Predictive Maintenance of Pins in the ECD Equipment for Cu Deposition in the Semiconductor Industry

Nowadays, Predictive Maintenance is a mandatory tool to reduce the cost of production in the semiconductor industry. This paper considers as a case study a critical part of the electrochemical deposition system, namely, the four Pins that hold a wafer inside a chamber. The aim of the study is to replace the schedule of replacement of Pins presently based on fixed timing (Preventive Maintenance) with a Hardware/Software system that monitors the conditions of the Pins and signals possible conditions of failure (Predictive Maintenance). The system is composed of optical sensors endowed with an image processing methodology. The prototype built for this study includes one optical camera that simultaneously takes images of the four Pins on a roughly daily basis. Image processing includes a pre-processing phase where images taken by the camera at different times are coregistered and equalized to reduce variations in time due to movements of the system and to different lighting conditions. Then, some indicators are introduced based on statistical arguments that detect outlier conditions of each Pin. Such indicators are pixel-wise to identify small artifacts. Finally, criteria are indicated to distinguish artifacts due to normal operations in the chamber from issues prone to a failure of the Pin. An application (PINapp) with a user friendly interface has been developed that guides industry experts in monitoring the system and alerting in case of potential issues. The system has been validated on a plant at STMicroelctronics in Catania (Italy). The study allowed for understanding the mechanism that gives rise to the rupture of the Pins and to increase the time of replacement of the Pins by a factor at least 2, thus reducing downtime.
Tipo pubblicazione
Altri Autori
Amato, Umberto and Antoniadis, Anestis and De Feis, Italia and Fazio, Domenico and Genua, Caterina and Gijbels, Irne and Granata, Donatella and La Magna, Antonino and Pagano, Daniele and Tochino, Gabriele and Vasquez, Patrizia
Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI),
Sensors (Basel)