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Latest Blog Posts

Semiconductor Fabs Lower Cost of Ownership with Innovative HiFluor Materials_Silicone Wafer Manufacturing_Parker O-Ring & Engineered Seals Division

 

In our July Semiconductor entry, we noted that lowering the cost of ownership is a multi-faceted goal. We discussed how one of the areas for potential improvement is mechanical design and how the Parker EZ-Lok seal is a major solution to mechanical seal failure. In this entry, we’ll investigate a notably different type of cost-reduction opportunity – material selection – and see how Parker’s innovative HiFluor compounds can reduce seal costs to as little as half.

  Critical Environments

When it comes to the seal industry, the semiconductor market is well known as one where the most premium, chemical-resistant compounds are a necessity. Microelectronic manufacturing processes involve chemistries that push the limits of what elastomeric compounds can withstand in terms of both chemical aggressiveness and variety. The perfluorinated materials (FFKM) capable of withstanding these environments require intricate manufacturing processes regulated by closely-guarded trade secrets and the significant investment of resources.

These factors drive the price of FFKM compounds to the point of being as much as 50 times the cost of any other variety. Cutting just a slice out of this cost can result in significant savings – a chance to take out a quarter or even half the pie would be advantageous indeed. Fabricators should be continually on the lookout for more cost-effective compounds that show equal performance in their pertinent operations.

Semiconductor Fabs Lower Cost of Ownership with HiFluor Materials _Semiconductor Materials_Parker O-Ring & Engineered Seals DivisionThis is why Parker’s HiFluor compounds offer an opportunity for cost savings that shouldn’t go unnoticed.A unique hybrid of performance between FFKM and the simpler technology of fluorocarbon (FKM) elastomers, HiFluor offers the most superb chemical compatibility in the many semiconductor environments where the high temperature ratings of FFKM aren’t necessary – and at a fraction of the cost.

Not only can HiFluor be used where even FKM is lacking, but its performance in applications with aggressive plasma exposure is spectacular as well. This can be observed by its overall resistance to plasma-induced material degradation. However, Parker has also developed multiple formulations that display extremely low particle generation when most materials would be expected to suffer severe physical and chemical etch.

 

Solutions and Cost Savings

Need assistance deciphering exactly where this kind of cost-savings can be implemented? Parker O-Ring & Engineering Seals Division has all the resources needed to help their customers identify opportunities to utilize HiFluor seals.

For instance, one major semiconductor fab had several factors (other than their seals) dictating the frequency of their preventative maintenance (PM) intervals. The fab wanted to replace their seals at these intervals as a precautionary measure to limit the chance of them becoming another PM-increasing factor. However, this caused these premium FFKM seals to be a source of inflated cost. Parker engineers assisted with a process evaluation that resulted in over half the seals being replaced with cost-effective HiFluor O-rings, while the tool regions with more intense plasma exposure were reserved for the elite performance of Parker’s FF302.

Another major fab in the microelectronics industry switched from FKM to FFKM seals in their oxide etch process. The tool owner achieved the desired performance improvement, but soon began searching for less expensive options. Based on guidance from Parker engineers, he recognized the plasma resistance and low particulate generation of Parker’s HiFluor compound, HF355. After implementing this change, he retained the performance improvement, but at a fraction of the cost.

Semiconductor tool owners understand that their aggressive processes require the most robust, expensive FFKM seal materials. The price tag on these seals is greater than those from any other compound family. Fortunately, HiFluor is a proven sealing solution that can bridge the gap and provide the same kind of high performance at a much lower cost. To find out if HiFluor is right for your application, visit us at Parker.com/oes and chat with and engineer. 

 

Semiconductor Fab Processes Benefit From Retention Ribbed EZ-Lok Seals Nathanael Reis, applications engineer, Parker O-Ring & Engineered Seals Division

This article was contributed by Nathaniel Reis, applications engineer, Parker O-Ring & Engineered Seals Division

 

Semiconductor Fab Processes Benefit From Retention Ribbed EZ-Lok Seals

Semiconductor FFKM Offers Low Particle Generation AND Extreme Etch Resistance

Perfluoroelastomer Materials Tailored for Your Needs

New CPI FFKM Extends Seal Life, Solving Long Time Industry Challenge

Semiconductor Fabs Lower Cost of Ownership with HiFluor Materials

Read more

HVACR Tech Tip: Simple Maintenance Steps for System Reliability Simple maintenance steps for system reliability

There are simple steps that an HVACR technician can take during their routine spring and fall inspections or at any time when onsite to enhance reliability. The good news is that most of the items listed below are commonly followed for system efficiency and capacity maintenance but also positively affect system reliability. Performing these simple steps greatly enhances the probability that a system will last its full design life.

