Wafer Handlers

Compiled by Steve Smith

Whether it's a jerky robotic arm that glides wafers precisely into stackers, or a front-opening unified pod (FOUP) jetting along an overhead rail system in a cleanroom, wafer-handling technology is pushing the automation envelope. Here is a look at some of the latest innovations in wafer-handling products. For more information on wafer handlers, check out the CleanRooms' Master Source Guide.

Enhanced load port

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The Fixload 6M is an enhanced update of Brooks Automation's 300-mm load port product line, and offers a wide choice of plug-and-play options designed for greater flexibility. An optional single-connector interface provides command control of E84 devices, carrier ID systems, and the manufacturer's cassette mapping option. The device's “self-discovery” feature enables it to automatically detect connections as soon as it is booted up.
Chelmsford, Mass.

SMIF pod series

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The newest wafer and reticle carrier (WRC) offerings from Entegris include a selection of SMIF pods designed to protect, store and transport lithography reticles. The RSP150 series features an advanced reticle isolation system designed to protect the reticle, stop movement, and eliminate particle generation. The SRP-150SD features 150-mm reticle size with 150-mm SMIF interface, automation compatibility, secure reticle retention, and multiple ESD paths to ground. The RSP-200 is designed to provide high-reliability handling of 150-mm or 230-mm masks and reticles, with or without pellicles. It features a 200-mm SMIF interface and is designed to minimize UV light.
Chaska, Minn.

Fully-automated wafer handler

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For SHEMA-compatible screen/stencil printers, the fully automated Adept WLM wafer-handling solution supports wafer sizes up to 300 mm, including thinned wafers. It was initially designed for bump and semiconductor ball placement applications. Options include up to two FOUPs for 300-mm wafers (WLM 2300), up to six open cassettes for 200-mm wafers (WLM 6200) or for 150-mm wafers (WLM 6150), robot-mounted through-beam wafer mapper, optical character recognition for wafer ID, and clean air mini-environments.
San Jose, Calif.

Mask transport box

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Transport boxes are suitable for all 6-inch masks, reticles and blanks as defined in SEMI standard P1-92. The lightweight, stainless steel boxes feature a carrier for automated handling, an open structure, and are designed for automated load/unload.
ACR Automation in Cleanroom GmbH
Niedereschach, Germany

Atmospheric robot

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The Axys Direct is an atmpospheric, dual end-effector robot that its manufacturer says is designed to improve equipment efficiency by offering faster and more reliable wafer-swap operation than comparable devices. The 5-axis robot replaces a processed wafer with a fresh one in less than four seconds. It features direct-drive motors for all motion axes, and an advanced control capability to boost speed and repeatability levels. An edge-grip, end-effector design minimizes wafer stress and contamination, while optical thru-beam sensing enhances maximum wafer security.
Fremont, Calif.

FOUP for One

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The Front-Opening Unified Pod for One is an advanced SWIF pod technology for 300-mm semiconductor facilities. The single-wafer capacity FOUP offers all standard features specified by the FOUP SEMI standards. It is designed to be compatible with regular tool interfaces used to transfer wafers from the 25-wafer capacity FOUP, and is used to store and transport single wafers to and from wafer processing and metrology tools in the front-end fab and back-end probe areas. The device supports FOUP.ID tags, is compatible with FOUP stockers, and works with SEMI standard E103 tools.
Grenoble, France


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