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25 Years of Precision

“We started producing the carrier handler in the picture for the semicon industry almost 25 years ago”, explains Philip Bakker, our director of Marketing & Sales. “A carrier handler handles and positions FOUP’s (Front Opening Unified Pods) in which wafers (thin slices of semiconductors) are stored and transported during the manufacturing of microchips.

Our Director of Operations, Peter Reijneker, headed the development of the first version in 1999 for our client ASML. “I can’t imagine it has been that long”, Peter says. “In those days, the standard for wafers was shifting from 200mm to 300mm. The challenge was to move the FOUP, a plastic carrier that stores 25 wafers in a controlled environment, from the standard operator working height of 90 cm outside of the machine, to the wafer processing height of 30 cm inside of the machine. Our handler has five controlled axes to do that, making it a nice showcase of mechatronics that has remained highly effective even after almost 25 years since its conception.”

Peter explains why the carrier handler needs those five axes: “The first two axes we call the Lift Z and Lift R and they move the FOUP in and out of the machine to the operator. Once inside the machine the three next axes are used to engage the FOUP door and subsequently unlock and remove the FOUP door. After opening the door, the Lift Z is used in combination with a laser sensor to make an inventory of the FOUP. We know exactly where all wafers are located, and the individual wafers can be presented to the wafer handler robot at a very precise take over position.”

Philip emphasizes Hittech’s high testing standards: “Before we deliver the carrier handler, they are extensively tested, including an 8-hour endurance cycle test. It’s what our colleague Robin van Eijk is working on in the image. We’re introducing a lot of new products and volumes are increasing, so we are constantly looking for extra clean-room system test engineers.

People who like to work on these high-tech machines, please get in touch with Madri Singh. There’s a link to the job opening in the comments.

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