PTO lets Evatec deliver new vacuum platform quickly
“Using PEER Group’s PTO cut our planned software engineering effort by more than 75%.”
Gaston Van Buuren, Radiance Project Leader at Evatec Ltd.
Evatec Ltd. is a global supplier of custom deposition and etch tools in the semiconductor, optoelectronic, and optical industries. Understanding that each customer has unique process and throughput requirements, Evatec developed a new multi-process cluster platform that provides a high degree of flexibility. Their new Radiance™ tool easily and inexpensively adapts to changes in substrate geometries, processes, and source requirements. Customers can configure the tool to meet their unique wafer flow needs as the platform easily accommodates adding or removing process chambers at any time.
Evatec’s challenge was to get the Radiance tool to market quickly with a limited engineering budget while adhering to strict quality and equipment reliability specifications. Evatec focused on their core competencies of hardware and thin film processes and looked for outside help with their software automation. After evaluating several options, they chose to work with PEER Group and their award-winning PEER Tool Orchestrator (PTO™) product. “Evatec’s configuration and scheduling requirements were quite sophisticated,” said Bill Schmalz, PEER Group’s Global OEM Sales Manager. “However, by adding some new features to PTO’s already flexible architecture, they were able to automate their new Radiance tool platform very quickly with a small engineering team.”
“Using PEER Group’s PTO cut our planned software engineering effort by more than 75%. More importantly, the PTO-based wafer transport solution architecture is even more flexible than our original design.” – Gaston Van Buuren, Project Leader, Radiance, Evatec Ltd.
PTO enables Evatec’s platform flexibility
Running in production at more than thirty 300mm fabs, PEER Group’s PTO is the leading tool automation solution for process, metrology, and inspection equipment, so Evatec was confident that PEER Group could accommodate any automation challenges they might encounter.
“We chose to work with PEER Group because PTO’s core services offered a flexible backbone for ground-up tool development. In fact, 80% of the software solution we required for our new Radiance platform was already built into PTO and PEER Group had already worked through many of the concepts we envisioned for the Radiance platform,” said Gaston Van Buuren, Evatec’s Radiance Project Leader. PEER Group has a successful history of implementing customer-specific solutions into PTO and maintaining them as part of the core product infrastructure. The remaining 20% of what Evatec needed was quickly added into the existing PTO architecture and is supported as standard product.
Wafer scheduling, vacuum control and data collection
Van Buuren cited three of PTO’s core services that were essential to the success of the new tool platform:
Dynamic wafer scheduling provided the tight wafer control and maximum flexibility they needed, allowing the new cluster platform to handle complex scheduling algorithms effortlessly, optimizing performance, and maximizing throughput. Because the new cluster platform is flexible enough to accommodate varying numbers of process chambers and wafer flows, the PTO wafer scheduling service was perfect for Evatec’s needs as it adapts easily to this “mix and match” approach to configuration. The dynamic wafer scheduling service handles parallel and serial wafer flows, collaborative, adjustable routing, and deadlock detection.
PTO’s vacuum control service offered a flexible means for supporting and controlling the Radiance tool’s low pressure processing environment. The operation of pumps, valves, and interlock checks are seamlessly integrated with the overall scheduling flow of wafers.
PTO’s comprehensive data collection infrastructure enables simultaneous access of data from multiple sources, including deposition sources, metrology heads, and vacuum hardware. Sharing data with the host or displaying and charting on the user interface is easy and completely configurable.
Successful product launch
The Radiance platform was designed to offer a range of reconfiguration options, enabling unparalleled possibilities for its users. It can be modified easily and inexpensively by configuring a variety of process and metrology chambers to meet varying process and production needs. By relying on the outside help provided by PEER Group, Evatec’s new platform was completed quickly, meeting its product launch deadline. Van Buuren concludes, “We could not have done it without PTO and the PEER Group engineering team. They were an integral part of our success.”
About Evatec Ltd.
Evatec offers complete solutions for thin film deposition and etch in the optical and semiconductor markets. With a technology portfolio including standard and enhanced evaporation, sputter, PECVD and high density plasma etch, Evatec engineers deliver customized batch and cluster systems for R&D, prototyping and mass production. They provide sales and service through a global network of local offices. For more information, visit www.evatecnet.com.