International Resistive Company, Inc.
IRC's Advanced Film Division has undertaken a project to upgrade the photolithography capabilities of its Corpus Christi operation. Batch, hand operated processes have been replaced by automatic wet process equipment that: 1)greatly reduced human contact with hazardous substances, 2) reduced total use of chemicals and water, 3) improved yields through improved process repeatability. In addition, many hazardous chemicals were also replaced with nonhazardous materials that perform comparable functions.
Four processes, substrate wash, photoresist strip, photoresist develop and metal etch have been automated. Substrate wash and photoresist strip operations used acetone as the process chemical. (It has been replaced with a proprietary aqueous solution containing no hazardous materials.)
This process greatly reduced worker exposure to hazardous materials and reduced the amount of hazardous waste generated by 5-7 tons per year. Because the process is more efficient, de-ionized water use was reduced by 5,000 gal/month.
Details of Reductions
Additional Information :
Because the new tools have no open tanks of process chemicals, their exhaust requirements are less than half those of open benches, reducing operating cost by reducing conditioned air lost to exhaust. The total cost of the new aqueous solvent was equal to the previous solvent cost. The $326,000 project will have a payback period of approximately two years; the payback is based on projected yield improvements, reduced waste disposal costs and various other miscellaneous benefits