December 2017

Advantages of Decentralized UPDI Heating vs. Centralized In Semiconductor Fabs

Process Technology's Lufran ultra pure water heater provides many advantages!

A large production facility (Fab) uses millions of gallons of water per day, so it is important that this is used conservatively. This water is delivered from either a centralized or decentralized water heating system. Process Technology’s Lufran® on-demand ultra pure water heater provides many advantages over a centralized DI water system.

Cost of Operation: Lower long-term costs

  • Minimal maintenance - The Lufran® water heater has an MTBF of over 9 years > 99% uptime.
  • Conserve energy - continuous operation is not required, reducing energy usage when the heater is not on.
  • Heat only the required volume of DI water versus heating the entire facilities’ hot water loop through a centralized system.
  • Reduced heat loss - heater can be installed close to the tool minimizing heat loss through piping.
  • Eliminates the need for facilities to treat steam condensate and remove fuel exhaust. Reduces CO2 emissions and allows for the replacement of fossil fuels with cleaner electricity.

Lower Risks to Wafer Yield

  • Equipment maintenance in the heating system will only affect specific process stations, unlike maintenance for a central system that would affect the yield across all stations.
  • On-demand heating simplifies reconfiguring or adjusting capacity.
  • Central boiler fault or scheduled downtime will halt production in an entire fab.
  • Schedule maintenance or replacement for a specific pr ocess station without affecting entire yield or other production stations.

Allows for Multi-temperature Control

  • Decentralized systems allow each heater to be set at different temperatures while a centralized system can is limited to one temperature.
  • No extra blending valves needed.
  • No restriction on maximum water temperature.

Smaller Footprint than Centralized System

  • The Lufran® water heater can be placed at the most convenient location for your plant, saving valuable production floor space.

To learn more about the Lufran ultra pure water heater, visit our webpage: Lufran.html

To download a PDF copy of Advantages of Decentralized UPDI Heating vs Centralized In Semiconductor Fabs, click here!

By Connie Dawson, Process Technology

How to Wire a Standard Heater to a Combination Control

Use these simple steps to to wire standard immersion heaters to a combination control.

Shut off/lockout our control power. Make sure that your control is sized for your heater load. See the formula below for a guideline.

Locate the contactor (CN1), ground terminal and terminal block inside the control. Knockout a hole to pull your heater wires through.

Prepare your heater wires. When wiring in the connections make sure the wire is stripped to the appropriate length so that the connections are compressing on the wire strands and not the insulation. Make sure that no wire strands are extending outside of the terminals.

The first connection will be your green ground wire to the ground terminal. This is a cage clamp connection.

To make this connection, use a small flat head screwdriver, press down into the hole above the terminal until you feel a slight give. You will then be able to insert the prepared wire end into the terminal. Once fully inserted, remove the screwdriver.

Test the connection by pulling on your wire to make sure it is securely set in the terminal block.

Next, connect the heater power wires to the bottom of the contactor to terminals T1, T2 and T3. For single phase power, use T1 and T3 only.

Make sure the wires are properly tightened.

The final wiring connection will be the heater overtemp protector wires. This connection will go into the terminal block # 4 and 5 labeled Heater TCO. Follow the same procedure for cage clamp connections as above.

Make sure the wires are properly tightened.

This completes your heater wiring.

To view a video on how to complete heater wiring, click here!.

By Connie Dawson, Process Technology

November 2017

Reusable Filter Housing for High Temperature Chemicals!

LTFH housing design eliminates the need to replace the filter housing when the cartridge is replaced.

The LTFH Series Filter Housing is designed for continuous filtering of high temperature corrosive chemicals. The filter housing delivers superior field service life because it is reusable, so only the filter cartridge needs to be replaced.

Easy filter cartridge replacement is just one of the benefits of the LTFH. The spin-on ring assembly not only ensures a positive seal every time, but it also enables quick and easy cartridge replacement with no damage to the housing o-ring. The housing collar retainer ring and filter cartridge clip substantially reduce cartridge maintenance clearance space.

Features and Benefits

For questions about our LTFH Filter Housing Email: marketing@process-technology.com

To download our data sheet on the LTFH, click here!

By Connie Dawson, Process Technology

How to Test RTD Sensors

Use these simple steps to test your RTD sensor.

Power down and remove the RTD sensor from your controller. Lay the sensor wires on a flat surface for testing. Do not hold them in your hand during the test since your fingers could give a distorted reading.

Set your multimeter to Ohms Ω. Your meter should display 0.L.

Touch the meter leads to the ends of the sensor wires. Compare the value displayed with the RTD Resistance Chart.

By Connie Dawson, Process Technology

October 2017

Why Purge?

Process Technology's Patented Purge Feature Helps Extend Heater Life

Permeation - In physics and engineering, permeation (also called imbuing) is the penetration of a permeate (such as a liquid, gas, or vapor) through a solid. It is directly related to the concentration gradient of the permeate, a material's intrinsic permeability, and the materials' mass diffusivity.

When you have any type of permeable material such as a fluoropolymer heater sheath, chemistry can permeate through the sheath in the form of a gas or vapor. In the photos below, you can see what happens to a balloon after being inflated for a few days. There are no holes in the balloon, but the air will slowing leak out through the “plastic” material because it is permeable. In process tanks with fluoropolymer heaters, the more aggressive the chemistry, the faster this process will happen.

