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HIGH SPEED AND SPACE OPTIMIZED STOCKER SYSTEMS FOR FRONT OPENING UNIFIED PODS (FOUPS)

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000004613D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Feb-28
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2001-Feb-28
Document File: 4 page(s) / 74K

Publishing Venue

Motorola

Related People

Tobias Eidmann: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

HIGH SPEED AND SPACE OPTIMIZED STOCKER SYSTEMS FOR FRONT OPENING UNIFIED PODS (FOUPS)

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 90% of the total text.

HIGH SPEED AND SPACE OPTIMIZED STOCKER SYSTEMS FOR FRONT OPENING UNIFIED PODS (FOUPS)

by Tobias Eidmann, Tim Stanley

PROBLEM SUMMARY

Current clean room stockers are not space efficient. Half the volume is a robot isle with shelves on each side. Current clean room stockers are also slow since one robot moves to all locations and ports. Because of the long tracks the robot must move on, heavy systems with limited acceleration must be used.

PROPOSED SOLUTION

A space efficient, mechanically simple, rapid response clean room stocker can be designed with vertically stacked storage carousals. With this carousal arrangement, multiple load ports for operators and interfaces to transport systems can exist which can reduce waiting time. Interface port carousels minimize the time for loading and unloading multiple FOUP batches, since a simple turning motion can present a new storage location. The storage turntables and the robot arm can move in parallel giving shorter access times. Also, the limited motion robot provides a simpler and more robust handling system.

The robot can be light and fast since the horizontal paths of the robot are short, and for vertical movements the robot can be supported by a track. Maintenance access is required only from the front side and is given by two front doors. Maintenance access provided as is shown in Figure 1.

In this design, the carousels can rotate independently of one an other, making it possible to use one level for I/O while other levels are interacting with the robotic system. This independent rotation minimizes the time the FOUP is held by the robot. These features are illustrated in figure 2. Providing for FOUP rotation by the robot allows FOUPs to be placed on the I/O carousel in an ergometricly favorable orientation for the operator, and be placed in a higher storage density orientation on storage carousels. This I/O level carousel is illustrated in Figure 3.

For double the storage density, units could be placed side by side or rear to rear, while both could be used for four times the storage. These possibilities are illustrated in figures 4 and 5.

The design of figure 1 has five storage places per level per turntable on the carousels with up to four additional per level at the rear of the cabinet, providing 110 storage locations in less than four square meters. This is a storage density of twenty-eight FOUPs per sq. m. storage density while current systems provide less than fourteen FOUPs per sq. m. storage density. The designs of figures 2 and 3 hold slightly fewer FOUPs but in a smaller footprint for approximately the same density advantage.

To see the potential advantage of these designs consider a five thousand wafer start per week factory. This size factory would need at least two thousand FOUPs. Clean room space costs about $40,000 per sq. m. So current stockers which hold about 14 FOUPs per sq. m., would...