6617f8562a581b001f6869c3 Cts3pi025 Fosb Autobagging Tool 1

Automated packaging system accommodates wafers in FOSBs

April 11, 2024
Germany’s cts strives to eliminate human error in semiconductor production

A packaging system for front-opening shipping boxes (FOSBs), developed by cts, an automation service provider and integrator for process and factory automation in Burgkirchen, Germany, has been designed to increase efficiency and quality, while reducing the error rate and the strain on staff.

Preparing wafers for transportation to a semiconductor production facility is a complex process and is subject to strict quality criteria. The sensitive products, which are placed in special containers, known as FOSBs, must be carefully packed in absolutely leak-proof plastic bags under cleanroom conditions.

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"Packaging is always a uniform process, but it has to be absolutely reliable; after all, the contents are sensitive and expensive," explains Alfred Pammer, head of sales and marketing at cts. "If it is carried out manually, errors are inevitable simply because of the monotonous nature of the work, and qualified applicants for such a job are rare. It therefore made sense to automate the entire process. And here at cts we have found a very efficient and reliable solution."

The autobagging tool combines the packaging machine, test chamber, handling robot and all other components in one complete cell. All packaging and testing processes take place without manual assistance.

Automated packaging, labeling and testing

The unpackaged FOSBs with the wafers are first placed on a conveyor belt by overhead hoist transport (OHT), autonomous mobile robot (AMR) or operator and from there enter the system. A cross-slot check and add-on part check are then used to determine whether processing is possible with the current configuration.

The FOSBs are then packed first in an inner bag and then in an outer bag filled with desiccant. After gluing, the tightness of the packaging is determined for each unit individually using a test gas. The FOSB and wrapping are given a label, the quality and correct positioning of which is also checked. The finished packaged products then leave the system via an outfeed conveyor.

If the system detects any faults, the affected units are automatically removed for visual inspection. The throughput is 3,000 to 8,000 FOSBs per month, which corresponds to around 75,000 to 200,000 wafers.

A semi-automated version of the autobagging tool is also available for companies with a lower throughput. In this case, employees feed and remove the FOSBs from the packaging unit and the test chamber.

"With our autobagging tool, we have automated another important production step," summarizes Pammer. "Our solution avoids all too-human errors; it works more efficiently and better than conventional manual workflows. In most cases, no setup time is required. It also noticeably reduces dust pollution. The new system fits harmoniously into our portfolio. Both the transfer of the FOSBs to the infeed conveyor and the collection from the outfeed conveyor do not have to be done manually.”

The cts Smart Logistics material logistics enable an autonomous transport process without the need for conversion work in the production environment. And with cts Smart Warehouse, it can become a fully automated interim storage solution.

With more than 350 employees, cts, founded in 2006, offers customers a range of automation services from several locations including Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovenia. These services range from the construction of a single control cabinet to the automation of complete production plants, including information management.

CTS also installs stationary and mobile robots in plant and mechanical engineering for high-tech industries such as automotive, electronics, radiopharmaceuticals and the semiconductor industry.

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