New back-end automation system to spur cleanroom advances
The semiconductor industry`s first factory-wide, back-end auto mation system could have a far-reaching impact on cleanroom manufacturing, according to its developers, PRI Automation, Inc. and Kulicke & Soffa Industries.
The two global suppliers recently announced plans to integrate PRI`s AeroTrak overhead monorail network with K&S systems to fully automate the back-end processes at an Amkor P3 factory in Manila. Using the plastic ball grid array (PBGA) as a test vehicle, the pilot line will provide fully automated material transport from wafer preparation to mold.
Officials say this technology will make assembly and packaging pro cesses more efficient, helping users to enhance overall productivity and profit. The residual benefits to their cleanroom environments are also multidimensional.
Mitchell Weiss, vice president of strategy/technology at PRI, says turnkey automation ultimately results in a cleaner manufacturing environment. “The largest contributor of dirt in cleanrooms is people. Tools are a lot cleaner than the folks in the bunny suits.”
Weiss also sees full factory automation changing the design of future cleanrooms.
“Cleanrooms are built on a human scale,” he says. “When you automate, you build on a smaller scale. Less square footage means less air exchanges, less lighting, less energy usage. If you can use tools to transport in smaller spaces, you can control (your processes) more effectively. — tgw