The SubFab environment, the utility room that houses all the equipment to keep a Fab’s clean room up and running, can be a hazardous one. One of the risks is posed by energetic materials, a by-product of some semiconductor processes.
Energetic materials are chemicals that are hazardously exothermic, pyrophoric, or water reactive. In other words: all these substances store high amounts of energy, which can be released fast and uncontrolled, initiated by thermal or mechanical actions or shock waves.
The SEMI S30 guidelines is the set of safety criteria for the procurement, storage, handling and use of energetic materials in semiconductor R&D and manufacturing processes. The guideline is a minimum set of safety precautions and applies to every phase of the process, from chemical supply through to abatement.
Steve Cottle, Senior Applications Manager at Edwards, introduces the SEMI S30 Safety Guideline and explains why the guidelines is so important in the semiconductor industry.
Many processes in manufacturing semiconductors use reactive chemistry. So the chemicals used for the process are energetic materials and sometimes, the by-products of the process are too. There is always a risk of explosion or fire when these materials aren’t handled correctly. Therefore, the SEMI S30 guidelines helps to ensure the safety of staff and installations in SubFab facilities.
Time has taught us that the SubFab is even more prone to incidents than the cleanroom, where wafer production occurs. SubFab safety should be a concern right from the start, when the systems and installation are designed and put into operation. So, it all starts with the right choice of vacuum and exhaust management systems of the highest quality and the most suitable design.
Experience shows that the safest method to design a vacuum and abatement system includes proprietary vacuum modelling software and technology testing. Our Edwards teams of global application specialists have the expertise to design, test and refine such installations.
Edwards’ vacuum and exhaust management systems have proven their merits in various processes with energetic materials and we closely monitor their performance. So far, all of these installations comply with the intent of all relevant section of the SEMI S30 guideline.
When you design a SubFab, you should leave nothing to chance. By using the SEMI S30 guideline as the foundation and applying Edwards’ know-how to design the most appropriate installations, we can build the safest SubFabs in the world.
Senior Applications Manager