Semi Fab Eliminates Air Leaks with Easy to Install Manifold Retrofit Kits

Case Study Overview/Challenge: Compressed Dry Air Leaking Regularly Across All Platforms

One of Valin Corporation’s semi fab customers had an all-too-common problem with their pneumatic manifolds … air leaks. The Compressed Dry Air (CDA) was leaking regularly across all platforms.  Not only are these leaks a problem operationally, but they’re also very difficult to access from a maintenance standpoint. In order to access the manifolds, maintenance personnel need to squeeze themselves into a very confined place. Additionally, in order to replace one valve on the manifold, all the other valves need to be shut off to avoid additional leaks from manifesting. 

These leaks were a headache, to say the least. The technicians of the customer didn't dare leave them unaddressed as the cost would be exponential in terms of wafer damage. When wafers in the semiconductor industry are damaged, they must be discarded. Every discarded wafer represents a cost that cannot be recovered.  Avoiding wafer scrap is always a priority at semi fabs, as each wafer goes through several processes for weeks to obtain a final product.

So, customer came to Valin looking for a viable solution.

Solution: Pneumatic Manifold Retrofit Kits

Valin introduced the customer to its new Pneumatic Manifold Retrofit Kits to help solve the problem. By nature of the kit’s design, it has 150 Million+ life cycles and no exposed PCB. The fit, form and function of the manifold remains the same, and there is no fabrication or other items needed.

This manifold also has a feature to individually shut off each valve station, allowing individual valves to be isolated and shut off one at a time.  By allowing for this flexibility, the retrofit kit prevents adjacent process chamber conditions from changing, preventing wafer damage during the process.

Valin provided easy-to-follow, plug-and-play installation instructions that took away all the frustration the customer anticipated during the upgrade. It was difficult to fathom how a replacement solution that provided such impactful, noticeable benefits could be so easy to install.

Results: Leaks Elimated with Easy to Install Pneumatic Manifold Retrofit Kits

Valin’s Pneumatic Manifold Retrofit Kit upgrade eliminated the issue customer had with the CDA leaks.  Before the upgrade, the customer was averaging 2-3 leaks per month that needed to be monitored and addressed immediately to avoid scrap. Since the upgrade, they have not experienced a single leak. Thus, the upgrades not only gave peace of mind in terms of the risk of defective wafers but also significantly cut down on the time required for regular valve maintenance.

A process that used to take 20-30 minutes to change each failed valve now will only take five minutes when necessary. On an average 18 hours could be saved annually on maintenance through this solution.

I would highly recommend the Valin Pneumatic Manifold Retrofit Kits.  Since upgrading to Valin’s manifold solution, our leak problem has all but been eliminated. However, what I think separates this solution from any other that may be on the market is the ease of installation. I was dreading the frustration that would come along with upgrading our manifolds. But with Valin’s solution, it couldn’t have been easier. Although Valin’s experts were so knowledgeable and could walk us through any questions we had, the instructions were so incredibly easy to follow, we didn’t need much guidance. I would recommend this solution to anyone who has leak issues, frequent coil failures, sourcing coils with their pneumatic manifolds or would like to avoid them in the future.”

Semi Fab Equipment Engineer