latest equipment advances, which allows a seamless integration of this new technology into their trusted operational model. This includes equipment suited to a variety of industries, from military applications to industrial concerns.

4. Don’t Forget About Safety

When purchasing equipment, it’s essential that all safety measures and operational requirements be clearly defined. The right company will work diligently create a line of safe and secure products that include the appropriate features.

5. Look for a Company Offering Onsite Repair

In those instances where onsite repair is necessary, it’s important to purchase equipment from a company that offers reliable service. This includes sending technicians to specific locations to deal with technical issues if necessary.

6. Get Acquainted With a Company’s Product Line

Knowledge of a company’s product line can help simplify the selection process. For instance, Modutek offers a number of items suited to many different functions/applications. These include:

  • Wet Processing Equipment – Etching systems, vapor dryers, cleaning stations
  • Chemical Stations – Manual and automated wet benches, fume hoods
  • Process Components – Circulators, quartz baths, sub-ambient systems, tanks
  • Handling Equipment – Scrubbers, acid neutralization systems, lift stations, pump carts

7. Ensure That Tech Support Is a Top Priority

A complex piece of equipment may require additional attention, whether that entails troubleshooting, upgrades, or just customer service. It’s also a good idea to purchase products that come with a warranty, which can offer coverage in the event of a significant malfunction.

8. Make Use of Custom Fabrication

Some jobs require highly-specialized machinery. In this case, Modutek’s custom fabrication of equipment can make all the difference. Our staff can create a customized product based on the exact specifications provided. We also offer pieces with additional welding and plumbing capabilities for future additions.

9. Have a Firm Understanding of Equipment Specs

Fully comprehending equipment specifications is vital to making certain that a piece of machinery is right for the job. This is especially relevant when selecting semiconductor manufacturing equipment due to the sheer variety of items, functions and requirements.

Reading up on equipment before purchasing is greatly encouraged in this respect. It also helps to work with experts and engineers well-versed in such products. This will prevent facility managers from purchasing items that fail to meet a company’s requirements.

10.  Rely on the Expertise of an Established Company

Selecting the right equipment from an established company that has expertise and experience is essential when it involves manufacturing tasks integral to process engineering. Modutek has been providing semiconductor manufacturing equipment, wet benches and related wafer fabrication equipment to meet the needs of customers in the high tech industry for over 30 years. For more information on all the products and services Modutek can provide for your company, please contact us toll free at 866-803-1533 or email [email protected].

Choose Modutek’s Quartz Baths When Safety and Reliability Are a Must

Choose Modutek's Quartz Baths When Safety and Reliability Are a MustThe Quartz Baths designed and manufactured by Modutek Corporation are safe and reliable as well as being cost-effective so it can be integrated into your current production system. With over 30 years of experience developing and evolving the bath designs, they are seen in the industry as the quality standard of quartz baths.

Pure quartz is nearly inert and will not react with most other substances. It is for this reason quartz is the perfect choice for semiconductor processes. Not only is it non-reactive, it is also stable at relatively high temperatures. It has a Mohs hardness of 7 and lacks cleavage which enables it to handle most demanding applications.

Modutek offers different Quartz Bath Products to meet your processing needs:

The QFa Series Quartz Baths provide the following benefits:

  • Fast heating that is more even than other manufacturers
  • A nested, 4-sided heating element that heats to 360 degrees Fahrenheit with a serrated overflow barrier
  • A seamless, sloped flange design
  • Minimizes damages which could result from runaway temperatures
  • Dual safety snap switch
  • Improved up-time and reliability because of the longer vessel life
  • Easier laminar flow while it reduces particulate contamination

It can be used with a variety of chemicals including H2SO4, H202, SC1 and other chemicals. It has an operating range of 30 º – 180 ºC. The operating temperature range can be controlled in ± 1 ºC (depends on controller and process). The operating temperature range has a heat-up rate of 2 º C per minute. (This rate will be affected by the size of the system, the fluid being used and other factors.) It can be used for cleaning, etching and stripping and has a ¾” male Flaretek circulating fluid inlet/outlet.

Options include a liquid level sensor, process temperature controller, custom vessel sizes to meet your specifications, quartz diffuser plate and autolid.

The Qa Series Quartz Bath is a constant temperature quartz bath. It has redundant safety devices, seamless, sloped flange design and a bonded, 5-sided circuit heating element. Benefits include improved process yield by faster, more efficient, and even heating. It minimizes the potential damage caused by runaway temperatures. It also increases uptime and reliability because of longer vessel life.

The options available for the Qa Series Quartz Baths include having a magnetic stirrer, a gravity drain, an aspirator (dilution) valve system, remote operation timer switches, quartz bubbler, and process controller.

Both Series Quartz Baths come in a variety of sizes. If you would like to learn more about the Modutek Corporation Quartz Bath models or want a quote, you may reach us at 866-803-1533.