DISCO Corporation opened a new mid-process research center on July 1, 2023.

As the wafers on which circuits are built in the front-end process of semiconductor manufacturing have extremely high added-value, high yield is required in the processes that follow. Among these processes, in the grinding (wafer thinning) and dicing (wafer singulation through cutting) processes handled by DISCO, there is a risk that one processing failure may cause the entire wafer’s quality to deteriorate.

Therefore, caution and accuracy are required for operations such as processing and transfer in particular. In addition, if a large number of defects occur in the back-end process, most of the time, alternative wafers cannot immediately be supplied from the front-end process. As a result, this may have a significant impact on the entire supply chain and become a large issue in the lean manufacturing of the automotive industry.

Recognizing these issues, DISCO has newly positioned these processes that are conventionally in the back-end process of semiconductor manufacturing as part of the “mid-process,” and has been proceeding with R&D in this area.

DISCO has officially established the mid-process research center as a site to conduct R&D for the mid-process and perform demonstrations for customers. This center has permanent installations of the wafer transfer system RoofWay as well as the cluster system MUSUBI, and research is underway to reduce the equipment operator’s responsibilities and improve semiconductor wafer processing and transfer quality through automation of the production system.

As semiconductor use in automotive applications is increasing, stricter quality management is being required for semiconductors as well, as they are responsible for the user’s life. Therefore, through this center, DISCO will aim at realizing a production system that eliminates operator intervention as much as possible in order to reduce quality variation that arises from human involvement.

The mid-process research center is a facility that makes verification of unmmaned processes possible by connecting a series of processes with a fully automatic transfer robot. The processes include thinning using a grinder, singulation using dicing saws and laser saws, and pickup, inspection, and measurement of die.

The mid-process research center has been partially open since December 2021, and during the time until the official opening, DISCO has been improving the level of the system by incorporating the valuable opinions of some of the invited customers. Now, as some time has passed from when the category of COVID-19 was downgraded and reclassified as a level 5 infectious disease, DISCO felt that it was finally possible to proactively welcome visitors to the center, and thus decided to make an official announcement for the opening of the center.

Original – DISCO