Semiconductor 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.
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.
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 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.