NEWARK, USA: Applied Seals North America Inc. has opened a new applications and design center at its headquarters in Silicon Valley, increasing the company’s capabilities in troubleshooting customers’ problems with o-rings and other seals, prescribing the best application-specific solutions and designing leading-edge seals for the 22 nm technology node of semiconductor manufacturing. Advanced perfluoroelastomer (or FFKM) seals are used throughout semiconductor-manufacturing equipment to create and maintain the ultraclean environments in which ICs are made.
For chip makers and wafer-fabrication equipment suppliers, the facility provides a dedicated applications laboratory for diagnosing and solving sealing issues. Customers can send their seals to Applied Seals North America for analysis.
“This addition to our Silicon Valley operations allows us to work even more closely with semiconductor industry members to educate them about the wide variety of sealing solutions and their differences,” said Dalia Vernikovsky, president and general manager of Applied Seals North America. “Diagnosing the cause of a specific problem and then prescribing the right seal is critical. Now we can provide exact solutions faster.”
The applications and design center is equipped to precisely measure standard and custom-sized seals and glands as well as determine surface roughness to within 50 nanometers. The metrology data is then used to perform finite element analysis (FEA) to optimize the geometry and composition of sealing components for individual applications. The center’s installed base of metrology equipment includes magnifying optical comparators, CCTV-coupled microscopes, calipers and gauges.
Applied Seals North America also can use the facility’s capabilities to design new sealing solutions for leading-edge manufacturing processes, including immersion lithography and deposition of advanced materials such as hafnium. Design engineers in Silicon Valley share their insights with Applied Seals’ R&D, engineering and manufacturing divisions in Taiwan.
Eventually, the new facility may be used to produce small volumes of prototype seals prior to volume manufacturing at Applied Seals’ factory in Taiwan, said Vernikovsky.