The semiconductor and electronics industries are instrumental to the continued development of technologies and innovations that are transforming our day to day lives. Smartphones, PCs, gaming devices and more are some of the most powerful and intricate pieces of technology ever developed. At the heart of this technology is a tiny microchip. Despite being miniscule, these chips are among the most complex pieces of equipment in existence today and manufacturing them requires a production process that is highly sensitive.
Semiconductor fabrication is among the world’s fastest evolving industries, with new products continuously demanding faster speeds and higher specs. This process in turn needs a reliable and steady supply of vacuum. Clean, consistent house vacuum is required for testing, holding, pick-and-place, packaging operations within the industry. Thus, selecting the right vacuum pump solution is crucial for the production process.
The need for vacuum in semiconductor manufacturing
House Vacuum is used for all pick-and-place and handling operations of any “integrated circuit” manufacturing process such as handling, cutting, forming, testing. Etc. Since a semiconductor chip includes numerous components, the need for ultra-precise fabrication of semiconductors is essential and vacuum is crucial in every step of production.
Vacuum level is between 100 and 400 mbar abs. to secure right level at every equipment and to ensure no contamination from backflow. A typical semiconductor factory may require a flow from 2000 to 8000 m3/h, but larger can require more than 12000 m3/h. Factories operate 24/7 and house vacuum cannot fail. Hence, redundancy and reliability are a must.
Energy-efficient vacuum pumps from Atlas Copco for the Semiconductor Industry
Atlas Copco’s GHS VSD⁺ rotary screw vacuum pump is a popular choice in the semiconductor industry because VSD+ is more than just a “variable speed drive.” The GHS VSD+ is equipped with a proprietary logic controller and software that deliver consistent vacuum level throughout the fab. Our intelligent vacuum pump is a green innovation leader that cuts energy consumption significantly, reducing environmental impact to drive sustainability.
Atlas Copco also offers the complete range of DZS VSD+ dry claw vacuum pumps and LRP VSD+ liquid ring vacuum pumps. Their durable, proven designs are well suited to smaller fab operations, for direct replacements of existing pumps, or where lower acquisition cost matters more than total lifecycle cost. The capacity range and VSD+ technology of all Atlas Copco vacuum pumps means they are ideal for central vacuum systems, including the house vacuum found in semiconductor fabs.
Benefit from Atlas Copco’s innovative oil-retention systems
In a house vacuum network, the air molecules travel in the direction of the vacuum pump, and at the designed vacuum level the density of the flow is still considerable. For this reason, oil molecules and moisture cannot migrate towards the process. Vacuum pumps are often located far from the production halls in a dedicated utility room. This gives freedom to select the pump technology without worrying about hydrocarbon contamination of the network. Attention should be made, though, to the environment at the discharge side of the vacuum pumps.
Atlas Copco vacuum pumps such as the GHS VSD+ oil-sealed rotary screw vacuum pump range are equipped with superior oil retention systems. If required, additional filtration systems at the pump exhaust can be fitted to ensure that no contamination is added to the atmosphere and sophisticated air circulation/filtration systems surrounding the fab.
If the need is for a Class 0 certified dry technology vacuum pump, Atlas Copco offers the DZS VSD+ dry claw vacuum pump product line.
Delivering consistent vacuum levels
Semiconductor fabs historically had problems with their house vacuum due to large fluctuations of the vacuum level. The performance of conventional pumps degrades due to wear and environment conditions such as temperature variations.
Atlas Copco’s GHS VSD+ oil lubricated rotary screw design maintains consistent performance regardless of environmental conditions. Whatever speed is desirable for the process is always available. Equipped with Atlas Copco’s VSD+ technology, the GHS VSD+ automatically speeds up and slows down to match the varying demand for vacuum, maintaining the required set point with maximum efficiency.