Why Preventative Maintenance of Wet Bench Equipment is Important

Preventative maintenance of wet bench equipment is necessary and even vital to manufacturers since it helps avoid costly and unexpected downtime due to equipment failure or qualify issues. Wet bench equipment and components are complex and are usually used in a demanding environment. Calibration, cleaning, and replacement of worn-out parts must be performed regularly to maintain facility performance and maintain or improve output quality.

Wet bench stations operate with harsh and corrosive chemicals, and there are also other variables (like temperature) which are also critical for a successful production line. Some parts must be changed, cleaned or serviced regularly while others need to be inspected regularly to determine if any action is required. Scheduling preventive maintenance that limits the downtime for the production line to a minimum while ensuring that all preventive measures are carried out can sometimes become challenging.

The semiconductor manufacturing equipment supplier should specify what preventive maintenance measures are required and which ones are recommendations. Some tasks may be done by the manufacturer’s personnel, however, others will require specialists from the supplier. For some lines, production steps are sequential so a specific component may be temporarily at rest for a given time while preventive maintenance is done on that component.

Coordinating with a supplier (who knows about the installation and can handle all preventive maintenance tasks) will help in developing a preventive maintenance program. A supplier can help the semiconductor manufacturer develop and adopt a convenient schedule for a wet bench equipment maintenance program.

Modutek offers this type of maintenance program as part of their customer support. The company has in-house expertise based on almost 40 years of experience in the wet bench processing technology field.  Scheduling and implementing a preventive wet bench maintenance program while keeping disruptions to production at a minimum requires using that experienced personnel that Modutek provides.

The complete article, “Why Preventative Maintenance of Wet Bench Equipment Is Important,” explains further about the importance of maintaining wet bench equipment you may have. Call Modutek at 866-803-1533 for a free consultation to discuss your wet bench equipment needs.

New SPM Process Provides 75% Improvement in Chemical Savings

Modutek has recently implemented the new SPM process and the company now has benchmark results from real process applications which show a significant improvement in chemical savings. The new SPM process requires the use of Modutek’s custom designed SPM process wet bench. Modutek designs and assembles wet benches and semiconductor manufacturing equipment at their facility in San Jose, California and provides systems that exactly meet their customers’ requirements.

Usually, the SPM mixture deteriorates as hydrogen peroxide turns to water and dilutes the concentration. The SPM mixture must be completely replaced at least every eight hours. This results in downtime during new mixture pour, replacement of the chemicals as well as neutralizing and disposal of the corrosive mixture in an environmentally safe way – and all these costs a lot. The SPM clean process is proven to provide results.

Modutek’s “Bleed and Feed” system is designed to maintain the SPM mixture concentration automatically over extended periods. In this system, there is a “clean” tank and a “dirty” tank. A programmable amount of mixture goes out of the dirty tank, and another programmable mixture is automatically transferred from the clean tank to the dirty tank. To make up for that, an appropriate amount of sulfuric acid is added, and both tanks have hydrogen peroxide to restore and maintain the concentration.

One of Modutek’s customers that have used their semiconductor manufacturing equipment now has real life results from using the “Bleed and Feed” SPM process improvements. The results show remarkable improvements that include the reduction in volume of the following: sulfuric acid use, acid neutralizer use and chemical disposal volume. Costs in acid re-agent use are also significantly reduced. System drains are now cut down from three times a day to once a week. Downtime is not needed to drain and re-pour the mixture, and throughput is also increased. Safety is now improved due to reduced operater interaction with dangerous chemicals.

You can learn more about the new SPM Process by reading the complete article titled “New SPM Process Provides 75% Improvement in Chemical Savings.” Modutek is available to answer questions or provide a free consultation. You may reach them by calling 866-803-1533 or email modutek@modutek.com.

Advancements in Wafer Fabrication Equipment Improve Semiconductor Manufacturing

The improvements in wafer fabrication equipment have kept up with the growing industry demands in high precision wafer fabrication. Precision is required to ensure adequate output quality and a low component rejection rate.

