Addressing a need for self-maintaining semiconductor equipment, Lam has developed an etch productivity solution that extends the mean time between cleans (MTBC), a major limiter of etch system uptime. As shared in the recent announcement below, Lam’s Kiyo® process module recently achieved a full production year without need for a cleaning maintenance operation, setting an industry benchmark for etch productivity.
Customer Collaboration sets new industry benchmark for etch system uptime
FREMONT, Calif., April 24, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Lam Research Corp. (Nasdaq: LRCX) today announced a new industry benchmark has been set for productivity in semiconductor processing using its self-maintaining equipment. Partnering with a leading semiconductor manufacturer, Lam’s etch processing platform has successfully demonstrated one full year of uninterrupted production.
In today’s semiconductor processing environment, mean time between cleans is a major limiter of etch system productivity. Etch process modules are typically cleaned monthly – or sometimes weekly – to maintain stable performance and replace parts eroded by plasma processing. In April 2019, Lam and its customer accomplished an ambitious goal and reached the milestone of going 365 days without the need for a maintenance cleaning operation.
“This groundbreaking achievement demonstrates Lam’s dedication to working collaboratively with customers to help solve some of their most challenging technology and productivity issues,” said Vahid Vahedi, senior vice president and general manager of the Etch product group at Lam Research. “Lam is committed to delivering Industry 4.0 technologies that allow chipmakers to be faster, more accurate, and more productive with less effort. As demonstrated by this new industry benchmark, self-maintaining equipment enables enhanced efficiency with less human intervention.”
Etch process modules require maintenance and replacement of consumable parts, which can be both time and labor intensive because the chamber has to be opened, the part replaced, cleaned, and then the chamber needs to be requalified. This affects output and requires complicated scheduling. With self-maintaining solutions, the equipment knows when the part has to be replaced and will replace it autonomously without opening the chamber. This reduces tool downtime and enhances overall fab productivity.
This innovative solution includes Lam’s Kiyo® process module, Corvus® R replaceable edge ring with vacuum transfer, long-life chamber components, and optimized waferless autoclean technology. The key enabler of this unparalleled productivity is the Corvus R system, the industry’s first automated consumable part replacement system. Erosion of edge rings has long been a fundamental challenge in etch processing, requiring frequent chamber opens to replace parts. Corvus R automatically exchanges used edge rings with new edge rings without requiring the chamber to be opened.
This technology is part of Lam’s Equipment Intelligence™ suite of solutions, which integrates key elements to create self-aware, self-maintained, and adaptive tools and processes. The utilization of Equipment Intelligence solutions holds the promise of improved productivity, increased performance, and accelerated innovation through the integration of machine learning, artificial intelligence initiatives, and automated self-aware hardware and processes.