Semiconductors are used in a number of applications, including computers, phones, mobile devices, cars, planes, machines used for illness diagnosis and treatment, military systems, and electronic gadgets. Semiconductors are an essential component to make these hi-tech devices work.
To manufacture such sophisticated devices, semiconductor facilities put systems in place for continuous improvement in order to achieve the desired output (Figure 1). ABB has created a semiconductor and electronics segment to help customers in choosing the appropriate power protection solutions suitable for the specifications of their facilities.
Figure 1. In order for semiconductor facilities to produce highly technological devices, systems are put in place to ensure continuous improvement and output is reached.
Typical Problems in Semiconductor Facilities
The semiconductor industry has some of the most challenging motion control applications. A super critical power protection can be achieved with a combination of extreme precision and accuracy. Semiconductor segments can be split into two sequential sub-processes: front-end and back-end production.
The complete process, both front-end and back-end, is highly complicated and advanced technology is required to give protection to the most sensitive stages. Voltage sags, current issues and limited space are the typical problems faced by semiconductor facilities.
ABB’s Power Protection Solutions
Stable and well controlled electrical power supply to equipment and tools is essential to semiconductor processes. Voltage sags are the most common and expensive power quality problem faced by semiconductor manufacturers.
The PCS100 Active Voltage Conditioner (AVC) is devised for correcting voltage sags. It is a battery-free solution and gets power supply from the remaining electrical grid. This means that the PCS100 AVC has a very low cost of ownership because it does not have batteries to maintain and has very low electrical loss. Furthermore, the small footprint of the PCS100 AVC makes it ideal for use in facilities with limited floor space.
The PCS100 Industrial UPS (UPS-I) from ABB complements the PCS100 AVC. The PCS100 UPS-I contains energy storage, mostly in the form of ultracapacitors. The device delivers the energy to ride through short power outages and very deep voltage sags, making it ideal for direct connection to many semiconductor tool loads.
In semiconductor plants, most connected loads get current from an electrical supply, which is characterized by poor power factor, imbalance and harmonics. Traditional capacitor-based power factor correction can lead to switching transients on the supply and can be overloaded by harmonic resonance.
ABB’s electronic power factor correction system, PCS100 Reactive Power Conditioner (RPC) corrects power factor, low order harmonics (5th and 7th) and imbalance using an insulated-gate bipolar transistor (IGBT) inverter. This system is suitable for semiconductor manufacturing environments involving many sensitive loads.
Semiconductor facilities often have very limited space for power protection equipment. A high level of power protection is provided by the PCS100 Medium Voltage UPS (MV UPS) at medium voltage levels. The PCS100 MV UPS is suitable for air handling, die cutting, wafer testing, etching tools, ion implantations and photolithography.
The Statistics – Outlook for the Economy
Since semiconductors are an essential technology in almost all sectors, having a strong semiconductor industry is crucial to the global economy. Semiconductors are the building blocks of technology, holding potential to transform all industries, from energy and consumer electronics to aerospace and medicine (Figure 2). Semiconductors have reformed the way people work, entertain, travel, communicate, treat diseases and harness energy.
Figure 2. Semiconductors are the building blocks of technology, holding potential to transform all industries, from energy and consumer electronics to aerospace and medicine.
Semiconductor Applications Forecasters (SAFs) predicts that the industry will be worth US $384 billion by 2018, growing at a CAGR of 3.4% between 2013 and 2018. According to World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS), the global semiconductor market is estimated to grow at 3.4% to US $345 billion in 2015. The market will worth US $355 billion by 2016, up 3.1%.
By end market, strong growth is predicted for automotive and communications markets when compared to the overall market. Conversely, consumer and computer markets are expected to remain almost flat. By region, the fastest growing region for semiconductor production will continue to be Asia-Pacific, which is estimated to reach US $209 billion by 2016. This represents roughly 60% of the entire semiconductor market.
Major semiconductor production companies have given focus on power protection systems, which provide reliable and efficient solutions to substations and sensitive tooling and machinery by avoiding voltage disturbances. This, in turn, improves productivity.
Advanced Semiconductor Engineering (ASE), a key provider of independent semiconductor manufacturing services in assembly and testing, placed order for nine PCS100 AVCs. In total, 14 PCS100 AVCs have been ordered by ASE between 2013 and 2015, representing 20MW of total power protection plan to give protection to silicon chip packaging and testing.
About ABB Power Conditioning - Discrete Automation and Motion Division
ABB is a leading supplier of UPS and power conditioning products – ABB's PCS100 portfolio is a unique line up of low and medium voltage power conversion technology. The PCS100 power converters demonstrate highly reliable and cost-effective performance. With the PCS100 product portfolio, ABB offer efficient power conversion solutions that are specifically designed to solve power quality problems and stabilize networks. Covering applications from data centers through to complete industrial plant protection, microgrid systems and shore-to-ship supply, ABB have the power conversion technology for every need. Starting from a few kVA to many MVA and a wide range of supply voltages. ABB has installed more than 900 MW of power conditioning solutions worldwide. It’s business as usual with ABB Power Protection.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by ABB Power Conditioning - Discrete Automation and Motion Division.
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