Although fluoropolymer materials are chemically inert to virtually all solutions, they have absorption and permeation characteristics. Highly aggressive chemistries (especially at higher temperatures and pressures) migrate through the fluoropolymer sheath of an electric heater and attack the stainless steel inner element. This permeation may dramatically shorten the heater’s operating life.

Process Technology’s purged element design releases a flow of gas to purge the environment surrounding the heating element. The gas flow sweeps away internal moisture and entrapped particles that accumulate due to permeation through the heater sheath. This patented feature resolves the permeability problem and promotes a longer heater life.

If you would like to download our Application Note on Why Purge, click here. Stayed tuned for more helpful hints coming soon!

By Connie Dawson, Process Technology

How to Wire Heater Protectors into your Control

Use these simple steps to connect any of our P1 - P7 protectors into your controller.

First, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the heater wiring and inside of the controller. Match the labeled components in the photo to what you see on your heater and in your control.

Once you have located the protector lead wires and terminal block inside your control enclosure, guide your lead wires (power, protector, ground) in through the hole that you knocked out for the heater wiring and secure with conduit fitting.

Using a small flat head screwdriver, press down into the hole above terminal #4 until you feel a slight click. You will then insert one of the prepared protector wire ends into terminal 4 below. Once fully inserted, remove the screwdriver to secure the wire. Test the connection by pulling on your wires to make sure they are securely set in the terminal block. Repeat this process with your second protector wire.

If you would like to see a video of how to change a heater protector: How to Replace a Thermal Protector . Stayed tuned for more helpful hints coming soon!

By Connie Dawson, Process Technology

September 2017

Selecting the Correct Sheath Material for Electric Immersion Heaters or Immersion Coils

New guides posted to help you make a smart decision

Buyers often make incorrect assumptions about the chemistry of the solution to be heated. For example, a buyer using stainless steel tanks may specify stainless steel heaters thinking that the tank didn't corrode so the heaters will be ok. Actually, heat accelerates corrosion rates dramatically. Given the composition of a particular solution and the addition of heat, the stainless steel sheath covering the heater would have corroded at a faster rate than the tank material.

All chemicals and additives in the tank should be checked before ordering immersion heaters. It may be possible for a variety of materials to be acceptable, such as Titanium or 316 Stainless Steel in Deionized water, while chemistries such as hydrochloric acid would require PTFE heaters only.

It is also important to take into consideration the operating temperature and concentration of the process solution. Higher concentrations (20% or higher) may require a lower watt density element so that the optimum heat transfer can take place without causing premature failure to the element. In these applications it is the ability of the fluid to accept heat which is the limiting factor in selecting the watt density. In general the more viscous the solution the lower the heater watt density needs to be. Derated (20 wsi or less) heaters are ideal for these chemistries.

A process selector for both Electric Immersion Heaters and Immersion Coils is now available on our website. Be sure to check all chemistries in your process tank. Also check with the chemical manufacturer to find out what they specify and how to best clean and maintain the equipment that goes into your process tank.

By Connie Dawson, Process Technology

August 2017

DAS Series Phosphate Heater

Custom Designed Specifically for Demanding Phosphate Applications

Phosphate coating processes provide some of the more difficult challenges in heating. Phosphate coatings are used extensively on lubricated metal parts to provide a thick, porous layer and a grain structure for oil to reside to improve lubricity for gears and threads while protecting against corrosion.

During the phosphate process, a coating builds up on heated surfaces such as electric immersion heaters, restricting heat transfer, causing corrosion and shortening heater life. For this reason, Process Technology developed a purpose-built heater for phosphate chemistries: the DAS-series immersion heater. The DAS-series heaters are designed to last longer in heavy buildup and surface corrosion that normally occurs in these baths. A heavy-wall outer sheath and unique internal construction protects the heater core resulting in a longer life and better performance in harsh phosphate applications.

Benefits

For questions about our Phosphate heaters Email: marketing@process-technology.com

By Connie Dawson, Process Technology

Innovative, precise temperature control in a compact footprint!

The Pulsar POU (point-of-use) heater can provide the perfect outcome for your application.

Wet chemical processing continues to grow in both the number of steps and the complexity of processing. Wet processing tool chamber counts continue to rise in newer tools, thus increasing the difficulty in chamber matching. Increased customization of high purity fluid heaters requires matching of size/price/performance with application requirements. Smaller, higher density, less expensive, recirculation heaters are increasingly required to match all of these constraints and improve yields in new and existing tools.

Process Technology has developed the Pulsar POU (point-of-use) heater to provide the perfect outcome for your application. Compact, fast, and compatible with all chemistries (including hydrofluoric acid), Pulsar supports flow ranges from 0.1 to 2 LPM and process temps >150°C.

Features and Benefits

For questions about our point of use heaters Email: marketing@process-technology.com

By Connie Dawson, Process Technology

July 2017

Turbine Repairs Call for Selective Brush Plating Solution

Tim Pennington, Products Finishing

Integrated Power Services (IPS) is one of the U.S.’s leading independent provider of repair and maintenance services for electric motors, generators and mechanical power transmission components. Covering North America on a 24/7 basis, the Greenville, South Carolina, company integrates and supplies repair services, field services and product sales to thousands of customers working in asset-intensive industries. With services including turbine repairs and emergency and outage support, it is clear that IPS knows exactly what works—and what does not—when it comes to equipment and component maintenance. So, it is interesting to note that for over 30 years, IPS has been using a selective brush plating solution to repair and protect critical components such as the bearing fits on shafts, shaft journals and end bell bores.

