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Semiconductor Equipment Manufacturers for High Volume Wafer Production

Most semiconductor equipment manufacturers in the industry provide ‘plat’ form based designs.  They borrow their methodologies from standard engineering and manufacturing process playbooks by subcontracting the design of modules, outsourcing parts and sub-assemblies, often even outsourcing some or all of sub-assembly integration and testing. This results in a multiplicity of spares due to the many sub-assembly and component providers, as well as great integration complexity. Reliability tradeoffs and cost inefficiencies abound with little or no process performance return. While this is a tried and true method of manufacturing semiconductor equipment, it is also tried and true method of increasing costs while increasing system complexity with no offsetting functional or performance benefit

 With so many subcontractors, and diverse components in the value chain, it is easy to see why price tags for semiconductor lithography equipment easily reach well into millions of dollars for a single piece of WLCSP equipment. This in turn has led to a robust market for used semiconductor equipment, as fab managers and engineers seek a more balanced investment profile and lower overall Cost Of Ownership (COO) for their capital expenditure, while maintaining the high reliability and ease of use that minimize headaches and downtime on the production line.

Semiconductor Equipment Manufacturing Using the S-Cubed MetaForm™

Over a period of 20 years, S-Cubed has created a modular vertically integrated manufacturing approach referred to as the MetaForm™. The MetaForm™ approach emphasizes the development and manufacturing of a configurable integrated robotic system rather than one based on the integration of diverse sub-assemblies. The equipment design allows for a unique kind of functional granularity in both hardware and software such that process variations and even new processes can be implemented without any redesign of the underlying machine.

MetaFormtm design has allowed S-Cubed to produce tools in the semiconductor Equipment manufacturing space, that achieve more reliability, more functionality, and better uniformities than similar equipment from manufacturers like Suss and Tel, for a fraction of the cost, making these new machines available in the investment realm of used semiconductor equipment.

Advantages of the MetaForm™ and S-Cubed Semiconductor Equipment Manufacturing.

Because the MetaForm™ engineering method uses the same components in the manufacturing of different sub-assemblies, and incorporates an advanced modular system under programmable control, many economies are achieved.

  • The MetaForm™ is one robot, as opposed to an integration of electromechanical devices simplifying control systems and reducing points of failure.
  • Using the same motors, electronics and general hardware for all sub-assemblies allows for known operational and reliability characteristics as well economies of scale in manufacturing and spares maintenance.
  • Manufacturing from the MetaFormtm allows simpler customization for specific customer requirements, empowering the innovative engineer with a much reduced cost in NRE, and known reliability for new functionality.
  • A smaller bill of materials and pre-developed modules and control software mean a lower NRE in your application.
  • Component selection in the S-Cubed MetaForm™ is driven by a heavy bias toward performance, allowing units to adapt easily to bleeding edge packaging process extensions like eWLB, 2.5 interposer, and 3D integration.

Semiconductor Industry Firsts

 In addition to our unique use of MetaForm™ design and engineering to achieve a value proposition unmatched among semiconductor equipment manufacturers, S-Cubed has been responsible for a number of Semiconductor Industry firsts in its 25 year history.

  •  Development and sale of the first ever commercially available wafer scrubber/cleaner tool (See PRC 6625 for current evolution)
  • First production throughput capable robotic wafer handling system.
  • The first use of the hot plate bake for photolithographic processing. This is now an industry standard.
  • The semiconductor industry’s first fully programmable flat following incorporated into our Wafer Edge Exposure System.
  • The industry’s first linear peristaltic pump for photoresist dispense.

For more information about how the cost of new semiconductor equipment can have less COO than used semiconductor equipment,

contact an S-Cubed engineer today.

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