PRI Wins FPD System Contract
San Jose, CA—The U.S. Display Consortium (USDC) awarded a contract to PRI Automation (Billerica, MA), to develop an automated storage and retrieval system for work-in-process for flat panel display (FPD) manufacturers. USDC will fund $820,000 of the $1.6 million total cost of the project. PRI, a supplier of factory automation systems to semiconductor manufacturers and the flat panel display industry, will combine robotics technology with materials handling software to automate IC manufacturing processes. The FPD stocker system to be developed for the USDC will store work-in-process cassettes or pods vertically in units up to 12 ft high. According to the USDC, the system will more efficiently utilize cleanroom space than the manual, waist-high carts and storage racks currently used by FPD manufacturers. Each stocker, designed to operate in a Class 10 cleanroom environment, will feature a high-lift capacity robot to store and retrieve cassettes under host or operator control. PRI`s stockers will accommodate all standard cassette and pod sizes being developed under other USDC contracts, including the next-generation 600 ¥ 720-mm. glass size. They will be compatible with Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), Manual Guided Vehicles (MGVs) and host communications software specified by the USDC material handling project team. This is the second such project in which the USDC has partnered with PRI, which is also a member of the Flat Panel Display Division of SEMI. The initial award was for development of a standard laser marking and tracking system for FPD glass substrates.