In doing this, IPS has been able to offer durable and reliable repair options in place of costly replacements, helping customers to save money without having to compromise on performance. Indeed, one of the key advantages of using a selective brush plating process is that very often, repairs can be carried out in situ, minimizing downtime and thus maintaining revenue flows. While selective plating is not a new process—developed first in France, just before World War II—IPS went with a solution that is a specific, proprietary selective plating process from SIFCO Applied Surface Concepts, a global supplier in selective electroplating, anodizing, chemical solutions and equipment. The Sifco Process is portable and allows the operator to plate a very specific area of a component, quickly and easily on site (and often in situ) and to the required thickness.

Repair or Replacement?

The equipment and components used in power generation and similar industries have to work very hard. Frequently exposed to high temperatures, heavy current loads and environmental contaminants, they are vulnerable to damage through wear and corrosion. When inevitably a certain amount of damage occurs, a choice must often be made between repair and replacement. Sometimes, issues also arise when fit—for example, a bearing housing or shaft journal—is fractionally ‘out,’ and must be trued. Traditionally, options available in these instances have been machining and welding, sleeving and thermal spray. All of these, however, have key disadvantages. “In machining and welding, sleeving or thermal spray, we have to remove a considerable amount of surface material to prepare for a repair, which is time consuming and can further damage the integrity of the component, because so much of the original material is taken away,” says Matt Peterson, machine shop supervisor for IPS. “In contrast, when we use the selective brush plating, it minimizes the removal of surface material, which limits the amount of preparation time and also means that more of the original steel or cast iron structure remains intact, ensuring strength is retained.” Selective brush plating has safety advantages, too. “When welding or thermal spray are used, these generate fumes and arc flash, which are hard to control and may be dangerous,” says Peterson. “There are minimal vapors involved in the process, and what little vapor exists is easy to manage with local ventilation.”

Surrounding Area Untouched

Unlike welding, which can deform the surrounding materials and generate extra work in machining, the selective brush plating process leaves the surrounding area completely untouched and—if the surface is correctly prepared for application—adherence is superb. “The hardness value that the finished nickel plating lends to the repaired surface is a bonus, as many times, the plated surface is more wear- and corrosion-resistant than it was in its original state,” says Peterson. At IPS, the Sifco ASC approach is used to plate to a thickness of up to 0.030 inch total, or 0.015 inch on each side of a journal or housing. While it is possible to build thicker layers, this involves stopping and restarting the process, and IPS operatives prefer not to do this. The company uses the plating process mainly for small and medium components, but also for some large motor component repairs. The process offers advantages in terms of both time and money. Peterson says that while other methods of repair often require machining, even when the extent of the repair is small, the selective brush plating approach does not. Thus, repairs can be made quickly, which can be crucial to work and revenue flows, such as with power outages due to component damage. “Designating an exact time savings figure would be very difficult, due to the vastly variable nature of the repairs and geometries we encounter,” Peterson says. “But a conservative estimate of the total time saved by using plating versus other methods would be 25 percent.”

Save the Cost of Buying New Units

When components are in bad shape, the plating process can actually save the cost of buying an entirely new unit; a cost that can, with replacement shafts, cost tens of thousands of dollars. That has certainly been the experience at IPS. “Our company has been using selective brush plating process for more than 30 years,” says Peterson. “It has allowed us to offer our customers repair options on many of their worn or damaged components, which would otherwise have necessitated costly replacement.” For IPS, the plating solution identified more than three decades ago is still serving them well today—and long may it continue to do so.

For more information about IPS and Sifco.

More Solar Panels and Battery Storage at Homes Could Prevent Power Failures

By Barry Cinnamon CEO Cinnamon Solar

At 1:30 on a Sunday afternoon in June, I experienced the second power outage at my Silicon Valley home this year. Then, last weekend a transformer explosion at a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power substation left 140,000 people in the San Fernando Valley without power. In both cases these failures occurred during a 100+ degree heat wave. According to PG&E, there was a “local transformer issue” in our neighborhood; the Los Angeles utility is still investigating the cause of their transformer failure. Local transformers are those big can-shaped things at the top of utility poles. Most were installed before electric vehicles were commonplace and when temperatures were a few degrees cooler. So when people crank up their air conditioners and plug in their EVs, transformers can become overloaded and fail.

Power was out in my neighborhood for about 12 hours while PG&E deployed a crew to diagnose the problem and replace the transformer. But the blackout would not have happened if just one more home in the neighborhood had a solar or battery storage system. The output from that incremental solar or storage system would have supplied the electricity needs of that home — and the excess solar or battery power would have flowed back to the local grid, reducing the load on that transformer and preventing its failure.

High temperatures and new electric vehicle demands are causing outages like this all over California. Solar power coupled with battery storage is the cleanest and most cost-effective solution to this problem, but only if these systems are deployed in the right place. The challenge is to get the power from remote utility solar plants to the homes and businesses that need it. Unfortunately, the local power grid is the weakest link, and it is expensive to modernize neighborhood grids to meet today’s higher power demands and two-way energy flows.

