Manufacturing microelectronics

Present in almost all electronic devices, semiconductor chips are integral to a modern, digital world. But with their small size and rising demand, how can we ensure their manufacture is done with both precision?

Here, Dave Walsha, sales manager at DC motor supplier EMS explains.

Semiconductors are at the heart of enabling a connected, digital world. But supply has been problematic, with sudden spikes in demand making it hard for manufacturers to keep up.

In every step of the chip’s manufacture and final assembly, automation is at the centre of movement. And the demands placed on automated machinery are high.

For instance, robotic arms tasked with assembling chips must operate with precision at every stage, whether that’s ensuring the circuit layers line up perfectly on top of one another or applying just the right amount of resin. The hair-thin wires forming the electrical connections must be measured, cut and placed accurately to ensure minimal wastage and a high-quality finish. Yet they must also be handled with care, as their fragility means they are easily bent or broken.

The challenge, therefore, is finding a suitable drive system that offers this high degree of precision. The motors must have a high reliability, with a long service life. The sensitivity of the semiconductor chips means that they should also operate with minimal vibration to avoid any deviation from the desired circuit pattern.

FAULHABER’s BX4 series of brushless DC servomotors is ideal for such applications. Offering a dynamic start/stop operation with minimal noise and vibration, the BX4 range is ideal for such sensitive applications. The absence of brushes reduces the level of required maintenance, and results in a more energy-efficient motor. Encoders can be incorporated with the motors to guarantee accurate position and placement, helping to minimise errors and further improve semiconductor quality and yield.

With new applications being found for electronics every single day, the demand for semiconductors is unlikely to slow. With the right technology on the assembly line, keeping the manufacturing process running smoothly doesn’t need to be a headache.