Multinational supplier of pneumatic and electrical control and drive technology Festo has released a purge system which prevents the oxidisation of wafers used by the semiconductor industry during transportation and storage. The company says its N2 purge system’s cost-efficient, pre-assembled flow controller continuously supplies the wafer reservoir (FOUP) with inert nitrogen for this.
Festo says that space restrictions in production area, as well as strict quality demands for operating equipment, were taken into consideration when developing the system. The user receives a pre-assembled functional unit instead of several individual components meaning costs for assembly and tubing as well as test times are reduced, while the cost of an extra stainless-steel tube with fittings is eliminated. The flow controller can also be integrated into an overhead transport system to transport wafers safely, the company added.
“The design of the piezo valve reduces the risk of contamination in the gas flow caused by particle abrasion over the entire service life,” the company said. “The peak value is approximately for a particle of size 0.1 micrometres per switching cycle. Conventional solutions generate five times the particle content. The piezo technology used prevents wear due to friction, thus considerably lengthening the service life of the valve. In comparison to conventional solutions, this results in significant savings in operation and maintenance.
“The compact flow controller has just two pneumatic connections, reducing the risk of leakages. The energy consumption is less than a watt. In both cases that is 80% less than with conventional solutions such as proportional regulators. The closed control loop ensures an accurate, stable and linear behaviour of the flow rate – without hysteresis. The repetition accuracy is +/-0.25% of the setpoint value.”