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Vacuum Isolation Valves

Properly maintaining your vacuum isolation valves can prevent production shut downs.  Semigroup’s vacuum isolation valve repair service can ensure minimal down time and loss of revenue for your business.

The last thing you need in a production environment is to unexpectedly have to take your complete machine out of production for 48 – 72 hours all because your Vacuum Isolation Valves failed prematurely.

Why is it so important that you regularly test, maintain and refurbish your Vacuum Isolation Valves? In the most basic explanation, it’s all the lost revenue, efficiency & profitability that could have been prevented!

There are two realities when it comes to your semiconductor equipment – one is good, one is NOT SO MUCH!  Let’s look at a few examples to better understand what happens with Vacuum Isolation Valves:

Scenario 1

Imagine you have loads of production wafers all waiting in the queue for your next step in the process (Metal Plasma Etch), and you suddenly have a vacuum pump fail.  If you’re lucky, it’s located on your floor and not in the basement of your factory 2 to 3 stories beneath your machine.  In most newer factories around the world, your vacuum pumps are located in the basement 2 or 3 floors beneath you with long vacuum forelines feeding up the the production machine.

What’s my next step?  Easy – just close off your Vacuum Isolation Valve (that should be directly above your vacuum pump as in the picture below), swap out the vacuum pump and within minutes, you are back up and running.  Now you can you can keep the Metal Etch Reactor doing its job.  That’s how it’s supposed to work.

vacuum isolation valve repair gate valve repair

Scenario #2

In this unfortunate example, imagine your  vacuum pump fails, AND your Vacuum Isolation Valve also fails and leaks. It WILL NOT CLOSE.   Now I cannot isolate my vacuum pump from the Metal Etch Process Chamber.  Even worse, it’s several floors below you.  Now I have several major problems.

Potential Problems

Problem #1 – Production must stop on this machine until I can get another vacuum pump installed.  When production stops, so does revenue.

Problem #2 – Unfortunately, very bad things happen when the process chemicals like Chlorine (CL2), Boron TriChloride (BCL3) have to be vented to atmosphere. Not only will you have to open the Metal Etch Process Chamber and do what is called a “Wetclean” (Metal Etch Chamber “Wetclean”),you also may have to clean all of the vacuum lines between that vacuum pump and your chamber. This process could take you out of production for sometimes 72 hours! That’s an eternity for the production environment.  Lost revenue, lost efficiency, lost profit – and a lot of man hours needed to clean and pump everything back down before you can even qualify this chamber to run production. Oh but wait, there’s more!  In addition to all that, you will most likely have to replace the process kit in that chamber as well (Ceramics, Chamber Liners, Electrostatic Chuck etc…) All because your vacuum isolation valve no longer provided the necessary “isolation” between your vacuum pump and your chamber above.

If these scenarios and problems sound familiar, contact SemiGroup today so our experts can help get your equipment back to excellent working condition.

Prevention is the Key

The reality is that parts malfunction or go bad.  We all know that.  But wouldn’t you rather be in Scenario 1 and not Scenario 2?

The key to preventing extended down times is keeping your equipment regularly and professionally maintained .  Even if you believe your equipment is in good working condition, regularly scheduled maintenance is strongly recommended.

SemiGroup is the trusted resource for maintaining and refurbishing semiconductor parts and equipment.

Our process includes cleaning, testing for helium leaks, refurbishing and function testing each “Vacuum Isolation Valve” before we return it to our customers.

SemiGroup performs services on “Manual Style”,  “Pneumatic Style” and “Electric Style” isolation valves manufacturers by Edwards, VAT, MKS, manufactured Gate Valves.

Contact SemiGroup today and get your equipment restored to OEM specifications.

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