Pathway Upgrades

Brooks offers a series of Pathway Upgrade Solutions designed to provide exceptional value and performance for automation and contamination control systems. These solutions fall into two categories: 1) Upgrades that extend product life span and improve serviceability; and 2) Upgrades that deliver targeted capability and productivity improvements to maximize tool utilization and performance.

All Pathway Upgrades are performed by certified Brooks Customer Service Engineers (CSEs) with extensive training and technical expertise in Brooks products and technology. You can count on our upgrade solutions to deliver a range of productivity, efficiency, and cost-saving benefits:

  • Achieve advanced monitoring and control during key process steps
  • Minimize unscheduled downtime for greater tool utilization
  • Increase process predictability for higher quality and throughput
  • Enable savings via green initiatives

Automation Upgrades

Pathway Spartan Substrate Management Upgrade

This comprehensive solution upgrades older, obsolete Spartan Sorters to a new configuration, enabling customers to realize improved tool reliability, serviceability, and longevity. It includes an upgrade to the latest Sorter Substrate Management System (SMS) II fab host integration software as well as API software with improved diagnostics and an enhanced interface that displays critical tool information in real time. Plus, the software is backed by Brooks’ knowledgeable, experienced software engineering team for rapid resolution that reduces costly downtime.

The upgrade also includes necessary hardware improvements to address most end-of-life (EOL) concerns. Replacement of EOL components significantly improves serviceability and increases lifecycle by expanding access to spare parts, repair options, and certified Customer Support Engineers who are trained on the equipment.

Several optional enhancements are available with the core upgrade. In addition, customizable upgrade packages can be tailored to each individual customer’s tool/configuration for increased flexibility.

Pathway Intelligent Robot Detection Upgrade

The Intelligent Robot Detection Upgrade helps prevent or reduce the severity of a robot crash. This smart solution detects when the robot on a PuroMaxx M80 or M800XP touches something with which it is not supposed to have contact, and instructs the robot sprints to slow for a faster stop. This helps prevent catastrophic equipment damage by stopping the robot before it crashes entirely into the chamber or load port. Because full robot crashes require complex repairs and re-teaching, the ability to minimize collision severity reduces repair costs, tool downtime, and lost fab productivity.

The upgrade is conducted by certified Brooks Customer Service Engineers with extensive training and expertise in the areas of setup sensitivities, adjustments, and robot testing. The solution’s intelligent functionality, installed by skilled, experienced professionals, enables customers to realize accelerated time to value.

Contamination Control Upgrades

Pathway Enhanced FOUP Integrity Check Upgrade

This upgrade provides integrated, real-time measurement of in-situ relative pressure drop inside the FOUP during the purge process — with no impact on throughput — on PuroMaxx 800 XP and G2 tools. The solution uses pressure drop measurements to check the integrity of processed FOUPs, thereby reducing product risk and increasing FOUP lifespan. Continuous monitoring of quality, cleanliness, and integrity helps customers identify and minimize the process impact of sub-par FOUPs. In-spec results of the FOUP rate-of-pressure-drop measurement help ensure a production-worthy FOUP mini-environment and minimize the risk of costly damage. The Enhanced FOUP Integrity Check upgrade is installed on the Overhead Hoist Transfer (OHT) system load port.

Pathway Humidity Check Upgrade

This upgrade provides an integrated, real-time humidity measurement solution to effectively monitor FOUP quality on PuroMaxx 800 XP ad G2 tools. The solution automatically measures humidity inside the FOUP during the purge process — with no impact on throughput — to help ensure cleanliness, low moisture content, and integrity of the FOUP mini-environment. The fab can communicate the humidity check results directly to its Fault Detection and Classification (FDC) system in order to control, monitor, and take action on suspect material.

The Humidity Check Upgrade provides continuous monitoring of quality and cleaning efficiencies to make sure FOUPs are production-worthy, thereby maximizing FOUP lifespan and minimizing both process and product risk.

Pathway Vacuum Pump Upgrade

This service offering provides an upgrade path for Brooks PuroMaxx 800 XP and G2 customers looking to achieve improved pump reliability, more consistent vacuum process conditions, and higher water vapor capacity for significant productivity gains and cost savings. In addition to pump replacement, the upgrade includes cabinet redesign to improve airflow and heat dissipation, resulting in lower moisture impact, better performance, and longer lifetime.

The pump upgrade delivers faster release to production because the new pumps do not require conditioning to reach minimum pressure. As a result, customers achieve rapid time to value through improved pump predictability, greater process stability, and consistent recipe performance.

Pathway Vacuum Chamber Lid Upgrade

The Pathway Vacuum Lid Upgrade enables Brooks PuroMaxx G2 customers to achieve more reliable, consistent vacuum chamber FOUP placement. The older AUD lid assemblies are replaced with a more robust design that significantly improves the robot placement window — minimizing the opportunity for crashes and limiting downtime and damage in the event a crash occurs. The new lid design features a more rigid vacuum chamber FOUP holder compared to the current cage-style with stainless-steel inserts that limits room for robot movement when loading and unloading a FOUP. The upgrade delivers larger clearance distances for improved FOUP placement reliability and minimized repair costs.

Pathway Intelligent Robot Detection Upgrade

The Intelligent Robot Detection Upgrade helps prevent or reduce the severity of a robot crash. This smart solution detects when the robot on a PuroMaxx M80 or M800XP tool touches something with which it is not supposed to have contact, and instructs the robot springs to slow for a faster stop. This helps prevent catastrophic equipment damage by stopping the robot before it crashes entirely into the chamber or load port. Because full robot crashes require complex repairs and re-teaching, the ability to minimize collision severity reduces repair costs, tool downtime, and lost fab productivity.

The upgrade is conducted by certified Brooks Customer Service Engineers with extensive training and expertise in the areas of setup sensitivities, adjustments, and robot testing. The solution’s intelligent functionality, installed by skilled, experienced professionals, enables customers to realize accelerated time to value.

Additional upgrades to reduce idle DIW water flow will be available starting Q2’2021