Edwards, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of integrated vacuum and abatement solutions, launched a new Thermal Management System (TMS) at SEMICON Europa today. The new Smart TMS adds feedback control to accurately maintain gas temperature in vacuum pump fore lines and exhaust lines. Unheated lines can be clogged by condensed process materials and by-products. The Smart TMS reduces downtime and risks to service personnel tasked with cleaning out these often hazardous materials. The Smart TMS also improves energy efficiency and functionality with programmable remote controllers that interface readily to fab control software.
“We have worked extensively with our customers to improve their process productivity, as well as their fab safety,” states Ralph Loske, Business Line Manager, Semi & DSL for Edwards. “One of the major perceived risks associated with condensation is blockage of the exhaust pipe and a consequent process interruption. However, there are also other serious hazards that may result from condensed materials in exhaust pipes. For example, an exhaust fire can occur when partly reacted silicon compounds condense in exhaust pipes during a deposition process, and are subsequently exposed to fluorine during a chamber-cleaning process.”
To counter the condensation threat and improve system safety and productivity, the Smart TMS system controls gas temperatures between the pump exhaust port and the abatement inlet. It includes temperature monitoring within the heating elements, enabling feedback control to accurately maintain exhaust temperature at a specified set-point.
Ralph adds, “Our global applications group is able to holistically look at each customer’s system to customize the right solution for their specific application requirements. The Smart TMS solution is also valuable to manufacturers of flat panel displays (FPD) and solar cells, who use similar processes, including: chemical vapor deposition (CVD), epitaxy, oxide etch and poly etch, which have the potential for condensation and deposition in the exhaust lines.”