There are two solutions to modernizing overloaded local grids. The “business as usual” solution is to pay the local utility for upgrades that include bigger transformers, wiring, control systems and battery storage. Unfortunately, ratepayers get stuck with higher electric bills for this. A much better solution is to encourage homeowners and businesses to install their own solar and storage systems. These customer-owned “Behind the Meter” (BTM) energy systems do not require expensive transmission and distribution grid upgrades. Since investments in them are made by homeowners and businesses, utility ratepayers are not burdened with upgrade costs. With over half a million solar-powered homes and businesses, California leads the country in both solar power generation and solar jobs. This was the result of public policies that encouraged solar installations. As a result, solar costs have come down so much over the past 15 years that incentives are no longer needed.

We have the same opportunity now with battery storage systems as California moves toward an electric grid powered 100 percent by renewables. Two policies will help us achieve this goal. First, as other states have done, we should ensure that there are no arbitrary limits on a customer’s ability to install solar and battery storage. Second, we need to reduce the up-front costs of battery storage systems, which are relatively expensive at this early stage of the market. To jump-start the battery storage market and improve local grid reliability, California has proposed SB-700, the Energy Storage Initiative. It mimics the California Solar Initiative in a way that supports home or business-owned energy storage systems with incentives that decrease as costs decline. With policies like this, electric customers throughout California will be the first to benefit from a modernized electric grid that is both lower cost and more reliable.

Click to discover the Process Technology line of products that support the Solar Industry, TIH, Frontier, and Tytan Inline Heaters

Process Technology Proudly Introduces Frontier Plus+!

Our Next Generation High-Purity Inline Chemical/Solvent Heater

The Frontier Plus+ is a high-wattage, high-flow inline chemical/solvent heater for use in a variety of applications and industries. PFA and PTFE wetted surfaces provide a higher level of purity for metal-free solvent heating. The Frontier Plus+ will be on display at Semicon West 2017 in San Francisco.

Click to visit our Frontier Plus+ page!

June 2017

ProTec Heater Tip

Be Safe When Operating Electric Immersion Heaters!

PROBLEM: Voltage measured in your process tank

CAUSE: Heater insulation is wet and element is connected to an ineffective ground. Wet electrical insulation will allow some amount of voltage to pass to ground. If the ground connection is poor, the voltage will pass through the lowest resistance current path available.

SOLUTION: This is a hazardous condition. Shut off power and investigate source immediately. Make sure the ground connection is secure and that a conductive uninterrupted ground path exists to the ground source. Have a qualified electrician or testing service verify the grounding system. Remove or replace any non-copper or insulating material that exists in the path and test. Test heater insulation values as noted in section 7 and replace heater as required.

Join us at SurFin 2017 in Atlanta!

Stop by and meet our Sales Team

While at our booth...

Tytan - Clean, continuous hot water, precise temperature control on UL listed, turn-key system. View a 3D model in our new Splashbox.

Frontier Inline Chemical/Solvent Heater - Need to heat solvents? The Frontier is UL823 certified!

Meet our Regional Sales Manager, Edgar Whitby!

BINGO! Don't forget to get your card stamped when you stop by!

Hope Flows Where Tragedy Occurred at One World Trade Center

By Tim Pennington, Products Finishing Magazine The sky above One World Trade Center one morning this April was as blue as the ocean waves, nary a cloud around and the sun shining as bright as ever.

The lone sound was the twin waterfalls of the National Sept. 11 Memorial, which sits within the footprint of where the Twin Towers stood before that fateful day almost 16 years ago. The waterfalls are the largest man made in North America, a sight to behold, which I finally was able to see on a trip to New York when myself and Products Finishing publisher Todd Luciano attended the Masters Association for Metal Finishing 100th anniversary dinner.

It is a solemn place where the memorials sit, next to the museum that remembers those killed both in 1993 and 2001 when terrorists attacked the U.S. People are quiet as they walk around the waterfalls, looking at the names of those who perished in both attacks, including the downing of the plane in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

People are drawn to the names inscribed in the bronze panels that form an edge around the memorial pools that were dedicated in 2011 on the 10th anniversary. Each morning, the staff of the museum and memorial insert white roses in the inscribed names of those whose birthday it would have been that day, a constant reminder that the memories live on.

Being in the finishing industry, I immediately marveled at the metallic surfaces and the craftsmanship of the metal display, built with grace and love by contractors who were selected to work on the project. “Each contractor who worked on the memorial considered it a privilege to do so and wanted to do the best job possible in honor of those who died and served,” says David Tatham, president of Ohio-based Cleveland Black Oxide, which was one of those lucky few.

Tatham’s company got a call from KC Fabrications in Gardiner, New York, back in 2010 when the memorial was under construction, asking for help. KC Fabrications specializes in unique art and architectural fabrication, and they were called upon to install the large bronze name parapets at the pools. In addition, they were also asked to fabricate and finish the retaining posts for the metal panels that were to be placed behind the waterfalls.

Those panels and the accompanying retaining posts are finished in black oxide and needed to withstand the harsh chemicals that could be present in the water. But during the installation process of the parapets and panels, KC Fabrications discovered that the blackened panels made from the marine-grade stainless steel were corroding, and a white residue was appearing on the surface.

