The advancement of manufacturing technologies has been pivotal to the semiconductor industry’s growth in the last two decades. Today, several types of state-of-the-art machines exist, including high-speed CNC machines and 3D printers, capable of manufacturing a wide range of semiconductor products.
But just because these machines simplify semiconductor machining, it doesn’t mean that manufacturing semiconductor components is any less complex than it used to be. A lot of work and effort goes into creating semiconductor products accurately and precisely.
In this article, we’ll present four things you need to understand about semiconductor machining. This article is a must-read if you plan to set up a semiconductor manufacturing facility or you’re looking to outsource semiconductor machining to a third-party machine shop.
#1 Semiconductor Designs are Becoming Complex and More Challenging to Manufacture
A typical wafer can be as small as 150 mm in diameter, housing hundreds of semiconductor chips that require the highest machining accuracy and tightest tolerances. A small dent or hairline fracture in your wafer can render your semiconductor parts useless.
Modern-day CNC machines play a vital role in semiconductor machining. For example, CNC milling machines allow you to achieve minimum tolerances on surface finishes and flatness and dimensional precision of regular semiconductor designs. CNC turning machines also enable you to create cylindrical semiconductor components while meeting the tolerance requirements on circularity and cylindricity.
But that’s not all there is to the challenges in semiconductor machining.
Silicon — one of the most commonly used materials in integrated circuits and other semiconductor products — is exceptionally challenging to manufacture due to its semi-crystalline nature. This material demands a high level of caution and machining expertise to create the parts you need accurately. (Related Post: CNC Machining Materials: Making the Best Choice for Your Project)
#2 Pre-Machined Pieces are helping Machine Shops to Manage Supplies
As technology has advanced, semiconductors have spread from just computers and cars to pretty much any electronic product you lay your hands on. While this is good news for many semiconductor manufacturers, it’s one of the primary reasons why the demand for chips has continued to outstrip supply in recent years.
Semiconductor manufacturers have been tackling this dynamic demand and meeting the high volume needs of their customers by creating what are known as pre-machined pieces (or machine-ready blanks).
As the name suggests, pre-machined pieces are raw material pieces that have been cut and pre-milled according to standard semiconductor component shapes and sizes. The goal is to reduce the amount of machining (or setup) required to create customer-specific parts.
#3 Smarter Processes are Helping to move Semiconductor Machining into the Future
Predictive diagnostics and artificial intelligence have completely revolutionized semiconductor manufacturing processes. Modern-day semiconductor machining technologies are installed with sensors that monitor critical operation parameters like cutting speed, voltage, and temperature, to name a few.
The data from these sensors are fed through an intelligent system that checks for accuracy, precision, and dips in quality. This allows semiconductor manufacturers to spot design (or manufacturing) flaws early, reducing the likelihood of downtimes and potential semiconductor machining failures.
What’s more, top-tier machine shops automate some of the machining duties that human workers would otherwise handle through advanced collaborative robots—they work alongside human operators (or machinists) to perform manufacturing operations. So, for example, you can set up these robots to handle repetitive tasks like cleaning CNC machined parts or transporting wafers from one machine to another.
These robots allow you to improve operational safety and productivity while ensuring high-quality semiconductor parts.
#4 Applications of CNC Machining in the Semiconductor Industry
Today, CNC machining plays a vital role in almost every industry you can mention, including the semiconductor and electronic industries (Related Post: Exciting Applications of CNC Machining in 8 Top Industries).
To give you an idea of the versatility of CNC machines in the semiconductor industry, here are some of the parts you can manufacture using CNC machines:
- Gaskets and seals
- Electronic circuits
- Gas distribution plates
- Wafer chucks
- Computer chips
- Solder pad stencils
- Flex circuit stiffeners
One thing to note, though: these parts are incredibly complex, requiring high accuracy and tolerances as tight as 4μm to fit into electronic devices. The success of your semiconductor device manufacturing project primarily depends on the machine shop you work with.
Semiconductor Machining Services: Gensun Precision Machining Can Help
Gensun Precision Machining is a leading provider of cost-effective semiconductor machining services across the globe. We’ve been in business for over a decade, helping our customers to produce and ship high-quality semiconductor parts consistently and on time.
Whether you need low-volume semiconductor prototypes or high-volume production, our service is second to none. We have state-of-the-art machining equipment, highly experienced machinists and engineers, and a dedicated quality control team to ensure that your parts get done right every time.
Reach out and tell us about your project and let our team help you create the precision machined parts you need.