Silicon Wafer Manufacturing
Retrofit or OEM:
Needed a vibration-free linear guide that could function in a contaminant-free manufacturing facility.
The Uni-Guide with Frelon® J liner provided a complete system free of vibrations and clean-room ready.
Silicon wafer manufacturer needs clean, vibration free linear motion
An automation company manufactures silicon wafers and handling equipment that is housed and operated in extremely clean environments. Wafers are stacked in a cassette which is housed in a SMIF Pod for safe transport between processes. The SMIF Pods provide a mini-environment (class 1) to prevent contamination and are the temporary home of the wafers during their processing. The SMIF Pods are attached to a Pod elevator which allows the robot servicing the processing tool to horizontally pick and place the wafer into the tool.
Smooth vertical movement of the elevator POD is essential to prevent the wafer in the cassette from vibrating free or out of position for the robot. Either condition could have serious consequences, such as destroying the batch of wafers that could end up costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Although the mini-environment protects the wafers, it is necessary that the area they reside in remain clean (Class 10) to avoid any contamination during the exterior loading and unloading process. Microprocessors and other IC Chips provide computational power and become a function of the density of the etching through individual circuits on the wafer. Cleanliness means denser circuits and more computing power.
The automation company originally came to PBC Linear for a chatter or vibration free linear guide that could function in a contaminant-free manufacturing facility without dispersing particulates or requiring lubrication. With its precision design, simple two-piece assembly, and proven Frelon® J liner, the Uni-Guide was the obvious choice to handle the silicon wafer transport system used in the manufacturing process.
With a proven history in similar applications, the Uni-Guide linear slide has a clean track record for providing precise linear motion without added lubricants. Additionally, the customer wanted to create a turn-key system to act as the heart of the new wafer elevator.
The PBC Linear solution
The team of seasoned engineers at PBC Linear worked with the customer to design a complete system that, upon delivery, could simply plug in and function perfectly with the rest of the machine. As this relationship developed, PBC Linear was able to supply the slide and also deliver the motors, drive screws, guards, and limit switches.
The specially designed Uni-Guide is assembled in a clean workroom, and subjected to critical testing for accurate travel and alignment. Careful measures are taken to ensure the sterile transportation of Uni-Guide products from assembly to testing to its final destination. PBC Linear has maintained their production and documentation in accordance with regulations set by the customer, upholding its reputation as a leader in linear motion applications and solutions.
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