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Automated handling: Unsung hero or enemy of the state?

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Mark Osborne, Editor-in-Chief, Semiconductor Fabtech

ABSTRACT

The migration to 300mm sized wafer’s became a reality with the move to standards driven nonmanual wafer handling, which saw a new type of sub-system being created. The Equipment Front End Module (EFEM) was to become the strategic link between the Automated Material Handling System (AMHS) transporting the Front Opening Unified Pod (FOUP) and the process tool itself. A typical 30,000 wafer starts per month (wspm) 300mm fab has over 300 tools and over 400 process steps putting huge demands on the wafer handling systems to provide fast and reliable transportation. However, the industry has experienced problems that have limited factory performance and overall production efficiencies. We take a look at a second generation of automated sub-systems for EFEM and wafer sorter functions, which promise to take 300mm fab operations to the next level.

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