by Ed Korczynski, Senior Technical Editor
BlueShift Technologies, the startup led by former Brooks Automation execs that decloaked from stealth-mode a year ago with support from Intel’s VC arm, is now confidently touting its business model combining modular hardware and software, with a handful of shipments now to show for its efforts.
Besides claiming throughput and cost advantages for certain applications, the company’s QuickLink linear vacuum handling systems are modular for rapid delivery. For example, the vacuum robot has four major sub-assemblies and approximately 20 parts total, so it can be assembled in 30 minutes. “You don’t have to engineer to build your system, you configure,” said Marty Petraitis, VP of sales and marketing. The result is 4-week lead times.
The software architecture is likewise modular in terms of I/O, memory management, and threading, so customers can configure custom handling in <30 minutes. Modules can be configured with integrated metrology and in-situ particle-removal -- an example of the latter is "nanodroplet" kinetic cleaning technology from EHD, which was shown on the floor at this year's SEMICON West.
Smaller original equipment manufacturers (OEM) can gain much faster time-to-market for their vacuum-based thin-film PVD, CVD, and etch chambers by using BlueShift for the vacuum robotics, the company claims. “We’ve been able to get these guys into their first alpha- and beta-tools within three months,” informed Petraitis.
The first customer is an OEM, and three linear modular vacuum systems have been shipped since May of this year with a fourth to be shipped by end of August, all going into multiple DRAM fabs of one Korean IDM, Petraitis told WaferNEWS. In principle, an IDM could choose BlueShift as the backbone of a multi-station system using different process chambers from different OEMs.