Cleanroom, high precision parts to improve products
The Semiconductor industry is known for its enormous precision and the high requirements needed for parts. A lot of effort is put into developing complex machines with cutting edge technology. The production of these machines is mostly done with cleanroom grade requirements. Industrial 3D printing in high performance plastics like PEEK and lightweight materials like Aluminum create new functional possibilities.
Manifolds, internal channels
The flow of liquids and gasses within a semiconductor machine needs to have the least amount of turbulence possible. Reducing the weight of components as much as possible is another vital function as this enables faster and more accurate movement. Designs based on FEM analyses create enormous opportunities as the flow and force on a part can be used as starting points of a computer generated design. These designs can be produced in various industrial materials like PEEK, ABS, Aluminium, Stainless Steel, Titanium or Inconel.
Complex, lightweight components
Weight reduction of moving parts is one of the main advantages 3D printing has to offer for the semiconductor industry. E.g. The wafer stage can move fast whilst creating less vibrations. By using smart software to generate designs based on FEM analyses the design is strong enough for the functionality and as lightweight as possible. Parts can be printed in Titanium or fiber reinforced plastics. If needed quality control can be performed by X-ray.
The assembly of semiconductor machines needs to be done in cleanrooms. Using smart tools and toolboxes for Cleanroom grades 2 and 4 are a no-brainer. 3D printing can be used to quickly develop custom made, easy to use tools. Common materials used are PLA, ABS, PP and PC.
Validation of certain design proofs to be difficult when done on a screen. 3D printing a part immediately gives a validation of functionality, increasing the lead times of R&D departments. By 3D printing a physical (scale) model of an assembly a swift validation can be made, such as assembly check, part fitting and functionality checks.