  1. Maintain coil cleanliness. Dirty coils lead to reduced airflow, cooling capacity, efficiency, and increased compressor operating temperatures. One compressor manufacturer told me that overheating compressors is the number 1 cause of compressor failure. Coil cleaning saves on operating costs while enhancing system reliability and avoids unnecessary system downtime and repair costs.
  2. Maintain proper charge quantity. Undercharged systems cause the compressor and all system components to work unnecessarily. Low charge also causes higher compressor operating temperatures which lead to failure over time. Properly charged systems run efficiently and cool keeping compressor temperatures low.
  3. Fix leaks. Leaks lead to low charge and all the problems discussed in the prior blog Protect Your System During Install With These Steps. In addition, as refrigerant leaks out, moisture and air will enter the system albeit in small quantities. The Catch-All® will protect the system by capturing the moisture, at least until its capacity is fully used. After this, even small intrusions over time leads to oil or refrigerant degradation, corrosion, and other equally bad results.
  4. Change the Catch-All filter-drier. During normal operation the Catch-All filter-drier is capturing any water molecules that are in the system components, capturing the wear particles from compressor operation and other particles flushed from components or tubing. In essence, it is similar to the oil filter on your car or truck engine and needs to be replaced on the AC system you are working on. Below are the guidelines for when to replace the Catch-All filter-drier:
    1. Anytime the system is opened. It is not possible to know how much capacity of the Catch-All has been used nor how much contaminants will be added to the system during the repair. Replacing the Catch-All ensures it has sufficient capacity to capture the introduced water and debris and capture the materials normally expected to be generated over time.
    2. Anytime the See-All moisture indicator shows water is present. Water will react and that reaction is always detrimental. The Catch-All capacity has been exceeded and needs replacing.
    3. Anytime the Catch-All pressure drop causes loss of subcooling or 5 psi pressure drop. The Catch-All has captured enough solid debris to cause excessive pressure drop. If the filter-drier is cooler than the inlet side tubing, then subcooling has been lost and the Catch-All needs replacing. The Catch-All, like air filters, need replacing when it has done its job.
    4. Anytime an acid check of the oil shows high acid level. When the TA-1 acid test kit shows high acid, it has surpassed the capability of the Catch-All. It is imperative to replace the Catch-All and remove the acid as quickly as possible before it harms system components. In addition, review the compressor operation to ensure it is not experiencing a slow burnout (internal electrical short) that is turning refrigerant and lubricant into acids, sludge, and solid debris. If a compressor burnout has occurred, follow the clean-up procedure in Parker Sporlan Bulletin 40-10. Below are some of the key steps in this process:Parker Sporlan Test-All kit
      • Install an oversized liquid line Catch-All to dry the system, capture acid, and solid debris. This protects the TEV from plugging.
      • Install a properly sized suction line Catch-All to rapidly capture acid and solid debris to protect the compressor.
      • Replace the two Catch-Alls until pressure drop of both stops increasing and acid level is satisfactory when checked with the TA-1 acid test kit.
  5. After clean-up operation is completed. Once any clean-up is done, replace the liquid line Catch-All with a standard size and remove the suction line unit or replace it. This renews the protection the Catch-All and provides for continued contaminant control. This step is often overlooked.

For more information on sizing filter-driers and system clean-up procedures please see Parker Sporlan Bulletin 40-10. For various HVAC and Refrigeration product information visit www.Parker.com/Sporlan.

 

HVACR Tech Tip: How to Apply Filter-Driers on Heat Pumps for System Protection - Glen Steinkoenig Product Manager Contamination Control Products, Parker Hannifin Sporlan Division Article contributed by Glen Steinkoenig, product manager, Contaminant Controls, Sporlan Division of Parker Hannifin.

 

 

 

 

Additional resources for you:

HVACR Tech Tip: How to Apply Filter-Driers on Heat Pumps for System Protection

HVACR Tech Tip: Protect your System During Install With These Steps

HVACR Tech Tip: When Should a Catch-All Filter-Drier be Changed?

HVACR Tech Tip: Protect Your System During Maintenance With These Steps

Read more

Making Connections? Make the Right Choice for Your Single-Use Process_CPC Connector_Parker Bioscience FiltrationSingle-use solutions have been widely adopted on a global scale within the biopharmaceutical industry due to the many advantages and process improvements they offer.

Key applications for single-use assemblies include the creation of process fluid flow paths, buffer/product storage solutions and sampling systems on varying scales. 

Most of these systems will start with either a bioprocess container or a tubing option and require the ability to connect to further pieces of equipment or additional single-use systems/manifolds.

In order to achieve this connectability, some form of connection needs to be selected — but with so many different connection types available, where should biopharmaceutical manufacturers start?

