Precise process control and the elimination of particle contamination have become more important as the microscopic structures etched on silicon wafers have also become more intricate and densely packed. The accuracy of chemical dosages and the timing of the steps must be consistent and handling of wafers must be kept to a minimum. For this reason, fully automated wafer fabrication equipment is used to ensure that such conditions for the production of semiconductor components are achieved.
There is manual and semi-automatic wafer processing equipment which rely on operators to mix chemicals and transfer wafers. However, errors and inconsistencies in execution can result in defective or low-quality products and production downtime and reduced throughput. Productivity also suffers. The semiconductor manufacturing facility’s general operations will become less efficient and less profitable.
Software is the key to automation. When software is used to control the wafer fabrication equipment, it eliminates the variability found in manual operation and inconsistent documentation. Using software to run fully automated stations can provide the following benefits:
- It ensures and maintains exact chemical ratios with each batch
- Precise and repeatable process steps
- Process variables can be easily optimized by programming small changes in the software
- Accurate chemical dosages result in reduced waste and lowered chemical use
- Chemical neutralization and disposal are reliable and easily documented
- Worker safety is enhanced as operators are less exposed to toxic chemicals
The benefits listed above come from programming automatic controls which manage the cleaning and etching of the silicon wafers. The software will calculate how much of each chemical is needed for a particular process step. It controls the adding of the chemicals to the process tank, times the process step, drains the chemicals and neutralizes all the waste chemicals. Once the variables in the software are optimized, the software will run the optimized process the same way every time. This allows the results to be predictable and consistent.
The complete article “How Fully Automated Wafer Fabrication Equipment Improves Process Control” provides more details. Contact Modutek at 866-803-1533 or email at Modutek@modutek.com more information or would like a free consultation to discuss your specific requirements.