Film Deposition Machinery Control System

Price Technology enjoyed working with the professional team of consultants and engineers on this Film Deposition Machinery Control System Project.  This machinery uses the film deposition technique of sputtering to apply a coating to wafers inserted into a vacuum chamber.  This equipment had been part of a larger, multi-station coating process, and therefore no “off-the-shelf” control system was available.

Price Technology was entrusted to provide the custom control system to integrate  and control this equipment.  The sputtering process requires a power supply to apply power in given power level and time increments.  The stage that supports the wafer to be coated is required to be precisely positioned inside the vacuum chamber.  There are many steps that must be performed prior to, during, and after the coating of the wafer.

The operator initiates and monitors automatic sequences and manual control using the 10” touch screen.  The operator may initiate up to eight automatic sequences, such as Chamber Pump Down, Load Lock Pump Down, Load Wafer, Process Wafer, etc.  All functions, including the power supply and stage controller, may be monitored and operated manually.  Abnormal conditions are indicated by audio and visual alarms.  Abnormal conditions are also logged with a date and time stamp.  The Process Wafer sequence includes an eight-step recipe.  Up to five 8-step power supply ramp-soak recipes can be configured and saved.  The operator may then select and download a ramp-soak recipe to the power supply.  Total energy delivered by the power supply, measured in watt-hours, is recorded and can be displayed on the touch screen.  Also, up to five 8-step recipes can be configured and saved to control each of the gas mass flow controllers.  The operator may select to run the process recipe any number of times.  This project was completed with system start-up, testing, commissioning, and training in January 2005.

System Integrator at Control Panel.

This project was challenging in many respects.  The power supply and the stage motion control systems can only be controlled through a serial communications link.  The power supply and stage controller each utilize unique 

Plant engineer at Sputtering Machine.

View of Control Panel Interior.

CONTACT: Kevin Price

Price Technology

110 Manatawny Road

Oley, PA 19547

Phone: 610-689-0300







communication protocols for communications.  Many machine elements must be controlled for each automatic sequence.