KC Fabrications tried to solve the problem several times with various sources, but nothing seemed to stop the corrosion or the white spots. That’s when Cleveland Black Oxide got the call. Tatham says it was discovered that a galvanic reaction was taking place amongst the various metals. The team at Cleveland Black Oxide then modified some chemistries to tackle the problem, and the 150 retaining posts were coated with the new finish that resisted the galvanic reaction.

KC Fabrications installed the posts in time for the grand opening of the memorial, and now millions of people each year who come to the ponds see the two waterfalls cascading majestically into the pool at the bottom, without a hint of the white residue from corrosion. “We were proud to have been a part of the memorial,” Tatham says. “Even if only two inches of our work is showing above the water line, at least we know it’s a project well done.”

When architects Michael Arad and Peter Walker designed the twin waterfalls, they said they were inspired to produce a memorial that “resonates with the feelings of loss and absence that were generated by the destruction of the World Trade Center and the taking of thousands of lives.”

In their design statement, they say: “Standing there at the water’s edge, looking at a pool of water that is flowing away into an abyss, a visitor to the site can sense that what is beyond this parapet edge is inaccessible.”

As sad as it is to stand at what once was two towering skyscrapers, there is a shroud of hope that emanates from the sound of water falling softly to the bottom of the pool. Staring up at the new 104-story One World Trade Center—the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere—there is a sense of awe of what was rebuilt. The metal, concrete and glass stands for a rebirth in a place known for loss. The sadness prevails, but the hope for a better world is as noticeable as the water falling into the pool.

May 2017

Avoid Purchasing Counterfeit Heaters

Illegal imitations and representations of Process Technology® products in Asia

Process Technology wants to ensure that you purchase a genuine Process Technology product. Counterfeit Process Technology products are being produced by Guangzhou BaoDa Electrothermal Titanium Product Co., Ltd, Guangzhou Precise Heater Co, and its’ subsidiaries. BaoDa Electrothermal and their Sales Director, Sam Leo, also claims to represent Process Technology as its Chinese subsidiary, but this is false representation. There is no link between Process Technology and BaoDa Electrothermal and has never been. Here are a few photos displaying how Process Technology model numbers are being used by counterfeitors to fool their customers.

Customers that use counterfeit products risk malfunction of the end equipment as well as damaging the credibility of their brand. We request that our customers make certain to purchase genuine Process Technology products only through our authorized distributors/agents to prevent the use of mistakenly purchased counterfeit products. If you need help in evaluating suspect products, please use this link to fill out our Verification Form. Product Verification Form

For more information on this topic, visit our page: ImitationHeaters

Protec Tip!

By CJ

Do you have control unit with erratic/unstable display? Here are some things that you can check to solve your problem!

Sensor leads routed inside conduit with power leads. Shield or reroute sensor leads, adjust sensitivity of signal filter in configuration menu.

Excessive EMI/RFI on power supply Add line filter to power supply.

Electrolytic capacitor failure on power supply Return control to factory for repairs.

For more information on control issues, see our troubleshooting pages! Click here! !

Infineon rides automotive wave into Top-10 semi supplier ranking

Solid State Technology, May 12, 2017 IC Insights will release its May Update to the 2017 McClean Report later this month. This Update includes a discussion of the 1Q17 semiconductor industry market results, an update of the capital spending forecast by company, a review of the IC market by electronic system type, and a look at the top-25 1Q17 semiconductor suppliers (the top-10 1Q17 semiconductor suppliers are covered in this research bulletin). The top-10 worldwide semiconductor (IC and O S D—optoelectronic, sensor, and discrete) sales ranking for 1Q17 is shown in Figure 1. It includes four suppliers headquartered in the U.S., two in Europe, two in South Korea, and one each in Singapore and Japan. In total, the top-10 semiconductor suppliers represented 56% of the 1Q17 worldwide semiconductor market of $99.6 billion (2Q17 is forecast to be the first ever quarterly semiconductor market to exceed $100 billion).

Figure 1

Intel held a slim 4% lead over Samsung for the number one position in 1Q17. However, as reported in an earlier IC Insights’ Research Bulletin, Samsung is on pace to displace Intel as the world’s largest semiconductor supplier in 2Q17. Memory giants SK Hynix and Micron made the biggest moves in the 1Q17 ranking as compared to the full-year 2016 ranking. Spurred by the recent surge in the DRAM and NAND flash markets, each company moved up two spots in the top-10 ranking with SK Hynix now occupying the third position and Micron moving up to fourth. There was one new entrant into the top-10 ranking in 1Q17—Germany-headquartered Infineon. The company’s 1Q17/1Q16 sales increase was 6%. Infineon replaced fabless supplier MediaTek, whose 1Q17/1Q16 sales were up by 7% to $1.8 billion but the company suffered a sequential 1Q17/4Q16 sales decline of 17%. Half of the top-10 companies had sales of at least $4.0 billion in 1Q17. As shown, it took $1.9 billion in quarterly sales just to make it into the 1Q17 top-10 semiconductor supplier list. As would be expected, given the possible acquisitions and mergers that could/will occur this year (e.g., Qualcomm/NXP), as well as any new ones that may develop, the top-10 semiconductor ranking is likely to undergo some significant changes over the next few years as the semiconductor industry continues along its path to maturity.

Electroiq.com Blog 5/12/2017 Electroiq.com

Protec Tip!

