Roscoe, IL – A manufacturer of silicon wafer handling equipment touts the ability of its equipment to deliver smooth vertical transportation of wafers. Such smooth motion comes from the Uni-Guide linear slide, from PBC Linear.
Standard Mechanical Interface (SMIF) Pod safely transports wafers between production processes. The Pods are attached to a Pod elevator that allows a robot to horizontally pick and place the wafer into the tool. Smooth vertical motion is essential to prevent damage to the wafers.
In this manufacturer’s wafer handling equipment, wafers are stacked in a cassette housed in a Standard Mechanical Interface (SMIF) Pod for safe transport between processes. The Pods provide a mini-environment (class 1) to prevent contamination and are the temporary home of the wafers during processing.
The 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.
The Pod elevator must move smoothly to prevent the wafer in the cassette from vibrating free or out of position for the robot. Either of these conditions could have serious consequences, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damaged wafers. Although the mini-environment protects the wafers, it is necessary that the environment they reside in remain clean (Class 10) to avoid any contamination during the exterior loading and unloading process.
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. The Uni-Guide linear slide with its simple two-piece assembly and proven Frelon® J liner was the obvious choice to handle the silicon wafer transport system.
Each specialized Uni-Guide linear slide is carefully constructed and put through rigorous testing in PBC Linear’s clean workroom environment.
With a proven history in similar applications, the Uni-Guide has a solid track record of precise linear motion without added lubricants. The customer, however, was also reaching for more; they wanted a turnkey system to act as the heart of the new wafer elevator. PBC Linear’s team of engineers worked with the customer to design a complete system that simply plugs in with the machine. Subsequently, PBC Linear not only supplied the slide but also began to supply the motors, drive screws, guards, limit switches—preassembled and tested.
Assembled in PBC Linear’s clean workroom, the Uni-Guide is subjected to critical testing for accurate travel and alignment. Measures are taken to ensure the sterile transportation of the Uni-Guide from testing to arrival at its destination.