Semiconductor Photoresist, And Cleaning Process Tools

Lowering the Cost of Ownership (COO) of Spin Process Tools

In the whitepaper “The Outlook for the Semiconductor In- dustry,” we discussed the need to lower the COO of the tools of production for those who are both designing and building their chips. The issue that we attempt to address here is how does one make that happen and at the same time im- prove functionality permitting the customer to do things that perhaps his competitor is not even aware of as a problem.

The aspects ( solid dots below ) and the responses ( open dots below) to COO issues are:

The cost of the Bill of Materials (BOM) of the tool.

  • Employee identical hardware throughout the product line to improve economy of scale.
  • Minimize non-productive hardware, sensors and inter-connect complexity.
  • Do not compromise on component quality, minimize the number of components.

Minimize tool Footprint

  • Stack processes where it makes sense to do so
  • Integrate wafer handling and processes to eliminate wasted space

Maximize Reliability (note the very same responses to minimizing BOM costs improve reliability a clear Win-Win.

  • Employee identical hardware throughout the product line to improve economy of scale. (Enables testing and long term improvement)
  • Minimize non-productive hardware, sensors and in-terconnect complexity. (components that are not there cannot fail)
  • Do not compromise on component quality, minimize the number of components. (The highest quality com-ponents fail less frequently)

Minimize consumption of materials cost. (Things like photo resist, solvents, gases, etc.)

  • Improve tool functionality while lowering BOM cost
  • Creatively work with customers to take advantage of improved tool functionality.
  • Use software to improve functionality as well as hard-ware. Software has zero replication cost.

Increase Tool Throughput

  • Provide wafer handling capability at low cost that bal-ances process times with minimum handling overhead time. Provide smart robotics capability.
  • Use “Small Grain” tools. By this we mean tools that can be provided in small increments of production while at the same time minimizing COO and Investment in absolute terms. All of the above items support this Aspect.

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