Automation has become the norm since it requires minimal manual handling. More so, it is needed to meet stringent requirements which allow fabrication shops to boost their productivity, minimize errors, reduce waste, and prevent additional costs.

Modutek offers fully automated wafer fabrication equipment which provides fully automated control of the wafer fabrication process. It has integrated software such as Modutek’s SolidWorks Flow Simulation and SolidWorks Simulation Professional which allow operators to calculate process variables and track chemical usage. Once the process is programmed, the advanced robotics will execute the process steps without intervention or monitoring from the human user. This results in a consistent process environment, increased throughput and increased output quality.

Both the software and the robotics have significantly improved process control, reliability and efficiency. Since a lot of semiconductor suppliers have their own requirements for different kinds of wafer manufacturing, Modutek designs the equipment, assembly and testing, and even the software, to match these specific customer requirements.

The last etch process involves etching the silicon wafer to remove the silicon oxide layer and then drying the cleaned wafer in a drying chamber. At this stage, any contamination can negatively affect later processes and will result to semiconductor components of inferior or defective quality. Modutek’s newest product introduces the combination of the last etch (HF) and IPA drying chamber to prevent handling the silicon wafer and thus reduce its chances of contamination.

Read the complete article titled “Advancements in Wafer Fabrication Equipment Improve Semiconductor Manufacturing” to learn more about Modutek’s advancements. If you would like to discuss your particular needs, would like to schedule a free consultation, or have questions, call Modutek at 866-803-1533 or send an email to Modutek@modutek.com.

Custom Fabrication Services for Unique Wafer Processing Requirements

Research labs and semiconductor manufacturing facilities often have special requirements for certain projects or prototypes that may need custom equipment to support their manufacturing procedures.

Semiconductor manufacturing facilities may need customized tanks, carriers or chemical stations to manufacture a particular product or may need to change existing equipment based on external changes or new requirements.

When new products are developed, single items are manufactured, or prototypes are done for testing, existing wafer processing equipment being used may not be suitable for the job. There are many factors: changing suppliers and/or environment and safety regulations imposing additional requirements or changing existing ones. In such cases, retrofitting the equipment, adding new components or changing parts or any other customization may be the best and most cost-effective solution to meet the current requirements.

On the other hand – other semiconductor manufacturers want to customize their existing equipment to let themselves adapt their production lines to current requirements, to speed up production and to increase throughput.

Fortunately, Modutek can provide expertise and experience to manufacturers when customized solutions are needed to support their unique wafer processing equipment requirements.

With over 35 years of experience supporting the needs of the semiconductor manufacturers and research facilities, Modutek specializes in custom design and development. They offer a wide range of customizations that include retrofitting equipment, upgrading stations, improving chemical delivery systems, etc., to meet client specifications, safety standards and environmental regulations. By using their expertise and experience to design and build customized equipment, Modutek’s engineers know exactly what works best and how existing equipment can be modified to meet any specialized requirements.

If you have questions, or would like a free estimate, after reading our full article “Custom Fabrication Services for Unique Wafer Processing Equipment,” please feel free to call Modutek at 866-803-1533 or send an email to Modutek@modutek.com.




Single Wafer Processing Spurs Demand for Wafer Cleaning Equipment

Wafer cleaning equipment suppliers regularly invest heavily in research and development in order to stay abreast of the ever-changing market trends. It also helps them meet the high demands of certain industries such as semiconductors, printed electronics, and single wafer processing.

More and more operators are jumping into the semiconductor equipment industry. Thus, the trend fuels the high demand for wafer cleaning equipment.

Single wafer processing is one of the factors that drive the global wafer cleaning equipment market’s continuous growth. Single wafer processing uses ozonized wafer and hydrofluoric acid in a single spin technology to reduce cycle times and boost output flexibility.

Single wafer cleaning equipment becomes competitive but only when the cycle times for individual wafers are low and the quality of the output can be comparable to wet batch processing. It can be used to etch silicon and provide a wet process for mini-fab single wafer cleaning. This process is often done together with megasonic cleaning because it helps in removing the tiniest particles and impurities, resulting in low particle count for the finished substrate.

