Risk mitigation and prevention in semiconductor R&D and manufacturing
As in every process and manufacturing industry, process safety in the fast-evolving semiconductor sector requires evaluation of all credible hazards to ensure safe operations.
Semiconductor manufacturing faces particular challenges as it seeks to maintain safety standards and minimize human and environmental harm. Because its processes often involve the use of highly flammable, pyrophoric, and water-reactive chemicals in exothermic reactions, special attention to safe handling must be paid. Whether in semiconductor manufacturing or R&D, some process chemicals produce extremely dangerous by-products, posing yet another concern. While the hazardous properties of commonly used chemicals are well documented, innovation frequently leads to the use of new chemicals with unknown characteristics. Strict product development timelines and fierce competition further complicate potential risks.
We recognize that safe operations can only be achieved with a thorough understanding of all chemical process materials and their by-products. Our experts have extensive experience in providing full-scale testing of materials involved in semiconductor manufacturing. This includes ASTM standard tests, such as temperature limits of flammability as well as specialized testing of new and evolving chemicals. We provide additional support in transportation and exothermic chemical reaction testing to ensure safe operation and up-scaling of your chemical processes.
Chemical testing, on-site audits and training in the semiconductor industry
In order to obtain relevant process safety data and to ensure a safe manufacturing environment, we provide you with the following specialist laboratory and full-scale testing services for chemical materials:
Standard Physical and Chemical Properties:
- Flash Point
- Autoignition temperature
- Temperature limits of flammability
- Limits of flammability (lower and upper flammability limits) in air
- Limiting oxidant concentration (LOC)
- Vapor pressure
- Boiling point
- Melting point
- Modified flash point in a dry, H2O-free atmosphere
- Limits of flammability at elevated temperatures and/or pressures
- Limits of flammability in alternate oxidizers such as O2, N2O, Cl2, and F2
- Limiting oxidant concentration (LOC) at elevated temperatures and/or pressures
- Limiting oxidant concentration with alternate oxidizers such as O2, N2O, Cl2, and F2
- Autoignition temperature at elevated pressure
- Chemical compatibility testing in simulated process gases, including O2, N2O, NF3, Cl2, F2 and NH3
- Customized, large-scale testing
- Dangerous when wet test
- Skin corrosivity test
- Solid and liquid oxidizing substances tests
- Adiabatic storage test
- Shock test
- Sustained combustibility test
- Pyrophoric solids and liquids tests
- Self-heating substances test
Exothermic Chemical Reaction Testing:
- Differential scanning calorimetry (DSC)
- Reaction calorimetry (RC-1)
- Accelerated rate calorimetry (ARC)
- Vent sizing package (VSP)
- Adiabatic pressure Dewar calorimetry
- Carious tube
- Thermal stability
In addition to laboratory testing services, we provide on-site audits of your manufacturing facilities to ensure compliance with applicable national and local codes. We specify production equipment safety-related devices such as emergency relief vents. Our experts ensure protective measures such as mechanical mechanisms, gas detectors, or alarms are appropriate and proportionate to the degree of hazard in your facility.
Trained and qualified staff is yet another vital part of safe semiconductor manufacturing. Our training courses prepare technical and operating personnel for the safe handling and processing of energetic materials in the semiconductor industry.
The SEMI safety guideline 5761
The SEMI “Safety Guideline for Use of Energetic Materials in Semiconductor R&D and Manufacturing Processes” has been in development since 2013. Aiming to prevent incidents by improving hazard identification and control, a final version is anticipated by late 2018.
The new safety guideline establishes basic safety criteria for the procurement, storage, handling, and use of energetic materials throughout semiconductor R&D and manufacturing processes. It is expected to reflect current industry best practices at the time of its publication.
The latest draft defines its primary objective as eliminating or controlling hazards involving energetic materials during R&D and manufacturing processes. It addresses the responsibilities of both suppliers and users of energetic process equipment and chemicals. Approaches to curb the number and degree of incidents caused by energetic materials begin with safe design and emphasize using the safest materials for any given application. Other strategies include the incorporation of safety and warning devices, hazard alerts, administrative procedures and training and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Appropriate safety methods are determined according to the results of various hazard analyses recommended by the new standard.
The SEMI guideline seeks to provide a framework to promote safety and reduce or eliminate incidents putting life and property in jeopardy. The directive deems microchip manufacturers, equipment suppliers and chemical providers equally responsible to communicate effectively and meet commonly prescribed expectations.
We are well equipped to support you with implementing the new standard as soon as it comes into effect. Our experts offer a comprehensive portfolio of services including hazard analyses and preparing complete material characterization forms.