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SUCCESS STORY

Fully automated FOSB bagging with cleanroom robots

Getting wafers to the fab safely is tricky business. To ensure that this valuable freight arrives undamaged, the front opening shipping boxes (FOSBs) are double-bagged in an intricate process. A Bavarian company has fully automated this complex sequence of steps, integrating two Stäubli cleanroom robots into its packaging line.

CUSTOMER BENEFITS

  • High output while maintaining consistent quality
  • Compliance with industry-specific cleanroom standards
  • Adaptability to different FOSB variants with no need for retooling
  • Reliable, fully automated operation

TASK

Packaging of wafers into FOSBs

Packing wafers into FOSBs (front opening shipping boxes) is a complex process that takes place under cleanroom conditions. In order to remove the human factor, a Bavarian company has developed a fully automated solution in which two Stäubli cleanroom robots are charged with end-to-end handling of the boxes.

Manual packaging of FOSBs, each weighing up to 10 kilograms, is a very physically demanding task. The employee must first check that the wafers are correctly stacked in their box, then check that the various attachments have been correctly fitted to the FOSB, and round out the exacting process with inner and outer bagging, all the while operating under cleanroom conditions and in cumbersome cleanroom overalls. It was therefore only logical to seek a fully automated solution to take over this onerous task.

High-tech specialized machine manufacturer cts GmbH, based in the picturesque town of Burgkirchen, rose to the challenge. The company, which has more than 350 employees, once again demonstrated its innovation prowess with the development of the AutoBagging Tool (ABT).

SOLUTION

Fully automatic instead of manual

Alfred Pammer, senior board member at cts, describes the purpose and nature of the system: “The ABT is a complex, fully automated robot cell equipped with two cleanroom-compatible Stäubli six-axis robots which handle the complete bag-in-bag packaging of FOSB containers with their valuable loads of wafers. This pioneering solution replaces the traditional bagging process, which is still carried out manually in some cases, and offers distinct advantages in terms of process reliability, efficiency and quality.” In order to meet the ever-increasing demand for its proprietary solution, cts recently set up a completely new, state-of-the-art production facility.

A quick look at the complete compact cell, designed and built by cts, in which all components such as packaging stations, inspection chambers, robots, vision systems, printers and the like are integrated, shows just how rapidly, easily and efficiently the fully automatic packaging is carried out with the two Stäubli TX2-160 cleanroom robots.

The containers loaded with wafers arrive by means of an overhead hoist transport (OHT) system and are fed into the system via an infeed conveyor. The FOSBs, typically loaded with 25 wafers, begin their journey through the system’s 15 stations where they are double-bagged before being deposited on the outfeed conveyor. The two Stäubli six-axis robots are charged with end-to-end handling of the FOSBs and are as dynamic as they are precise.

CUSTOMER USAGE

Quality, efficiency and process reliability at the highest level

The system not only ensures a significant increase in quality and process reliability, but also greatly increases output. The ABT AutoBagging Tool can achieve a throughput of up to 8,000 FOSBs per month. Another huge advantage of the system is that it can handle a variety of FOSB formats with different attachments. Thanks to the flexibility of the Stäubli robots and the gripper technology developed in-house by cts, the ABT can bag almost all variants without any time-consuming changeover processes – a USP that is appreciated by customers all over the world.

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