ClassOne Technology’s Solstice S4 wins Best of West

The ClassOne Technology Solstice S4 won the Best of West award, presented by Solid State Technology and SEMI. The award was presented to Byron Exarcos, president of ClassOne, at the company’s booth in the North Hall on Wednesday afternoon.

Byron Exarcos, president of ClassOne Technology; Karen Salava, president of SEMI Americas; and Pete Singer, Editor-in-Chief of Solid State Technolgy

Byron Exarcos, president of ClassOne Technology; Karen Salava, president of SEMI Americas; and Pete Singer, Editor-in-Chief of Solid State Technolgy

Solstice S4 is the first automated plating tool that delivers advanced performance on smaller substrates at affordable prices. Described as “advanced plating for the rest of us,” Solstice is designed specifically for the smaller-substrate users in emerging technologies such as MEMs, LEDs, Power Devices, RF Communications, Interposers, Photonics and Microfluidics. Solstice sets new standards for plating performance and affordability.

“There’s a convergence of forces for the different trends that we all see in the market, and right now, it’s the internet of things, it’s the More than Moore, and it’s the flexibility of the manufacturers to achieve all these things,” said Kevin Witt, chief technology officer at ClassOne Technology, after the award presention. “We’ve felt that we had a product that reflected a lot of what those requirements were.”

Witt said there’s a lot of work being done at the cutting edge of 300mm, as well it should. “But there’s an equally important 200mm and below surge. Those folks need equipment. What they can buy now is from the ‘90s,” he said.

Until now, with the Solstice. “The people that are building the 200mm and below fabs need the modern capability of wafer level packaging and interfacing for chip stacking. They need something that fits their budget profile, that is not a 300mm tool that has been repurposed for 200mm,” he said.

Witt concluded: “We went for best of show in the hopes that the world would see that there are companies that are focused on meeting the needs of the smaller level producers that are the next growth area.”

Designed for high-performance, cost-efficient ≤200mm electroplating, Solstice systems are priced at less than half of what similarly configured plating tools from the larger manufacturers would cost — which is why Solstice has been described as delivering “Advanced Plating for the Rest of Us.” Solstice can electroplate many different metals and alloys in a spectrum of processes, on transparent or opaque substrates. ClassOne now offers three Solstice models: the LT for plating process development, the S4 for mid-volume production, and the S8 for high-volume, cassette-to-cassette production, with throughput of up to 75 wph.

Earlier this week, at SEMICON West, ClassOne Technology announced a configuration for optimizing Through Silicon Via (TSV) and Through Wafer Via (TWV) processes on its Solstice® electroplating systems. The Solstice family, introduced last year, is designed to provide advanced yet cost-efficient plating for MEMS, Sensors, RF, Interposers and other emerging technologies for ≤200mm wafers. Flexibly configurable, the Solstice for TSV/TWV combines chambers for the critical blind via pre-wet operation with advanced copper plating on the robust and reliable automation frame that is the heart of the Solstice.

“In recent months customer requests for TWV, whether alone or in combination with forming redistribution layers (RDL), have skyrocketed,” said Witt. “Many of our smaller-wafer customers seek the advantages of 2.5 and 3D packaging needed for their next generation products; and cost-effective TSV or TWV processing is mission critical. The new Solstice configuration addresses their needs effectively and elegantly with a plating tool that is affordably priced for 200mm and smaller substrates.”

Witt explained that the new Solstice TSV configuration, which has already been sold to customers, employs a unique, high-efficiency but simple vacuum pre-wet chamber followed by copper via electroplating. This combination of capabilities enables the ClassOne tool to routinely produce fully-filled or lined vias with widths ranging from 5 to 250 micron having aspect ratios as high as 9:1. Traditionally, this level of performance has been challenging even for plating systems costing twice as much as Solstice. The Solstice can also be configured to perform additional downstream processing such as resist strip and seed layer etch making it a cluster tool that delivers a suite of critical processes, reducing cycle time and saving money. This technology makes it possible to process TSV alone or TSV and redistribution layers simultaneously to provide a complete solution on a single tool.

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