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New Product: Crossing Automation takes vacuum wafer handling to next level of standardization

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Crossing Automation’s ‘ExpressConnect’ family of wafer-level automation componentsProduct Briefing Outline: Crossing Automation’s ‘ExpressConnect’ family of wafer-level automation components is designed to provide the industry with a standardized platform that delivers both high-reliability and high-throughput to vacuum wafer handling systems for semiconductor manufacturing. It uses a unique modular solution to wafer-level automation for semiconductor manufacturing that delivers a 20 to 70% smaller footprint; greater flexibility; lower cost; higher productivity; and throughput up to 250 wafers per hour. It offers a standardized, modular building block family of automation components for vacuum wafer handling systems that delivers integrated vacuum wafer handling sub-systems for semiconductor manufacturing.  The system architecture uses simple linear transfer devices and simplified control algorithms to improve efficiencies and control reliability.

Problem: The current approach to vacuum wafer handling systems has seen little to no standardization, and is primarily composed of ‘cluster tools,’ which commonly consist of multiple custom platforms for different market segments. The lack of standardization raises costs for OEMs and IDMs, including inventory carrying costs, spare parts and lead time. These in turn lead to long product development cycles and other time to market problems.

Solution: ExpressConnect’s configuration neutral approach replaces the conventional centralized wafer transfer designs found in most cluster tools by implementing system architecture from a standard set of sub-systems designed to improve efficiencies by focusing on desired process results and its cost drivers. It offers a set of automation building blocks that allow the flexibility of customization, while reducing costs by implementing standardized sets of tools, thereby optimizing wafer handling performance. ExpressConnect also gives OEMs the opportunity through its ‘ExpressSolution’ program to create proprietary modules that have the potential to obtain a market advantage. The components provide greater than 90 percent reuse of the common building blocks, ensuring mass customization and enabling very short manufacturing cycles. They integrate with current and future system architectures, and enable rapid reconfiguration to meet changing market demands.

Applications: Integrated vacuum wafer handling systems for vacuum process tools, including etch, CVD, clean, RTP and Metrology.

Platform: ExpressConnect is a suite of five building blocks that are combined to generate unlimited configurations for wafer automation. Crossing delivers ExpressConnect’s modular sub-systems in a number of basic configurations that serve as the standard foundation for tool-level wafer automation, providing the vacuum transfer system and its management. This allows equipment manufacturers to retain full control over the upstream and downstream parameters within their own process tool, and to develop proprietary configurations to achieve a market advantage. In addition to the standard modules and sub-systems, Crossing also offers complete integration engineering services giving customers the option to have standard modules integrated into a complete platform solution; or to integrate custom modules with Crossing’s standard modules into a fully integrated proprietary platform solution.

Availability: Currently available.

Crossing Automation’s Load-Lock,  300mm

ExpressConnect is a suite of five building blocks that are combined to generate unlimited configurations for wafer automation.


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