“Three R’s” at TEL drive environmental impact

by Debra Vogler, senior technical editor, Solid State Technology

May 20, 2008 – Kevin Chasey, VP at Tokyo Electron America, described the company’s key environment initiatives at the ConFab event: an equipment energy reduction target after 2010 of 0.35/cm2; measures that address ingredients/materials impacted by RoHS requirements in Europe; and a reduction and recycling of processing gases and chemicals.

The overriding objective of the company’s efforts is to reduce the total environmental impact on new customer fabs that will be established in 2015 to 50% of the existing fabs (2007 baseline). TEL president/COO Kiyoshi Sato “has challenged each of the factories to approach tool design and re-design from an ecological standpoint,” Chasey told SST.

Key to reducing environmental impact is to consider what Chasey called the “Three R’s” throughout the equipment life cycle (see Table): reduce, reuse, and recycle.

The “3Rs” through the equipment life cycle. (Source: TEL)

Among the steps being taken by TEL is a reduction in the number of parts used in its tools, which also cuts down the weight. The activities listed above also enable the optimization of peripheral equipment as well as optimization of abatement loads, air conditioning loads, and cleanliness, and favorably impact fab design.

As an example of how TEL plans to apply the above tenets going forward, Chasey presented a chart (see Figure) showing the company’s CoO reduction plans for its Lithius Pro tool. All actions taken together by 2011 would result in a 20% reduction in chemicals used for that toolset, but Chasey told SST that the actions should be looked at as a whole, resulting in an even greater carbon footprint reduction than just a reduction in chemicals.

Lithius Pro CoO reduction roadmap. (Source: TEL)

Further emphasizing the company’s holistic approach to reducing its environmental impact, Chasey said the company intends to measure the results of its environmental activities by such metrics as carbon footprint estimations, LEED (and similar organizations) building design certifications, regional environmental registration and reporting, “green” rankings from independent agencies, and of course, money that is saved. Recently, TEL improved its ranking on the Nikkei Environmental Management system by 36 points, going from 76 in 2006 to 46 in 2007. — D.V.


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