Semiconductors are an essential part of almost every electronic device we rely on in the modern world: computers, cell phones, vehicles, microwaves, washing machines — the list goes on. When there are shortages due to a lack of material or slow production, that delay is felt up the supply chain by every consumer who’s buying a new phone, renting a vehicle, you name it.
In recent years, Americans have felt that pain. Fortunately, the CHIPS and Science Act that was passed in August 2022 will help put those shortages to an end — as it provided over $50 billion in funding for semiconductor manufacturing here in the States.
But that’s not the only factor that will help get new cars back on sales lots and lower the costs of a new iPhone. We must also ensure that semiconductor chip manufacturers are equipped with expertly designed, highly controlled cleanrooms for safe and efficient production.
The Value of Semiconductor Cleanrooms
A cleanroom is an enclosed space where contaminant airborne particles are filtered out and other environmental conditions are controlled in order to ensure the cleanest work area possible. For better results in semiconductor manufacturing and assembly, cleanrooms can provide the best environment for productive, efficient, and safe work to take place.
Semiconductor manufacturing is an incredibly intricate process as semiconductor materials are highly susceptible to damage from environmental factors like:
- Airborne particles (even the smallest speck of dust can be detrimental!)
- Air pressure
- Equipment outgassing
In fact, semiconductor manufacturing is a cleanroom application that requires one of the highest levels of environmental control. In most cases, semiconductor cleanrooms must comply with ISO Class 4-6 requirements. However, not all processes need this level of control. The packaging, assembly, and testing of circuits or chips could be performed in ISO class 7 or ISO class 8 cleanrooms.
A cleanroom is truly the only space a semiconductor can be safely handled before it’s installed in its intended device. If exposed to any of the threats listed above, semiconductor materials will be ruined, and you’ll suffer the consequences of product failures and production downtime.
Cleanrooms are designed to establish strict control over the environment and maintain that control at all times. With powerful filtration and HVAC systems working to replace the air with clean, treated, and virtually particle-free air, you can trust the environment to remain stable while employees are completing their sensitive work.
All materials used in cleanroom construction are specifically sourced to be non-particle shedding and non outgassing. They’re chosen for durability and performance in any conditions. They won’t degrade or corrode due to cleaning, impact, or regular use.
Consistent Product Quality
Silicon wafers are extremely vulnerable, where even a single particle of dust can corrupt an entire chip or device. When you can rely on steady temperature, relative humidity, and air quality levels, product quality can also remain steady, even increase.
A repeatable environment produces a better yield of quality products. Scaling production is a matter of replicating the conditions required to produce excellent quality semiconductors.
Safer Working Conditions
A cleanroom and its classification standards protect the products being manufactured from failure due to contamination, but they also create a safer environment for workers to perform tasks in semiconductor cleanrooms, which can involve handling toxic materials and highly sensitive processes.
Ultimately, fewer product failures and consistent quality pays off. With the risk of losses and injury reduced, your company can enjoy significant savings.
Semiconductor cleanrooms are not cheap to implement and operate, but they can secure profitability in ways you can’t replicate with other control methods. A high-quality cleanroom can streamline semiconductor manufacturing.
To learn more about semiconductor cleanrooms and get help designing your own, contact the cleanroom experts at Angstrom Technology. We design, build, and install cleanrooms for a wide variety of industries to meet any classification standard. Our cleanrooms are the turnkey solution you’ve been looking for. Get a free quote for your project today.