Alice Young

Head of Communities

Based in Oxford, UK


Proactive Solutions in Water Management for Advanced Semiconductor Manufacturers; A Summary

Water management at advanced facilities has become increasingly complex. The manufacture of the new generation of technologies has increased water demands and posed new challenges for internal and external infrastructure. This webinar focused on proactive solutions and strategies based on recent developments in SEMI Standards. The panel then discussed risk management, environmental compliance, reliability issues and data management for water management challenges. 

The webinar began with an introductory presentation from Paul Kerr, Intel, who focused on the need for a standardized approach to water management in semiconductor facilities. As facilities continue to grow in complexity, using more chemicals, water, and energy, their cost and energy footprints also increase. This puts pressure on external infrastructure, sustainability goals and environmental regulations, in turn becoming drivers for the better handling of water. Facilities are missing water conservation opportunities as engineers lack the required tools to address water footprints – for example, lacking data, water sample valves, metrics, as well as efficient tool drain designs. 

The new SEMI F98 standard attempts to address these challenges by acting as the overarching strategy for water management. More specifically, this document looks at the design of water treatment processes to support water reuse and recycle, water saving applications, KPIs to drive conservation, and recommendations for water reuse segregation. The 6600 Guide compliments this standard by providing guidance on the implementation of water reuse strategies into tool and facility design, and recommendations for reuse schemes depending on water quality, application requirements and environmental regulations. With this standard, water conservation is drawn to the forefront of facility management and design. 

Paul’s presentation ended by highlighting outstanding issues. Paul emphasizes the need for collaborative working, breaking silos between teams. Water conservation can be linked to energy consumption challenges, brine management, UPW idle flow and UPW recycle, and so we must look at these challenges holistically with water management to tackle sustainability and efficiency within semiconductor facilities. 

The panelists discussed this idea of collaboration when exploring technology gaps in the industry. Whereas Mike Knapp, Samsung Austin Semiconductor, highlighted the need for instrumentation vendors and endusers to collaborate, in order to tackle the slow development of instrumentation, Alex Milshteen, Intel, mentioned the need to collaborate with municipalities, as growing facilities put increasing pressure on city infrastructures. As pointed out by Dan Wilcox, Page/Imes, the SEMI F98 standard is itself a collaborative responses to industry needs, as a collection of best practices; Dan then provided an example of a best practice regarding system monitoring and controls. 

The panelists were then asked to explain what infrastructure areas were most impacted by new device technology requirements. Alex Milshteen, Intel again highlighted the limitations of external infrastructure and the need for long term solutions; whilst new tools within a facility can provide a short-term solution to internal infrastructure challenges, often these tools can push external infrastructure to its limitations. Philippe Rychen, Ovivo, then highlighted the challenge of space. For existing fabs in particular, sites do not have the physical space to accommodate new water management equipment, so systems need to become more compact, in turn requiring more investment. For new fabs, early stage planning for recycling and reclaim opportunities is therefore important. 

A running theme throughout the webinar, Dan Wilcox, Mike Knapp and Philippe Rychen, spoke about collaboration when speaking to environmental sustainability. Dan used the example of PFAS/PFOA, not only in semiconductor processes, but in materials used within facilities, such as piping, tubing, and valves. The semiconductor facilities can remediate this issue within their own processes, but their internal infrastructures will be affected if material vendors are unable to provide the parts needed to build them. As other industries, and also local municipalities as mentioned by Mike, are affected by environmental regulations and water conservation challenges, these constraints will eventually reach the semiconductor industry as a part of the water supply chain. Philippe ended the webinar by emphasizing the need to collaborate with stakeholders within the supply chain, highlighting that environmental sustainability is a community issue, and not just an internal challenge. 

If you’d like to hear the full discussion, please visit the webinars page, where you can watch a full webinar recording. With thanks to Slava Libman, FTD Solutions, Paul Kerr, Intel, Mike Knapp, Samsung Austin Semiconductor, Alex Milshteen, Intel, Dan Wilcox, Page/imes, and Philippe Rychen, Ovivo, for their time and contribution to this webinar.