A leading manufacturer of precision technologies for the semiconductor industry was developing an advanced wafer probing inspection machine. With semiconductors, everything must be minuscule, which is especially challenging for motion control. By using an Elmo servo drive that was tiny and robust enough to work from within moving loads, the company eliminated parts, reduced costs, and boosted throughput.

Read this case study to learn about how Elmo servo drives:

  • Can be mounted inside a machine, eliminating cables and the electrical box, and reducing machine footprint by 30%.
  • Create negligible EMI, canceling the need for external filters, and boosting performance.
  • Significantly reduce machine settling time, with no need for extra cooling methods, enabling a more energy-efficient machine.

Machine requirements

The machine has an XY stage with a total over 15 axes of motion. The wafer probing measurements need to be extremely accurate, and therefore electrical noise within the system had to be kept to a minimum. The customer wanted to avoid using external EMI elimination components, which are bulky, expensive, and require extensive time to develop, assemble and test.

In addition, they wanted to achieve a settling time of less than 30ms and stand-still jitter of less than 100nm, all while improving overall throughput.

The Elmo Motion control solution included:

The customer selected the Gold Solo Bell servo drive because it was tiny enough to be mounted within the machines and on moving loads, and robust enough to withstand the mechanical shocks and high acceleration that occur there. Installing the drives inside the machines eliminates the need for cables and cable-carriers running in and out of the machine, and removes the need for an electrical box. Eliminating these elements resulted in an overall machine size reduction of approximately 30%.

Using the Gold Solo Bell, the machine’s settling time was reduced to less than 10ms and stand-still jitter to less than 20nm, significantly below the requirements. The drive’s extreme power conversion efficiency made the machine itself more efficient, eliminating the need for energy-consuming cooling methods which often require ongoing maintenance. With Elmo’s negligible EMI, the bulky, expensive filters also became obsolete, resulting in a leaner, better-performing machine. The customer was able to achieve the desired performance without investing time and effort in developing and testing EMI reduction solutions for a complex environment.

The Platinum Maestro was chosen as the master controller for the machine’s motion axes. The combined capabilities of excellent servo drives and multi-axis control capability reduced the time between probes, significantly boosting overall throughput.

The outcome

With Elmo products handling all the motion control, the customer was able to create a smaller machine with better performance at a lower cost. Elmo’s motion control solutions led to significant savings, as the wafer probe testing machine developer did not need external devices to reduce electromagnetic interference or external cooling and ventilation components.

This project is a great example of how it is possible to cut costs through innovative motion technology, while also significantly improving the overall machine productivity. This was achieved without having to change any of the existing machine mechanics, but rather by focusing on better servo drive control, along with Elmo’s capabilities in efficiency, negligible EMI operation, and robust operation.

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