Fire Risk Mitigation for Integral IPA Dryers – Using Engineering controls versus Gaseous Fire Suppression

McDaid, Raymond *; Wyman, Matt*
(Applied Materials, Santa Clara, CA, Koetter Fire Protection, Dallas, TX)

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IPA (Isopropyl Alcohol) liquid has been historically used to dry and clean wafers after various processes in the fabrication of semiconductors. Because of the storage and distribution of this flammable liquid (flash point 45°F), regulatory and insurance requirements have historically required CO2 fire suppression within the process equipment in order to achieve acceptable risk in regards to fire mitigation. The development of new processing equipment with integral IPA dryers, has given rise to increased productivity and has allowed processing at smaller geometries, i.e. 65nm and below, however it has also introduced a new set of concerns that need to be addressed. In the design of the Applied Materials CMP tool, we have utilized the latest fire protection technology, and have incorporated the flexibility of new regulatory codes to effectively reduce the fire risk without using fire suppression agent, while still satisfying both AHJ and Insurance company requirements. This case study will demonstrate how Applied Materials has been successful in the design and integration, of an IPA dryer into a CMP tool by implementation of various engineering controls such as containment, restricted flow, exhaust ventilation, LEL and fire detection. Thereby reducing the fire risks to a mutually acceptable level for the equipment, personnel, and facility. We will also demonstrate the benefits associated with removal of the fire suppression system and agent, as well demonstrating the integration of the fire controls to meet NFPA and local jurisdiction requirements.

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