Case Study: RFID Chip Manufacturing

RFID project chip manufacturing: controlling and monitoring the production of microchips

At a glance...

  • Automatic transfer of production instructions and steps from the database of the host system
  • Continous verification of all production steps
  • Direct loading of manufacturing procedures
  • Lifecycle monitoring of the production cassette
  • RFID Reader LF80 Serial or
  • RFID Reader LF60 SoliD
  • RFID glass tube transponder 32 mm

RFID Frequency 134.2 kHz (LF)

The challenge

Microchips are integrated circuits on a single piece of semiconductor substrate. They require a complex manufacturing process and every semiconductor manufacturer knows that the production of these chips is no easy matter. Faultless control and complete monitoring of all production steps are essential factors for minimizing manufacturing loss.

Brooks has helped one of the world's largest manufacturers of microchips by providing a complete control system to support this process.

In one wafer cassette, up to 25,000 chips are subjected to a series of different chemical and optical process steps (depending on the specific order), before the wafers are transformed into complete computer components. Our customer uses over 2,000 of these cassettes in one manufacturing plant.

At a price of $100 per chip, it is not difficult to imagine how much is at stake if something goes wrong during production.

The implementation

Control of product steps
The required instructions and the sequence of production steps for each cassette are retrieved from the higher-level control system. The production plants which are equipped with transponder reading devices identify the cassette as soon as it reaches the feeding mechanism of the plant. An optical sensor starts the process of reading the information stored in the database, guaranteeing smooth processing of the complex production steps.

If changes are required to the manufacturing procedure, these only need to be entered in the database. The instructions are automatically transferred and executed safely and precisely.

Monitoring of production
Each cassette is identified via transponder with a unique identification number. This ID number is used to check the cassette throughout the individual production steps and constantly compare the information received from the transponder with plant specifications. Only if these data records match, the cassette continues along the production line and each silicon slice is processed in turn. Has the specified lifecycle of a cassette been exceeded? An important question that can easily be answered with the help of RFID technology. Our customer can retrieve information on the age of the cassette and the number of process cycles at any time. Of course, it is also possible to find out which process a particular cassette has already run through.

Our control system therefore safeguards the customers production process and saves great deal of time, trouble and not least: money.