Overview of Flat Panel Display Manufacturing

Fox, Stephen; Brown, Al
(Rushbrook, Portland, OR)

The market for flat panel displays has grown rapidly in recent years, but little has been discussed of the fire and safety risks associated with the manufacturing process. While flat panel displays are currently manufactured almost exclusively in Asia, a number of US and European companies are key participants. Flat panel display manufacturing utilizes photolithography, etch, deposition and assembly technologies very similar to semiconductor device manufacturing. As a result, the risks associated with flat panel display manufacturing therefore often mirror those associated with semiconductor device manufacturing while at the same time presenting unique safety considerations due to the scale of the fabrication activities. For example, one of the latest platforms, Gen8, measures 2.16 meters by 2.46 meters. While there are many recognized safety and risk engineering standards supporting the semiconductor device manufacturing industry, there are few specifically for flat panel display manufacturing. This paper provides an overview of the flat panel display manufacturing process and highlights many of the associated safety hazards, focusing on similarities with semiconductor device fabrication, while identifying the unique considerations including: • High on-board chemical quantities • High process gas consumption, including bulk silane • Manufacturing equipment with larger physical dimensions • Larger open cleanrooms and much higher ceilings • Potential for increased use of plastics in construction • Large-scale robotics • Fume exhaust and smoke control systems • Linear assembly line manufacturing versus modular • Management of MFLs This paper will familiarize delegates with the flat panel display manufacturing process and terminology while demonstrating the similarities and differences with respect to semiconductor device manufacturing. It will identify opportunities for standards development and encourage discussion. Building on its semiconductor industry risk engineering expertise and knowledge, Rushbrook has been providing advice to prominent flat panel display manufacturers for many years and in many cases interpreting and applying standards that were originally designed for other cleanroom manufacturing operations with much smaller substrate, cleanrooms and chemical usage. This paper will highlight areas where standards are inconsistent with current LCD fabrication practice and indicate areas for further development.

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