Measuring the Energy Consumption of a Semiconductor Processing Tool and Ways to Reduce Costs and Conserve Energy

Castile, Jeremy ; Alaoui, Mohamed; Kryska, Paul
(Novellus Systems, Inc., Tualatin, OR)

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The rising cost of energy is receiving more attention in the semiconductor community than ever before. This trend underlines the importance of a comprehensive energy measurement program that characterizes a processing tool’s energy requirements and consumption. This paper addresses the methods and measurements used by Novellus engineers to accurately obtain energy and utility consumption data and it presents an ongoing program that is aimed at reducing the cost of the utility consumption per wafer pass and improving the tool and facility system’s design. Techniques for reviewing the electrical schematics of a tool to identify the key energy consuming components and at which point different measurements should be taken are presented. The paper covers what measurement equipment is needed and which settings are optimal for taking energy readings. With a focus on safety, a step-by-step test procedure is outlined and covers pre-test inspection, how to install the measurement equipment, considerations for test set-up such as: proximity of test equipment to the tool, placement of current and potential transformers within an enclosure and ensuring proper orientation. The paper addresses methods to analyze and quantify the data once it’s been collected. Formulas are presented for calculating Real Energy Consumption (kWh), Energy per Wafer Pass (kWh/wafer) and Energy Consumed during Process and Idle. This paper provides a better understanding of the energy footprint associated with equipment sets and rationale for why this knowledge is essential for both equipment manufacturers and semiconductor manufacturers who are seeking to improve their products’ energy and financial performance. Case studies are provided showing how cost savings can be achieved. These savings can be recurring such as implementing an Active Utility Control that sends the pump and the abatement into a standby mode and reduces the utilities consumption during periods when the tool is idle. This can save more than 30% of the pumps and abatement total energy. There are also one-time savings such as resizing the main circuit breaker of the tool or installing more efficient RF generators and chillers.

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