CollabraTech Solutions (CTS), a full-service capital equipment company, has introduced a direct replacement auto valve manifold box (VMB) controller.

The controller is designed to provide a cost-saving alternative, replacing the end-of-life, ultra-high-purity gas distribution systems in aging semiconductor fabs. VMBs reach end-of-life status due to unreliable controls. Even though the VMB gas systems are reliable, the old parts are no longer available meaning the systems have to be replaced.

CollabraTech’s next-generation AVMB4S and AVMB8S controllers were developed to address these issues, extending the life of these legacy gas systems in the fab.

“Increased device demand from the automotive and commercial industries is requiring fabs to operate longer than originally planned,” said Steve Lemons, President of CollabraTech.

“Taking into account equipment efficiencies and maintenance costs, we develop innovative product extension strategies to extend the economic life of chip manufacturing lines,” said Lemons.

“The new direct replacement auto VMB controller we introduced today at the FEO meeting is an illustration of how our fab-audits quickly yield our customers significant cost savings,” said Tim Provencher, VP of engineering at CollabraTech.

For the initial rollout, CollabraTech worked closely with a major semiconductor fab in the Pacific Northwest. Ed Coghlan, gas systems engineer, stated, “Through we couldn’t find controller replacement parts, we didn’t see any sense in decommissioning hardware that would be viable for several more decades.”

“CollabraTech’s engineering team rose to the challenge with a ‘plug and play’ solution that successfully replaced the facility’s older auto VMB controllers in less than three hours from process shutdown to restart,” said Coghlan.

CollabraTech’s auto VMB controller reduces the cost of labour, materials and environmental waste from decommissioned equipment. CollabraTech’s VMB controllers are designed for safe, automatic delivery of gases to any process tool.

The AVMB4S and AVMB8S support four or eight gas liners (sticks), feature a programmable logic-based controller (PLC) with a large colour touch screen and timed passcode entry to prevent unauthorised users from accessing the system.

The controller features life safety relay logic for true hardware interlocking and is back up by the PLC to communicate to facility SCADA. The life safety alarms include CDA, source pressure, fire, toxic, exhaust and EMO alarms.

Automatic vent and purge procedures remove hazardous gas from the panels before maintenance procedures, or at start up. Communication options include TCP/IP Ethernet, and Modbus RTU protocol.