Browse Prior Art Database

Automated Silicon Wafer Load/Unload System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000035333D
Original Publication Date: 1989-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Jan-28
Document File: 5 page(s) / 112K

Publishing Venue

IBM

Related People

Kallestad, PR: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

A technique is described whereby an automated robotic system is used to automatically transport silicon wafers and backing discs into a processing chamber, as used during the manufacture of integrated circuits. The system is designed to operate with a minimum of operator intervention in a contaminant-free environment and to provide a tracking method so as to increase the efficiency in the handling of wafers.

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Automated Silicon Wafer Load/Unload System

A technique is described whereby an automated robotic system is used to automatically transport silicon wafers and backing discs into a processing chamber, as used during the manufacture of integrated circuits. The system is designed to operate with a minimum of operator intervention in a contaminant- free environment and to provide a tracking method so as to increase the efficiency in the handling of wafers.

The automated load/unload system consists of robot arm 10, as shown in Fig. 1, end-of-arm tooling unit 11, cassette nest 12, dome storage unit 13, roto-lift mechanism 14, dome lifter 15, dome rotator/ orientor 16 and base unit 17.

(Image Omitted)

The principle function of robot arm 10 is to transfer wafers and backers between the cassettes and dome 19 using end-of-arm tooling 11. End-of-arm tooling 11 incorporates a vacuum mechanism with an acetal polymer face. Orientation of the wafer in the cassette is performed off-line.

The backer nest holds the backers, which are re-usable, at an incline of fifteen degrees off of the vertical. Cassette nest 12 holds the wafer cassettes so that the wafers are also at an incline of fifteen degrees of the vertical. These nests are located inside the working envelope of the robot unit, allowing the robot to transport wafers to and from the nests. The operator also has easy access to the nests so that the cassettes can be loaded or unloaded at the proper time.

(Image Omitted)

There is a dome storage position at the top of the system, supported by the overhead assembly. This station allows two domes to be present in the system at one time. While one dome is in the process chamber, the previously processed dome is unloaded, reloaded with unprocessed wafers and placed in the storage position until the dome being processed is finished.

Roto-lift mechanism 14 is a two-degree-of-freedom device that transports domes between the chamber, the storage location and the dome lifter location. It supports the dome from below. Dome rotator/ orientor 16 is located below dome lifter 15 so that domes 19 are transferred from roto-lifter mechanism 14 to dome lifter 15 and from there lowered to rotator/orientor 16. Rotator/orientor rotates dome 19 using a stepper motor to allow the robot to access all the dome pockets and to accurately locate and support the dome. All the major mechanical components are attached or mounted to common machine base 17, which also houses the controls for the system. Materials used in the system were chosen to avoid particulate generation. Moving parts that generate particles are enclosed. All equipment meets class 100 clean room environment requirements.

The system's major control components include industrial computer unit 18, the controller for the robot, a teach pendant, a device control pendant, an alignment system and light curtains. The industrial computer is the work cell controller for the automated loading and unloading system and h...