Selecting Semiconductor Gas Delivery Equipment: Why Your Vendor Partnership Matters in Northern California
by Malik Durojaiye, on 11/16/21 9:00 AM
The gas delivery equipment used for semiconductor plants needs to meet a range of specifications based on the type of chemicals used in operations, the pressure and temperature reached throughout processing, and the flow of gasses and liquids. Issues with gas delivery system components could result in costly delays in operations. As such, it is imperative to be able to replace components quickly and seamlessly, to have those components meet safety and compliance regulations, and to have those components operate efficiently for semiconductor fabrication needs. A trusted local vendor can provide expert guidance for selecting semiconductor gas delivery equipment that best suits your operational needs.
Quality Components for Semiconductor Gas Delivery Equipment
High-quality long-lasting gas delivery equipment and components ensure that operations are running at peak efficiency while minimizing maintenance issues and costs. Some of the major components involved in having a long-lasting and effective gas delivery system include cylinders, tubing and fittings, and seal panels. Here we will discuss the role and importance of each of these components.
Cylinders and Cylinder Ancillary Components
High quality cylinders are important for preventing gas leaks, delivering gas to the system, and preventing the release of gas pollutants into the atmosphere. The pressure from gas in cylinders often reaches high levels and cylinders need to be rated for the appropriate pressure and temperature. Cylinders also need to be tested regularly to make sure they reach these specifications. For cylinders to deliver gas effectively and safely, it is recommended that cylinders have a bypass line (to purge chemicals) and quick connects to allow for safe disconnecting from the system.
There are many benefits to having a local sample cylinder vendor; they include:
- Allowing a semiconductor plant to quickly increase testing based on changes to consumer demands and increasing operations
- Allowing a plant to seamlessly update their processes by allowing for fast changes to fabrication specifications for cylinders and attachments to cylinders
- Allowing a plant to quickly acquire more cylinders when limitations occur due to DOT testing lapses, cylinders not being cleaned thoroughly, and damage to cylinders
A lack of cylinders can slow or shut down operations. Having a local vendor allows for a fast response to sample cylinder issues and could potentially prevent a plant from slowing down operations.
Tubing and Tube Fittings
Though often overlooked, the tubing for gas delivery is extremely important for the effective long-term delivery of gas. When considering the type of tubing to utilize, it is important to consider the gasses being used, the optimal flow of the gas, and the pressure specifications within the system. The tubing should be composed of materials that do not react or corrode with gasses in the systems. Further, the size of the tubing should correspond with the ideal pressure and flow of the gas in the system. Intermixing tube fittings and parts is one of the most common causes of failure. Working with a vendor that specializes in tubing and tube fittings can eliminate the chance of disparate parts.
With a trusted tube fitting vendor, you can avoid critical and costly issues from:
- Leakage: Excellent gas-tight sealing and consistent reassembly help ensure tight process control to maximize operating efficiency and product output.
- Vibration: Fittings that undergo case-hardening and are designed with back-ferrule geometry provide excellent vibration fatigue resistance—even in harsh environments or stressful applications, such as compressor and process impulse lines.
- Thermal Shock: Fittings with an elastic, live-loaded design compensate for changes in temperature during system start-up and shutdown and help eliminate leakage related to rapid thermal expansion or contraction.
- Improper Installation: Simple installation, combined with consistent gaugeability upon initial installation, minimizes installation error.
There are many options for valves for gas delivery. These valves can offer a continuous flow of gas, a semi-continuous flow of gas, or a discrete flow of gas with the ability to shut off gas flow. When selecting control valves for safe and efficient operations, the application of the valve, the operation design specifications, the amount of pressure and temperature in operations, and the substance used in operations must all be taken into account.
An expert in control valves and refinery operations can help identify the optimal control valve based on the intended purpose of processing. Ultimately, the proper choice in a control valve will reduce maintenance costs and mitigate production delays. It is therefore ideal to work with an expert to get a fully optimal control valve based on your operational needs.
Gas panels monitor the characteristics of gas as they flow through the system. Changes to the pressure, temperature, and flow of gas may all indicate potential issues in the system such as leaks or the presence of a contaminant. Gas panels may also have alarms that notify personnel of leaks occurring. They provide a means to ensure that gas delivery is occurring effectively while also keeping operators safe and preventing leaks to the atmosphere.
Beyond monitoring, gas panels also play an important role to maintain the proper flow of gas. Gas panels are the first pressure reduction of the source gas. By utilizing pressure regulators, gas panels can alter the flow, pressure, and temperature of the gas to fit optimal standards. Beyond this, if continuous gas flow is needed, an automatic changeover panel system could be utilized to seamlessly switch between gas sources without the need for stopping the flow of gas.
Communicating your gas panel design specifications to your vendor can help to ensure reliable and efficient gas distribution from a strategically designed configuration with proper materials of construction.
These components—cylinders, tubing and tube fittings, valves, and panels—and the gas delivery system in which they support, should integrate seamlessly to provide efficient delivery of gasses for your production needs. A local vendor will help with the selection of gas delivery equipment, making sure components integrate seamlessly with the gas delivery system.
The Benefits of Having a Local Semiconductor Gas Delivery Equipment Vendor
There are many benefits to having a local vendor for your gas delivery system needs. A local expert can help determine the preferred components based on space limitations (for example the number of cylinders could be limited by space, and this may cause an issue with a continuous gas flow process as cylinders are used up). Further, a local expert can help with the selection of valves and tubing to best fit with operational pressure and flow needs. Perhaps most importantly, a local expert can offer consultations regarding replacing components and determining underlying issues as unexpected problems occur.
A quality local vendor can also provide assurance of their products—such as a lifetime warranty. In addition, the proximity of geography from a local vendor has added benefits to quickly get operations up and running when issues do arise. By being geographically close, local vendors can rapidly deliver components when needed. A local vendor can also, due to being geographically close, send an expert to swiftly assess the situation and component needs to resume successful operations.
A Local Vendor for Your Semiconductor Gas Delivery Equipment Needs
Swagelok has the experts and quality gas delivery system equipment for your semiconductor fabrication needs. Swagelok Field Engineers offer guidance on seamlessly incorporating components into existing systems. Swagelok is also the leader in tube fittings and can utilize that expertise to mitigate failure and ensure operations run safely and efficiently.
The geographic proximity of Swagelok to Northern California operations provides a means for components to be quickly transported to the plant and for experts to be quickly dispatched to troubleshoot if issues arise. Further, Swagelok is one of the leaders in supplying components for semiconductor plants that are backed by a lifetime warranty.
About Malik Durojaiye | Field Engineer, Assembly Services
Malik Durojaiye began his Swagelok career in 2019 as a Custom Solutions Engineer in our Assembly Services group. Prior to Swagelok, Malik developed as a design engineer as well as a manufacturing engineer for 6 years serving Kentucky and California with Altec Industries; a leading provider of products and services to the electric utility, telecommunications, tree care, lights and signs, and contractor markets.