These days, the total productivity of the semiconductor is turning out to be a lot more dependent on the robotic handling industry. For exchanging the processed wafer with the unprocessed is bringing a barrier in intensifying the speed of the processing machines without even counting on how long the process will take. So, to abide by the rise in the speed needs with accuracy, the wafer handling robots must be driven at a faster pace within the mechanical coercion by the processing machines with the increase of the cost and size of the objects. So, the specs in which the wafer handling equipment manufacturers talk about the efforts are considered to be the mechanical systems design with the intensifying manipulated abilities, practice of the advanced control schemes and the best app describing wafer handling equipment via deep analysis of the wielding task with expanding the case studies, mathematical modeling, simulation as well as on-site experiments.
The wafer handling robots has the capability to depict about the requirements for the semiconductors quartz and wafer handling for so long. The semiconductor robot handling and wafer handling showcases its vital feature of beam wafer sensing with the wafer handling robots. The wafer handling robots are utilized in the semiconductor equipment spectrum for various processes such as thermal processing systems, deposition systems, metrology systems, and many more in any case.
The semiconductor robot handling emerges from the hindrance of scams in the daily fab operations. With the rise of the semiconductor operations and businesses, the manufacturing systems unfold to get dynamic technical and business needs. The semiconductor manufacturing experiences a torment from the automation. The semiconductor front end wafer handling robots needs good veracity and robustness for the mechanical coercion.
Let us get into the topic and check out the strategies that can intensify the performance of the wafer handling robots.
The manipulating task performed by Robotic Handling Systems
So, the prevalent trait of the manipulating task carried out by the robotic handling systems is that they have to offer a straight-line motion of the center of the wafer. The straight-line motion is collateral with the central axis of the equipment, i.e., either an open cassette, FOUP, a process chamber. Although, that straight-line motion lies in the horizontal plane, but in a true sense, the linear motion may extend its hand for the synchronized vertical move to look out for equipment placement robotic arm slope. So, depicting the straight-line motion as uneasy won’t mean that the manipulated object gets continuously along with the equipment. It also points out that the way to the center of the wafer is stiffed to remain within proximity of the equipment’ center line. It is mainly considered to be less than 0.5 mm with the path and less than 0.05 mm at the extremity point. It is why the motion is known to be the fine motion. So, based on the straight line segment, it is located within the center of the robot. There are several other strategies for performing the manipulative task along with the mechanical structures of the robotic handling systems.
Talking in addition to the stiffed straight-line motion, there is another motion, which is called as gross motion. It is proposed to transfer the wafers between the various strategy positions, which are the equipment’s front stances. It is abandoned by the walls of the environment as it keeps the huge tolerance between the robotic system and the wall constraints. Therefore, this motion needs less accuracy. Therefore, to boost the performance of the robotics handling system, the gross motion must be really fast and has been set with the constraints by the need to hold wafer on the end-effector. So, mixing the uneasy straight-line motion and less inaccuracy, the gross motion is known to be one of the significant issues in the design and hold over the high performance of the robotic handling systems. In most of the cases, the effective combination of the fine and gross motions, grant more to the lessening of the wafer exchange time instead of the boost of the velocity and acceleration of the split motions.
Talking about the robotic handling systems:
The most used scenario of the robotic arm architecture in semiconductor automation is the branching scenario. The modules are disposed of so that their longitude goes through a single point that concurs with the center of rotation of wafer handling robots. So, the radial scenario was preferred to abide by having the constraints of the motion control technologies at the time instead of coming with the necessities for favorable and economical placement of the equipment set by the automation. With the conquer of the control of industrial manipulators, which created it to move the robotic arms in the endless paths, so the radial scenario started to hamper the FAB robotic automation and different “in-line” scenario for the equipment management was projected and provided the recognition as standard. For the same scenario, the equipment is put in an order in an orthogonal way that appoints major requirements to the motion abilities of the Robotic Handling System, like with having the capability to shift the straight lines forthwith. So, this needs to be combined with the gross motions that are specifically defined in the cylindrical space. The regular radial robots known as TRZ robots have turned out to be faulty in serving the “in-line” equipment with some exceptions in a skew manner. In the end, it needs the end-effector would try to enter the equipment at an angle, but the wafer held by the end effector shifts to a straight line coincident with the y-axis of the equipment. So, while experiencing the straight-line motion of the wafer, the assimilation of the end-effector alterations, makes the wafer rotation equivalent to the straight line segment length. This strategy typically follows to the FOUPs as they set up little constraints over the rotation of the end-effector and for the few numbers of chamber process. It also permits the end effectors rotation in the straight-line motion. So, if the wafers are needed to be put up into different located off-radial chambers with the arbitrary assimilation of the notch, they must be seized with the dependent angular offsets of the notch from the wafer aligners. This is similarly put on to the specific applications that need assimilation of the wafers when they are implemented into the FOUPs. One more limitation of the skew handling is its lack of lodging the cases where the end-effector is needed to either move towards the cases to being addresses or in between located pins in the process chamber. The present FOUP designs won’t permit the edge gripping end-effectors to get an entry to the FOUP in a skewed manner due to the intervention of the front part of the edge gripper with the FOUP backside. This statement conclusively doesn’t apply to the designed edge grippers, but it holds onto entire edge-gripping devices.
Different companies provide a wide range of industries that leads the semiconductor wafer handling robots for the cleanroom applications. The robots get ideal for handling wafer sizes, either thin or bonded wafers with the best accuracy, throughput, flexible end-effectors, and other payload options.
What do we need to look for?
A trustworthy, robust and maintenance-free wafer handling system. The semiconductor equipment spectrum must include features are beam wafer sensing, 300 mm edge-grip end-effector, robot self-teach functionality, MULTILINK SCARA wafer robots. Rather than handling carriers and the production lots, they must also be able to handle wafers that are up to IAO-1 class environments. They must also be efficient in automating the complex processes that need a good degree of manual energy. It can include transferring between the several cassette types, water identification, slot map scanning, and wafers alignment.
Kensington is an editor with Kensington Laboratories from the past 3 years. Her passion for words and technology reflects in her contribution to numerous Robotics blogs and news features as a guest author. He likes to stay informed about technological innovations and their disruptions across all walks of life.