By CJ

Do you have an electric immersion heater that keeps tripping its thermal protector? Here are some things that you can check to solve your problem!

Buildup on heater sheath. Any deposit on the heater sheath will act as a thermal insulator and cause localized overheating. Inspect and clean heaters frequently. Check application, as de-rated heaters may be required in most solutions that buildup quickly. Replace protectors or recommend heater replacement as required. De-rate heaters to reduce the surface temperature. Consult installation sheets for details.

Watt density too high. Unusually heavy, viscous or poorly conductive fluids reduce heat transfer around the element, causing localized overheating. Check solution concentration or viscosity (may need chemical supplier’s MSDS sheets to verify). May be able to use higher temperature protectors or de-rate heaters to reduce opening. Replace protectors or recommend heater replacement as required. Consult installation sheets for details.

Protectors electrically overloaded. Excessive current flow through the thermal protectors will cause resistance heating through protector and a de-ration of the thermal set point. Rewire heater using a contactor or relay to energize the heater and wire protector in series with contactor coil/thermostat circuit. Higher temperature thermal protectors may be considered in some applications. Consult factory and installation sheets for details.

For more information on thermal protectors issues, see our troubleshooting pages! Click here! !

Fan-Out Wafer Level Packaging Takes Off

By Clark Tseng and Dan Tracy, SEMI

Fan-Out Wafer Level Packaging (FOWLP) has become the buzz word and hot topic for the semiconductor industry. As TechSearch International discussed at the recent SEMI Strategic Materials Conference, FOWLP offers numerous performance and cost advantages in terms of smaller form factor and thinner package, higher I/O density, multi-die solutions, and more. While FOWLP technology has been developed and discussed for years, only now we are certain that it will make a big splash in the market. This all comes from one of the world’s best-selling gadgets, the Apple iPhone.

Apple’s iPhones have always been a market trend setter by incorporating new features and technologies in their products and refreshing them every year. This year’s iPhone 7 brings in more than new cameras, faster processor, and high color gamut display. Inside the new iPhone 7, the 16nm FinFET-based A10 processor has implemented TSMC’s FOWLP-based InFO (Integrated Fan-Out) technology integrating application processor and mobile DRAM in one package. What sets the FOWLP apart from package-on-package (POP) form factors found in earlier generations of iPhones are thinner packaging profile, higher I/O counts, better electrical and thermal performance, and yet a better cost structure. This is clearly a game changer of the packaging industry. Apple/TSMC have set the tone for the packaging technologies trend in mobile market in the years to come. Behind the success of InFO implementation in the iPhone, TSMC has been developing the technologies since 2014. To facilitate the commercialization, TSMC set up a new back-end facility in Longtan dedicated to advanced packaging technologies, which is also the production base for InFO. TSMC also plans to introduce second generation InFO technology along with the mass production of 10nm chips scheduled in 2017, while expanding its InFO production to its Taichung site. Meanwhile, leading OSATs are all following suit by building up FOWLP capabilities to defend their turf and to serve the rising demand, especially in mobile applications, for these packages. ASE Group is building a Fan-Out line in Kaohsiung targeting mass production in late 2016/early 2017; Amkor set up a FOWLP line in Korea; SPIL is going to deploy Fan-Out line in Taichung in 2017. Almost all other major OSATs, as well as some IDMs (Samsung, STMicroelectronics, and others), are planning their versions of fan-out packaging. The implementation of FOWLP is expected to impact related equipment and materials market in the years to come. TSMC spent almost 10% of their capex this year (US$ 9.5 billion) on InFO capacity. Though some of the investment is meant for 2017 capacity, it’s still a significant amount. The investment momentum will continue with OSATs and IDMs getting into the market. Related equipment segments including SMT placement equipment (pick and place), PVD, PECVD, ECD, and compression molding shall benefit most from the capacity build-up. On the material side, dielectric materials and new molding compounds are playing an important role in delivering a reliable and cost effective solution. And, the elimination of the package substrate and underfill during the FOWLP process will also have some impact on the respective markets. Going forward, we will see more FOWLP implementation in packaging baseband processors, PMIC, GPU, and RF devices in mobile devices and wearable products. FOWLP also has the potential extending to CPU, GPU, FPGA packaging for high-performance computing. As noted by TechSearch and other industry leaders, FOWLP is not only a disruptive technology but also changes the dynamics in the foundry-OSAT ecosystem. FOWLP is taking off and will be a form factor flexible enough to deliver solutions for heterogeneous integration needed in many emerging applications. For more information about SEMI, visit www.semi.org!

April 2017

Process Technology Bake Sale Supports "No Kid Hungry"

The Process Technology Helping Hands Committee sponsered a bake sale to support No Kid Hungry, Share Our Strength campaign to help end childhood hunger acrosss our nation. Team members baked and donated delicious items that raised over $200 for the cause.

Did you know that 1 in 6 U.S. kids don't get the food they need every day? This takes a terrible toll on their health and development, and threatens their futures in profound ways. It also drags down our nation's economy by perpetuating the cycle of poverty. With all of our support, No Kid Hungry works to ensure that every child in the United States has access to healthy food where they live, where they learn and where they play. Would you like to learn more about this cause? Go to nokidhungry.orgto learn more!

