Energy Efficiency Improvement for Air Coils in the Microelectronics Industries

Jenkins, Brian; Carroll, Barry ; Clarke, Stephen
(Nalco Company, Naperville, IL)

The coils in air handlers are the primary heat transfer interface between the air inside the fab (semiconductor fabrication facility), and the HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) system. Air temperature and relative humidity control inside the fab is essential to ensure a consistent manufacturing environment. Inconsistent control of the manufacturing environment puts production quality in jeopardy. The air handlers are also a large consumer of energy in the fab. Ensuring optimum energy efficiency of these systems also helps fabs control their total operating costs, keeps fabs competitive, and reduces the fabs’ carbon footprint. Getting and keeping air coils clean can be challenging and are tasks that often fall off a fab’s priority list. Commonly encountered challenges include staffing sufficient personnel to tackle the task; using improper cleaning products that may damage the air coil fins; excessive pressure from the coil cleaning equipment that also damages the fins; insufficient penetration of the air coil bank, resulting in an ineffective cleaning; and poor or non-existent measurement and documentation of improvement of energy efficiency. A new air coil cleaning and efficiency measurement / documentation package has been developed which provides a safe, effective cleaning process as well as thorough energy savings data capture. Before and after photos and ROI calculation based on energy savings and reduction in CO2 production are presented.

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