Communications are key to Harvesting Fab Energy Savings

Adam Stover
(Edwards and University of Bristol, UK)

There are many examples in modern life in which energy savings can be achieved when there is no activity happening; office lights which come on only when there is movement in front of sensors, washroom hand dryers which only operate when there are moving hands beneath the sensor, automobile engines which switch off when the car stops at red traffic lights and then re-start when the driver’s foot is applied to the accelerator pedal to name just three. In all these examples, the key to unlocking utility savings is the application of “go to sleep” and “wake-up again” signals. The same can be applied to semiconductor fabs too. There are times when wafer processing tools (such as CVD, etch etc.) are not actually processing wafers, such as waiting for wafers to arrive from preceding processing steps, during maintenance activities and so on. During such times, in principle, energy could be saved in supporting equipment such as vacuum pumps and gas abatement systems, but only when the correct signalling is in place. This paper will investigate how such savings can be realised by the provision of suitable standardised signals and specifically consider: 1. What signals can be provided? 2. How much energy could be saved? 3. Will this impact my process? and will conclude by making some practical suggestions for implementing such savings.

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