2017 Top Shops Benchmarking Survey: Investments, Profits Are Trending Up

Analysis: Trends show more consistencies than differences over time; shops are increasing capital expenditures each year, with shops ranking at the top spending at 10 percent of gross sales. Jan Schafer has only stepped foot in a few electroplating shops, but she knows a lot about how the most efficient and profitables ones operate. Schafer is the market research manager for Gardner Business Intelligence, a division of Gardner Business Media, the parent company of Products Finishing. She’s been poring over stacks of data from hundreds of plating shops in North America that took part in the Products Finishing Top Shops Benchmarking Survey in late 2016. Each year, Schafer uses data from shops to compute scores and run algorithms that determine which shops place in the top echelon of the plating industry, and thus earn status as a Products Finishing Top Shop. Schafer’s team also tabulates the data to provide a comprehensive benchmarking report given back to participating shops to examine and use in their own operations to improve efficiencies and reduce waste. This year, Schafer is looking at trends, a first-time analysis opportunity now that the program has been in place for three years. Looking at the different measures across years, she’s seeing a fair amount of consistency in how the values move over time, but is calling out some “departures” as well. “Sales growth rates, for example, decline year-to-year with the exception of shops in the top 20 percent on this measure,” she says. “Sales growth rates at the top of the range stabilize in 2017, while the average sales growth among total shops continues to decline. In fact, sales growth rates among shops at the bottom of the range have fallen to zero.” Another observation is that, as a whole, shops are increasing their capital expenditures each year, with shops ranking at the top on this measure spending at an average rate of 10 percent of gross sales. That rate of spending is up almost 2 percentage points from a year ago, and up almost 4 points from the year before. For perspective, average spending on capital equipment among all shops is just half that rate. Schafer offers a snapshot of what trends she sees in the 2017 report, which takes into account business activities in 2016. Across the board: Profit is trending up Investment rate is trending up Quality is steady Lead time is steady Focusing on shops with values in the top 20 percent on the respective measures: Sales growth rate is about the same versus a year ago, defying the otherwise pervasive downward trend. Profits increase to a marginally greater degree versus shops landing at the other extreme, the bottom 20 percent. Lead time is back on track following a downward blip the previous year. Some contrasts: Shops ranking at the top on sales growth rates are widening the gaps versus median and bottom ranked shops over time. The same can’t be said for shops ranking tops on profit. On that measure, median-ranked shops are increasing profits over time to a greater degree. Shops that completed the Products Finishing Top Shops Benchmarking Survey will soon receive a series of reports that separate the survey data into categories, including type of finishing business (job shop, contract shop or captive operation), number of employees and number of parts produced. In addition, we send an Executive Summary comparing responses between the Top Shops benchmarking group and the rest of the survey participants. This benchmarking group represents the top percentage of electroplating shops determined by totaling the points assigned to select business- and technology-related questions. These reports not only serve as a baseline “report card” of sorts, but also provide hard data that will eliminate the need to rely on gut feelings as a method of identifying and prioritizing improvement efforts. The survey for liquid and powder coating shops starts May 1.

Article by Tim Pennington, Editor, Products Finishing Magazine 4/1/2017 PFonline

Can Aqueous Alkaline Cleaner Be Used on Aluminum?

Q. We use an aqueous alkaline cleaner to process parts with ultrasonics and filtered circulation. The process does well on stainless steel parts, but I have an issue with aluminum parts, using the same parameters, minus the ultrasonics. The aluminum parts come out of the bath with dark, black streaks and spots. Should I not use the same bath to process aluminum and stainless steel? Can aqueous alkaline cleaner be used on aluminum?

A. Probably not. Cleaners that are formulated to clean metal like stainless steel usually cannot be used for aluminum. Since industrial processing of stainless steel (forming, bending, cutting, etc.) is typically more demanding than a similar operation for aluminum, the lubricants used can be difficult to remove. Therefore, most aqueous alkaline cleaners formulated for use on stainless steel have a high pH and will contain quite a bit of free caustic in the form of sodium or potassium hydroxide (in addition to ingredients like surfactants and buffers). If a cleaner like this is used on aluminum, it tends to etch the surface. This condition will be made worse with elevated temperature and longer periods of time. Additionally, the higher the concentration of the cleaner, the worse the etching and discoloration. Free caustic will quickly reduce the naturally-occurring oxide on aluminum and immediately start to etch and dissolve it. Most industrial aluminum is alloyed to attain specific properties (typically with copper, manganese, silicon, magnesium and zinc). The discoloration of the aluminum is the presence of the undissolved alloying elements and the secondary phases that they form that are not attacked in the high pH bath. They wipe off fairly easily, although chemical removal is generally only attained by use of an acid (like nitric) to dissolve these alloying elements.

