Gigaphoton Inc., a manufacturer of light sources used in semiconductor lithography, announced its intention to draw up a new roadmap with the aim of improving the availability of the equipment, and also to respond to the needs of the semiconductor chip manufacturers who are being confronted with increasingly high demands.
Gigaphoton recently drew up a roadmap titled “RAM Enhancement” to enhance the Reliability, Availability, and Maintainability of the Excimer laser, a DUV light source. The company has already started off on overcoming the “99.8%-availability” barrier by 2020, which is the threshold limit value in the industry.
The availability of lithography tools is a key parameter which has a major impact on manufacturing IC chips. In line with this, maximizing the availability requires “long-term stable operation” and “minimized maintenance time.” To achieve both of the above, Gigaphoton is now striving to extend module lifetime and improve on-site unit serviceability that the company’s field engineers provide to customers, aiming at maintenance with the minimum number of machine stops.
To achieve “long-term stable operation,” the company is now increasing each lifetime of major modules such as the chamber (AMP CH), the line narrow module (LNM), and the monitor module (MM) up to 120 Bpls. As for “minimized maintenance time,” new software which automatically calculates expected unit lifetime and the right time for maintenance is ready to be introduced.
With these efforts, the company are now in the course of reducing the required number of maintenance down to only once per year as well as the mean time between module replacement down to half the conventional hours, and also overcoming the barrier of 99.8%-availability on every customer site by 2020. (This is on the assumption that memory chip makers use 60Bpls/year.)
Katsumi Uranaka, President & CEO of Gigaphoton commented, “Along with the increasing demand for semiconductor chips in recent years, the availability of semiconductor manufacturing equipment is becoming increasingly important. The ‘RAM Enhancement’ roadmap which we are promoting was formulated in order to meet these customer needs. From now on as well, Gigaphoton will continue to provide the optimum solutions, while taking into consideration the demands of our customers and also the market trends. ”