Semiconductor OEMs are under pressure to advance lithography capabilities as microchip package sizes continue to decrease. Working with 3D Systems’ Application Innovation Group and metal additive manufacturing solutions, semiconductor OEMs and tier 1 suppliers like Wilting are reaping the benefits of optimized semiconductor components in the race to higher resolution with application-specific consultation on design for optimized performance and manufacturability.
Metal additive manufacturing allows for the design and manufacturing of highly optimized components. When applied to semiconductor lithography and wafer processing equipment, complex metal AM parts like manifolds, wafer tables, wafer handling systems, flexures, and brackets improve performance and reliability of the part. These improvements enable system accuracy advancements at the nanometer level, and improved speed and throughput that ultimately results in more wafers processed and improved total cost of ownership.
01 Application Engineering Consultation
Together with Wilting and 3D Systems, semiconductor OEMs are able to make many design and performance improvements in an accelerated timeframe by leveraging AM design guidance from 3D Systems’ application engineers and Wilting’s precision production. It is now possible to rapidly iterate and test complex semiconductor components with a proven path to production.
For example, manifolds designed for additive manufacturing like the part pictured here, optimize fluid and gas flow to reduce pressure drops and minimize mechanical disturbances and vibration. Traditional manufacturing often results in parts that are large, heavy, and cause stagnant flow and unreliable connections that negatively affect system performance. The benefits of using additive manufacturing for semiconductor applications include:
Optimized fluid flow. It is possible to reduce liquid induced disturbance forces by as much as 90% with AM solutions.
Reduced weight and volume. Additive manufacturing light-weighting can reduce weight as much as 50%, as well as optimize volume claims in limited spaces versus conventional manufacturing.
Increased reliability. Compared to a traditionally manufactured manifold assembly (20+ parts), additive manufacturing can deliver a single monolithic part for increased reliability, and improved manufacturing and yield.
Production support via 3D Systems’ Customer Innovation Center provides high quality, high accuracy additive manufacturing services paired with proprietary processes for optimal particle cleanliness. This service delivers metal parts that meet clean room requirements and are fit for use in lithography and wafer processing equipment.
Wilting has been able to build up its expertise over time in post-machining, post-processing, and assembling 3D printed parts by partnering with 3D Systems. As this partnership has continued, it has also proved the demand for additive manufacturing with Wilting’s customer base.
Even with an AM system in-house, Wilting anticipates that demand for metal printed parts will be quick to exceed in-house capacity. “Our relationship with 3D Systems will continue in developing new business effective immediately, because 3D Systems extends our capacity with overflow production support as business grows,” said Kannekens.
03 Metal Additive Capabilities
After building demand for complex AM parts among its customers, Wilting selected 3D Systems' DMP Flex 350 for high quality in-house metal printing. The best-in-class oxygen level (<25 ppm) and inert atmosphere of 3D Systems’ metal AM technology ensures exceptionally strong and accurate parts of high chemical purity in titanium, stainless steel, aluminum, or nickel alloy.
The DMP Flex 350 is an integrated metal AM solution that combines a high throughput, modular printer architecture with 3DXpert® all-in-one 3D printing software and a suite of extensively tested LaserForm® materials. Wilting can grow capacity with the DMP Flex 350 by adding additional printers when ready.
04 Technology Transfer
Through technology transfer, 3D Systems engineers share knowledge and provide training to new printer customers to streamline and accelerate their transition to AM and safeguard their investment. This leverages pre-developed print files and processes and includes professional account management, consulting, training across pre-qualified AM production processes, and installation. For Wilting, technology transfer has focused on printing processes and strategies like how to run the machine, program the printer, set up files for printing, part supports and orientation, and part post-processing, among other specialized tasks.
3D Systems’ technology transfer helps 3D Systems’ customers mitigate the risks inherent to change and experience AM productivity right away, with faster time to market.