Updated SEMI Safety Guidelines Address Conformance Findings, Equipment

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Updated SEMI Safety Guidelines Address Conformance Findings, Equipment Evaluations, and Evaluators

Earlier this year, the Environmental, Health, and Safety Committee approved significant changes to criteria for conformance findings in SEMI S2 and a major rewrite of its guideline for evaluation of equipment (SEMI S7), splitting it into two documents, S7 and S27. Taken together, these updates constitute a major change in the standards landscape for semiconductor equipment evaluations.

Conformance Findings: Conforms to the Performance Goal vs. conforms to the intent

Previous versions of SEMI S2 provided for three conformance findings: “Conforms”, “Does Not Conform”, and “N/A”. They allowed for a finding of “Conforms” when the equipment “conforms to the section or to the intent of the section”. This prompted some expressed preference for differentiation between “conforms to the section” and “conforms to the intent of a section”, along with discussion of how to determine the intent of a section. SEMI S2-0310 cites “conforms to the stated criteria” (replacing “conforms to the section) and “conforms to the performance goal” (replacing “conforms to the intent of a section”) as separate findings, and explains when each finding is appropriate. It also provides criteria for what to include as the supporting rationale for each type of finding.

Equipment Evaluations: Evaluating Personnel and Report Contents

In 2005, discussions of how to update S7-96 revealed that that two of the topics it addresses – qualifications of evaluation personnel and contents of evaluation reports – were considered more important than the rest, as the questions they answer (i.e., Is the right person doing the evaluation? Is the right information included in the report?) are often of the greatest concern, especially on occasions when a report is felt to be unsatisfactory. These topics were so important, in fact, that the committee agreed that splitting S7 into two documents was preferable, so that lack of consensus on the document devoted to one topic would not prevent publication of the other.

These two documents are therefore each more focused documents than their predecessor. Whereas S7-96 also addressed topics such as contracting, documentation provided by the supplier, and evaluation methods, S7-0310 sticks with topics related to qualifications – the qualifications of both the evaluation company itself and its personnel, areas of expertise, and the statement of qualifications an evaluation company would provide to its customer. The new S27-0310 maintains a similar focus: the content sections are types of reports (e.g., complete equipment reports vs. subsystem reports, and interim, cumulative, and final reports) and the structure and contents of those reports.

About the EHS Committee

The EHS Committee is chartered to identify and develop international environmental, health and safety (EHS) guidelines fulfilling the technical needs of the semiconductor, flat panel display and other related industries. Current topics include Silane Handling Safety, Energy Conservation, Safety in Elevated Work, Chemical Exposure, Non-Ionizing Radiation, Harmonization of Electrical Safety Criteria in SEMI S2 and SEMI S22, and interlock reliability and selection. Upcoming meetings are scheduled for October 21 at SEMICON Europa, the week of November 8 during the NA Fall 2010 Standards Meetings, and December 1-3 at SEMICON Japan.

For more information on EHS Committee activities, please contact:

  • Carlos Lee at clee@semi.org in Europe,
  • Akiko Yamamoto at ayamamoto@semi.org in Japan,
  • Ian McLeod at imcleod@semi.org in North America, or
  • Leon Huang at lhuang@semi.org in Taiwan

Standards Watch - September 2010