Innovative platform redesign enables device makers to make critical system upgrades for currently installed legacy systems without interrupting processes of record.
Plasma-Therm, a manufacturer of plasma-process equipment for the semiconductor and compound semiconductor industries, announced it has received an order from a Japanese device maker for multiple systems built on Plasma-Therm’s newly redesigned Heatpulse rapid thermal processing (RTP) platform, launched in July at SEMICON West 2022. The Heatpulse systems will be used to manufacture silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFET power devices in Japan for electric vehicles (EVs) and other automotive applications.
The new platform continues to garner significant interest among Plasma-Therm’s global customer base to meet new processing demands and greater return on investment (ROI)—including multiple orders announced in Europe last month. The Japan-based customer selected Heatpulse RTP for its new dual-oven configuration, ability to reach temperatures over 1000 Celsius, as well as for its all-new Cortex® advanced monitoring and control software.
“Many device makers are struggling with supply-chain issues impacting their ability to meet current demand for spare parts, including for legacy installed Heatpulse systems. Our strategy is to provide our customers with a solution to modernize their existing installed systems and mitigate risk associated with sourcing spare parts,” said Jim Garstka, vice president of sales and business development for Plasma-Therm. “This allows customers to immediately benefit from critical system upgrades to boost performance and throughput, while keeping their existing processes running smoothly in production into the next decade.”
“We are continuing to see rapid growth in specialty markets for 200mm and smaller substrates, including for the power devices for automotive applications, with 6.2% growth in Japan projected by industry analysts,” said Hirokuni Shibata, Plasma-Therm Japan country manager. “With the majority of our Heatpulse legacy systems installed in Japan, we are excited to offer our customers immediate solutions to boost processing performance and ensure maximum tool uptime.”
The redesigned Heatpulse RTP platform is fully compatible with legacy AG Heatpulse 8108 and 8800 systems and existing processes. The flexible platform can accommodate multiple wafer sizes and features upgraded robotics and Plasma-Therm’s Cortex® process control software. With the dual-oven configuration, the new Heatpulse delivers higher throughput per square meter in a smaller footprint, enabling customers to realize higher ROI. The direct result is optimized production yields and capacity with maximized uptime during high-volume manufacturing. Additionally, the new Heatpulse RTP wafer size conversion kits are implemented, eliminating complicated, time-consuming system hardware changes to help further increase ROI and save time and money during conversion.