Some single wafer processes are attractive because their deliver better results than the use of traditional process. The use of megasonic cleaning in particular reduces particle counts for even the smallest particles. The cleaning method uses megasonic sound waves in the cleaning solution which generate cavitation bubbles. These bubbles can remove the very small particles from the substrate surface. This type of cleaning is better than the traditional methods as it uses no harsh chemicals and reduces particle counts.

As semiconductor equipment manufacturers embrace single-wafer processing, the demand for single wafer cleaning equipment will increase significantly.

For more information read the complete article “Single Wafer Processing Spurs Demand for Wafer Cleaning Equipment”. If you would like a free estimate or have questions, contact Modutek by email to Modutek@modutek.com or by calling 866-803-1533.

Advantages of HF-Last Etching and IPA Drying in One Chamber

After cleaning, a silicon wafer needs to be effectively cleaned and dried with no particle contamination. Clean wafers are important to avoid errors in the next processing steps to produce devices that are of superior quality and free from defects. Using the single chamber HF-last and IPA vapor dryer show a considerable reduction in wafer substrate particle counts.

By the final stage of silicon wafer cleaning, the silicon oxide layer has to be removed and the cleaned wafer dried free from contaminants. However, transferring the wafers from the HF etching process to a separate drying chamber will likely cause the wafers to pick up particles.

Modutek now has a solution to this problem: the single-chamber HF-last and IPA vapor dryer, which can help to significantly reduce the particle count on wafer substrates.

In the single chamber process, Modutek uses IPA vapor drying in a free-standing unit with one DI water rinsing and drying. This method, also called the Marangoni drying technique, results in clean wafer substrates — having no contamination or watermarks.

Modutek has modified the IPA vapor dryer to include HF (hydrofluoric) acid injection before the start of the standard IPA vapor drying process. The HF acid injection ratio is controlled and provides an etch to bare silicon. When the silicon is etched, it is then rinsed to a controlled pH level. Once the appropriate pH levels are reached, it is then followed by the IPA drying process without moving the silicon wafers. This results in the low particle count on the wafer.

Initial field results from the single chamber HF-Last IPA dyer that Modutek has supplied to customers are showing outstanding results. Within the 0.3 to 5 micron range, fewer than 20 particles (adders) were added to etched substrates which are substantially below what was achieved in previous processes in this field trail.

For more details read the complete article “Advantages of HF-Last Etching and IPA Drying in One Chamber” to learn more about Modutek’s IPA vapor dryers. Call Modtuek at 866-803-1533 or send an email to Modutek@modutek.com if you have questions or would like to get a free consultation.

Improving Process Control with Fully Automated Wafer Fabrication Equipment

An increasing number of wafer fabrication applications require tight process control. Accurate chemical dosage and precise process timing become critical for a high-quality output.

Manual and semi-automated controls are susceptible to human error and a variation in how process steps are carried out. These processes can be improved with the use of fully-automated wet benches and chemical stations which help with consistent execution.

The combination of fully automated wafer fabrication process and software ensures better repeatability, minimized waste and improved production line performance.

Modutek designs and manufacturers their fully automated wafer fabrication equipment in-house to ensure the highest quality standards are met. In addition, Modutek has developed their own SolidWorks Simulation Professional and SolidWorks Flow Simulation software, which will provide a consistent automated process and ensure correct dosages. The software can also perform simulations and track chemical use.

Modutek offers standard wet bench chemical stations or customized equipment to meet the customers’ exact standards and specific application. They can handle both solvent and acid applications, and the equipment can process sizes up to 30 inches by 60 inches.

There are a number of benefits in using fully automated wafer fabrication equipment. The process is set up and can be run repeatedly with minimal monitoring. It also allows for improved process control and accurate chemical dosage, precise timing of process steps, exact replication of the process sequence, and full neutralization of chemical waste. A fully automated process also reduces the use of chemicals. Process output remains consistent, the number of defective results is low, and production line and productivity are improved.

Read the entire article “Improving Process Control with Fully Automated Wafer Fabrication Equipment” and then call Modutek at 866-803-1533 to get a free consultation. You may also send an email to Modutek@modutek.com with any questions you may have.