Browse Prior Art Database

Intrabuilding and Interbuilding Link Transport System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000033135D
Publication Date: 2004-Nov-29
Document File: 5 page(s) / 203K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method for a system that provides continuous vertical transfer of materials (e.g. silicon wafer carriers, boxes, etc.) between vehicle-based automated transport systems and other automated transport systems at different elevations. The system can be used within a manufacturing facility or between adjacent manufacturing facilities.

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Intrabuilding and Interbuilding Link Transport System

Disclosed is a method for a system that provides continuous vertical transfer of materials (e.g. silicon wafer carriers, boxes, etc.) between vehicle-based automated transport systems and other automated transport systems at different elevations. The system can be used within a manufacturing facility or between adjacent manufacturing facilities.

Background

There is a need for manufacturers to move carriers of work-in-process material between buildings having different elevations, or within buildings at different elevations.  For example, in the semiconductor industry, as 200mm wafer processing factories are converted to 300mm wafer processing, current and future process flow requirements will result in the need to move carriers at the rate of several hundred moves per hour between facilities with different ceiling elevations over spans of several hundred meters.

Currently, storage devices, such as Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS), are typically used to move carriers between transport systems at different elevations.  These ASRSs have load ports on either side at different elevations to interface with the automated transport system vehicles for carrier loading and unloading.  These devices use point-to-point (i.e. discrete) multi-axis robots, where vertical transitions are accomplished by using the robot’s vertical axis (see Figure 1).  However, this limits the device’s throughput capability.  Depending on ASRS cycle time, several devices would be required to achieve the desired move rates, which could be costly and require a relatively large foot print.

General Description

In the disclosed method, the interbuilding link transport system provides a continuous vertical and horizontal transfer of silicon wafer carriers between transport systems at different elevations (see Figure 2). The system is comprised of an elevation module using one or more Continuous Vertical Transition Modules (CVTM). The CVTM contains spiral conveyors for continuous vertical transit...