Product Highlight



Genmark Automation provides the technology to slashes the time needed to calibrate a typical semiconductor manufacturing tool from hours to minutes. This Automated Teaching Technology, or Autoteach for short, does not require huge additional capital investments in the form of complex tool modifications and expensive third party equipment. The Autoteach eliminates the subjectivity of the manual teaching, ensuring safe and fast manipulation on the production material.

Every time a semiconductor tool is down for repair or for a schedule maintenance, the Fab operating the tool is loosing huge amount of money because of the added cost of the repair, and the missed revenue. A considerable amount of this downtime is actually reserved for calibration of the Automated Material Handler (Robot), which is a common part of the semiconductor tools. Moreover, if this calibration is not performed correctly, the robot can damage the transferred material, destroying a product worth of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

How it works:

Autoteach, through its hardware and software resources, calculates the absolute XYZ coordinates of the center of the wafer at a pickup location into coordinates, understandable to the robot control system.  To get the pickup location coordinates, Autoteach is using the geometry of the given End Effector, and four through-beam sensors (Figure 1) - two horizontal and two vertical. The horizontal sensors define a plane with known relation to the plane of the wafer at the pickup location, while the vertical ones define the line perpendicular to the wafer plane, drawn through the center of that wafer, and the angle of approach to retrieve or deliver the wafer to that location.

By executing a predefined sequence of motions, the robot crosses the beams with its End Effector and latches the beams coordinates to the robot coordinate frame. Based on those latched coordinates, and on the known absolute (XYZ) coordinates of the beams, Genmark control software calculates the coordinates of the center of the wafer in the robot coordinate space.

The entire process of calibration a pickup location is initiated by a single robot command, send to the robot controller, and it does not require any calculations or additional intervention by the host software of the tool. This means that all the operator has to do is to tap on a button of the touch screen of the GUI of the tool, or enter a command at the command line of the Genmark Robot control utility.

On average a tool will accumulate about 250 hour of downtime just for robot calibration for 5 years in production. This will cost at least $50,000 for the labor only, and millions in lost potential revenue.With the ROI completed at the moment the tool is ready to start production, and given the fact that the Autoteach greatly reduces the tool downtime, increasing its profitability, it is no wonder that the Autoteach is the preferred choice for many of the Genmark's customers.