There are many different options available when embarking on the selection process. Consideration must be given to whether the connection type needs to be aseptic to provide quick and easy sterile connections, (even in non-sterile environments) or non-aseptic (to provide quick and easy non-sterile connections).

 

How do you choose the correct option?

The choice should be guided by the process itself — and the capability of the manufacturing plant should also be taken into account. 

Key factors which will determine the correct choice of connection type include:

  • Whether the connection is to be made inside or outside of a laminar airflow hood.
  • Whether the connection needs to address any specific safety requirements.
  • Process conditions and compatibility.
  • Bioburden control.
  • Experience of operatives.
  • Suitability for purpose.

Only when these factors have been addressed can the end-user begin to fully specify the connection type required. 

 

Connection types The Luer connector

The Luer connector is the simplest connector. It consists of both a male and female form, and the connection is made using a twist-lock action. These connections are suited to sample lines (with syringe connectivity) and low flow narrow-bore tubing applications and can be used within a laminar airflow hood to create aseptic connections.

However, there is a downside: potential misconnections can occur when they are not mated correctly. 

Quick connector

Quick connectors such as the MPC, MPX or MPU from CPC (Colder Products Company) are similar to Luer connectors in that they can be used within a laminar airflow hood to create aseptic connections. They have the added security of a push-fit feature with a secure locking mechanism. 

Triclamp

Triclamp (sanitary style) fittings can be used as connectors. While these are effective and secure connections, care must be taken to position the required o-ring seal within the connection prior to fixing the connection using an external clamp. The sheer size of the external clamp may make this an unsuitable method for connecting narrow bore or thin-walled tubing due to the weights involved and the potential for kinking/doubling of the attached tubing. Triclamp connections can be used within a laminar airflow hood to create aseptic connections. 

 

Connections outside of a laminar airflow hood

Should aseptic connections be required to be made outside of a laminar airflow hood, two options are available, which both allow the connection of varying tube sizes:

Gendered aseptic connector

The first option for connecting aseptically in a non-aseptic environment would be to use a gendered aseptic connector, such as CPC AseptiQuik® gendered, which has both a male and female version. The benefit of using a gendered connection is that it can help by safeguarding which lines can be connected to certain points in the process; this helps to mitigate against human error and the accidental connection of the incorrect lines/equipment.

When designing single-use assemblies using a gendered connector approach, care must be taken to ensure that the correct male / female side is designed into each part; this in itself can also create some areas for error to creep in. 

Genderless aseptic connector

Should the end-user not have any concerns over an accidental connection to the incorrect lines/equipment, or simply want to remove the error of male/female connector type which can creep in during design, there is the genderless aseptic connector, such as CPC AseptiQuik® genderless. These connectors take out the requirement for designing in the correct male/female orientation and can enable universal assemblies to be manufactured and connected with many other assembly/equipment types. 

Both gendered aseptic connectors and genderless aseptic connectors operate via a mechanism that enables connection in non-sterile environments to be made possible. This is because of the use of proprietary seals which mate together before a protective seal is removed, thus keeping the process stream in its aseptic/sterile condition. 

 

Connecting stainless steel and single-use

Should sterile connections between traditional stainless steel biopharmaceutical processing equipment and single-use assemblies be required, there is another option:

Steam-to connectors

Steam to connectors, such as CPC Steam-Thru®, work by allowing steam to pass through the section connected to the stainless steel equipment. Once steamed and connected, a valve within the connector is manipulated, creating a sterile or aseptic flow path. 

 

Conclusion

It is apparent that there are many connections capable of creating or maintaining an aseptic/sterile environment, but without the correct process condition assessment, operator care or design considerations, biopharmaceutical manufacturers could be looking at a costly connection failure. 

 

Making Connections? Make the Right Choice for Your Single-Use Process_Single-Use: The Next 5 Challenges to Conquer White Paper_Parker Bioscience Filtration

 

 

Download our white paper to find solutions to more single-use challenges: Single-Use Technology: The Next 5 Challenges to Conquer

 

 

 

 

 

 

Making Connections? Make the Right Choice for Your Single-Use Process - Graeme Proctor_Parker Bioscience Filtration

 

This post was contributed by Graeme Proctor, product manager (single-use technologies), Parker Bioscience Filtration, United Kingdom.

Parker Bioscience Filtration specializes in automating and controlling single-use bioprocesses. By integrating sensory and automation technology into a process, a manufacturer can control the fluid more effectively, ensuring the quality of the final product. Visit www.parker.com/bioscience to find out more. 

 

Related content

Eliminating Leaks and Faults: Single-Use vs Stainless Steel Systems

Five Critical Challenges in Single-Use Bioprocessing

5 Benefits of Single-Use Technology vs Stainless Steel

 

 

Making Connections? Make the Right Choice for Your Single-Use Process

Read more

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