New International Task Force Formed on Cluster Tool and Process Module Physical Interface
By Paul Trio, SEMI North America Standards
The International Process Module Physical Interface Task Force (IPPI-TF) was chartered to address standardization of physical interface and other interoperability related specification for the 450mm (vacuum) process modules and transfer module of the cluster tool. The task force was approved at the last North America Physical Interfaces & Carriers Technical Committee face-to-face meeting held at SEMICON West 2011.
The Task Force will assess industry needs and necessary extent of standardization activities for physical interfaces and other interoperability related specifications for the 450mm (vacuum) process modules and transfer module of the cluster tool.
Among the so-called cluster tool interface standards for 300mm tools, the SEMI E21.1 and SEMI E22.1 standards (or at least most part of their specifications) were widely adopted by suppliers of process tools and cluster tools.
Cluster Tool Module Interface 300 mm: Mechanical Interface and Wafer Transport Standard
Cluster Tool Module Interface 300 mm: Transport Module End Effector Exclusion Volume Standard
The existence of SEMI E21.1 and SEMI E22.1 was believed to have facilitated easy integration of various process modules into cluster tool (platform) or the transfer module of an existing process tools.
Standardizing the physical interface between the cluster tool and process module is beneficial for both process equipment supplier and users as it can shorten the period between the chamber development stage and the volume production tool qualification stage.
The Standards to be developed would define the physical interface and other interoperability-related specification between the process chamber and the different modules (e.g., transfer module) of a cluster tool, which may be the 450mm equivalent of SEMI E21.1 and SEMI E22.1 or something similar. This approach would minimize the necessary level of physical connectivity to the transport module part of a process tool for any process module without any significant design change when the process module is incorporated into the process tool.
Scope of Proposed Process Module Standardization
The International Process Module Physical Interface TF will be led by Supika Mashiro (Tokyo Electron) and Richard Oechsner (Fraunhofer Institute) with several other companies planning to participate in this effort, including: Brooks Automation, Canon Anelva, Crossing Automation, Daifuku, Dainippon Screen, Hitachi High-Tech, Hitachi Kokusai, Muratec Automation, and Nikon.
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For more information or to participate in this task force, contact Paul Trio at SEMI.