Wafer Carriers


Compiled by Steve Smith

From robotic arms to FOUPs and tweezers, semiconductor automation processes are more than just individual wafer-handling components—they're even becoming a unified wafer management solution. Here are a few of the latest devices to help you get the job done smoothly, efficiently, and cleanly.

Full-pitch FOSB

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The front-opening shipping box (FOSB) is designed to protect 300-mm silicon wafers during shipping. It also protects wafers from particles, molecular contamination, shock and vibration—all of which can occur during the shipping process. The FOSB is designed to ensure accurate wafer placement and also enables what the company claims is reliable equipment interoperability. Entegris Chaska, MN

300-mm wafer sorter

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The Spartan Integrated Sorter, designed as a unified wafer management solution for 300-mm processes, moves wafers cleanly and quickly. According to the company, the Spartan delivers industry-leading cleanliness and the lowest particle levels when compared to competitive sorters. The all-in-one solution, according to the manufacturer, contrasts with traditional sorters that require integrating multiple off-the-shelf components (such as loadports, robots, mini-environments, and control software). Available in multiple configurations to meet specific chip manufacturing requirements, the Spartan features an optimized mini-environment with better than Class 1 cleanroom performance. It also incorporates dual, ultra-thin edge-grip wafer handling for "fast swap" wafer exchanges or movement of two wafers simultaneously. Asyst Technologies Fremont, CA

Wafer transfer cart

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Wafer cassette transport carts are designed to optimize maneuverability in restricted-space critical environments. Built for Class 1 to Class 10 cleanrooms, the carts are designed to offer cost savings and improved efficiencies over comparable carts that are heavier and bulkier. A specially-designed shelf, says the manufacturer, holds wafers securely and provides outstanding laminar flow. Shelf height is 40 inches from the floor, with an adjustable-height push handle included for improved ergonomics. Softie-style plate casters are included to provide vibration dampening without black rubber/tread associated with traditional pneumatic casters. A variety of configurations and sizes are available. Eagle MHC Clayton, DE

Automated wafer carrier inspection system

Designed to characterize cassettes and FOUPs to enhance yield, the CV Series of automated wafer carrier inspection systems provide measurements of critical dimensions to ensure that all carriers/FOUPs meet specified tolerance levels. According to the manufacturer, non-contact inspection provides the most accurate and repeatable wafer position measurements, while a touch probe accurately measures non-visual FOUP features. The Series features 100 percent automated inspection; inspection for most SEMI-standard dimensions; an intuitive Windows-based interface; adaptability to various process specifications; Class 10 cleanroom compatibility; and what the manufacturer claims are unmatched accuracy levels, including 0.0025-mm on direct measurement points and 0.0762-mm on rear wafer position (rigid wafer). August Technology Bloomington, MN

Wafer-handling tweezers

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A line of wafer-handling tweezers feature a specially sharpened blade that eases pick-up, while a special engaging stop is designed to prevent chipping of silicon and gallium wafers. The tweezers are made of a steel-extruded alloy with 40 percent cobalt for hardness and longevity. Styles include bent-handle, lip-type blade, hard-Teflon tip, wire-type maximum opening stop (MOS), and pin-type MOS. The non-corrosive, non-magnetic tools are available with 3, 4 6 and 8 teeth (the latter designed especially for 300-mm wafers). Terra Universal Anaheim, CA