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Hittech’s Innovative Showcases

Hittech has attended all Precisiebeurs editions since the first one, 23 years ago. This year, you can find us there at booth nr. 333, where we will present two showcases from the development and production for the semiconductor industry: a wafer Loading System and a level sensor.

The vacuum-compatible wafer handling demonstrator concerns a load-lock with a dual robotic arm for loading and unloading wafer carriers to a litho-tool. A dedicated development focused on limited volume and cost, while taking into account stringent requirements with respect to cleanliness and reliability. Roelof Jongeneel, our Senior Mechatronic Designer, highlights the compactness and the placement accuracy of well below 2mm. “We have been able to reduce the cost and complexity of the system due to a combined actuation by which 5-DOF actuation is realized with just two actuators, while Assembly time of the robotic arms was minimized by optimization on production tolerances leading to alignment-free integration.”

In a proof-of-concept study last year, we developed a cost-efficient level sensor designed explicitly for semiconductor applications. Fred Couweleers, our Senior Optical Designer with 40 years of experience, explains: “Our goal was to create an optical level sensor based on low coherence interferometry, using standard parts. The sensor should be capable of measuring wafer height changes of 50 nm (resolution) over a vertical range of 300 μm (peak-to-peak). It turned out that deriving the wafer height from the optical sensor signals (signal processing) is not trivial in the presence of noise and changes in signal shape related to wafer height.”

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