Challenges in Human Factors Engineering of 300 mm Semiconductor Manufacturing and Equipment.

Macklin, Ronald (Applied Materials, Inc., Santa Clara, CA)
Junge, Maria (Clayton Group Services, Pleasanton, CA)

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As the Semiconductor Industry drives toward larger wafer sub-straights, there continues to be an increasing emphasis on maximizing floor space within the semiconductor fabrication plants, decreasing the room once available for maintenance activities. The increase of component size, due to larger wafer sizes, will affect equipment size thereby further influencing the footprint of equipment. Access to equipment for maintenance and repair will be smaller than ever before. Therefore, maintenance and service processes will have to be efficient, taking into account both size and capabilities of the operator/technician. 300 mm wafer fabrication alone is leading us to increase levels of automation. Human factors engineering and ergonomics must be important to both the equipment designer and the end user in order to optimize access and operation of equipment. From the design viewpoint, Applied Materials, Inc. is actively working on solutions to the challenges of small equipment footprints and tooling for maintenance and serviceability of larger and more complex systems. The issues of automation in semiconductor fabrication processes with human interaction are sometimes difficult to solve. The emphasis is on the Supplier Ergonomics Success Criteria (SESC) checklist within the SEMI S8 Safety Guidelines for Ergonomics Engineering of Semiconductor Manufacturing Equipment standard. The specific topics of concern to Applied Materials are (1) manual handling equipment for 300 mm components; (2) in-situ handling and maintenance aids; (3) human factor issues; (4) design of clean room compatible tools to properly and safely perform required operational or maintenance functions. Examples of each of these topics will be shown and discussed in detail. Recommendations for further improvements will also be addressed.

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