Content shared on 3/1/2017 by PFonline

Foundry Manufactures Oscar Statues

ROCK TAVERN, N.Y. (AP) — Every Oscar fist-pumped or tearfully cradled by Academy Award winners is first cast, buffed and fussed over at a foundry far from Hollywood (view photos in gallery). Workers at the Polich Tallix fine art foundry, about 50 miles north of New York City, began work in late September on the awards to be handed out Feb. 26. Each of the 60 Oscars shipped from the hangar-like production floor is 13½ inches tall with the same distinctive Art Deco features polished to a mirror finish. Each glossy black base lacks only a winner's nameplate, which is added after the ceremony. Polich Tallix, which began making the awards last year, tweaked the look of the stylized knight with an eye toward the original statuettes handed out in 1929. The path of these new statues from a small town in upstate New York to center stage in Hollywood might not be the stuff of movies. But it's worth a close-up. Casting Call Every Oscar starts with a version made of wax, which is repeatedly dipped into a cream-colored ceramic slurry. The ceramic hardens and the wax is melted out to make way for molten bronze. What's left once the ceramic mold is chipped away is a sort of rough-hewn version of the elegant icon. John Menzie and other workers make sure every surface detail — from Oscar's hairline to the film reel it stands on — is hand-sanded and polished to a fine finish. Menzie said it's a kick to see the pieces you worked on for hours handed out on TV, like he did last year while watching the Academy Awards. "When Leonardo DiCaprio gave his speech and he was holding his Oscar I was just thinking ... I might have worked on that one," Menzie said. "I wish in his acceptance speech, he would have said the serial number that was on the back, you know? So I could say, "That's the one I worked on!'"

Best Visual Effects When Polich Tallix took over production from a Chicago company, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences asked the foundry to create a statue truer to the original. Foundry artist Daniel Plonski made 3-D scans of an early statue and a recent statue, and took desired qualities from each for the newest iteration. Oscar's restoration was subtle; his stylized facial features are more defined, there's a greater hint of his ears and a hair part, and his sword rests in sharper relief between his legs. "The trick was not to make it too shockingly different," Plonski said. The most substantial difference is one people don't see. The statue is once again cast in bronze, instead of a pewter-like alloy.

And the Award Goes To The statues are shipped to Brooklyn for 24-karat-gold electroplating at Epner Technology, which also is in its second year of Oscar making. President David Epner said that before his company became involved in Oscar production, actor F. Murray Abraham and a couple of other award winners had asked him to plate gold finishes that were wearing off. He vows that won't happen under his process, which includes copper plating and nickel plating each statue before gold plating. "The gold is guaranteed — not for the life of the recipient, but for the life of the statue," Epner said Polich Tallix has one more task after the nominees are announced: making a nameplate for each possible winner. The award winners are handed an Oscar on stage with no nameplate on it. Winners can later take their statue to a table backstage to get their nameplate affixed. The unused plates are destroyed.

March 2017

How to Extend the Life of Electroless Nickel Chemistry

Content Source: Products Finishing, www.pfonine.com.

Q. We have been having some issues with our electroless nickel line. We want the bath to last longer, but are afraid of a decrease in quality. How can we help our EN bath last longer while improving our quality? A. The electroless nickel (EN) plater commonly wants the bath to stay in the tank for long periods of time so they don't have to transfer, due to plate-out, usually because they don't want to deal with transferring/passivating, as it can be time consuming and even dangerous in the presence of nitric acid fumes. Overly stable baths.Some EN suppliers increase stability with heavy metals or organic stabilizers. This keeps the bath in the tank for long periods, with some negative consequences. Starting the bath with a pH of 4.8 to 4.9 and at 188°F to 195°F can cause problems as the bath gets older. You can’t raise the pH or the temperature much more because it will cause whiteouts and decomposition of the bath. As the bath ages, it slows down, and there is no way to raise the plating rate. Once the bath starts this way, you're stuck with those parameters for the life of the bath. Heavy use of stabilizers will co-deposit onto the substrate causing microcracking. Since the bath is loaded with organic or metallic stabilizers, corrosion will reduce. Staying in the tank for long periods of time can increase drag-in issues, roughness and contamination. If the bath is in a tank for long periods of time, it will build up particulates on the bottom of the tank, especially without bottom plumbing or proper filtration.

Inconsistent EN tank design is also common. However, what I see most is lack of bottom plumbing, improper filtration and unsafe transferring and passivating of the EN tanks. Bottom plumbing of EN tanks is not new. Tanks without bottom plumbing—just a pump inside the tank—are better than no pump at all, but this can be drastically improved. Improper bottom plumbing. Lack of bottom plumbing mimics a beaker on a hot plate; eventually the bottom will start plating. You can use air and a stirrer, but it will eventually take off. Minimal circulation of the bath can cause roughness, plate-out and reduce bath life and deposit quality. Improper filtration. Filtration cleans out particles falling into the bath from parts (barrel plating), racks or even ceilings. The two methods are the 5 micron filter bag or an encased filter in a cartridge. Optimum filtration uses a filter bag in an open box so you can see if the bag begins to plate out. The EN will flow across the tank and help with hydrogen release. EN will plate almost anything, so at some point it is going to plate your tank. Eventually you will need to transfer the nickel out of the tank and passivate it. Most platers avoid this because nitric acid is not the easiest to deal with. It takes time and exposes the plater to nitric acid fumes due to the use of hand pumps to get the nitric acid in and out of the tank. The same is true when a plater neutralizes the nitric with ammonia; sometimes if there is only one EN tank, the bath starts plating out and needs to be pumped out into a drum or tote, which takes more time and effort. Improper transferring/passivation processes can leave nitric acid in the tank (also attributed to improper bottom plumbing.) Nitric acid will cause havoc on an EN bath with slow rates and deposit issues including adhesion, blistering, pull-away and streaking. Nitric acid can even cause the bath to stop, causing the parts to turn black. The greatest danger is to the plater’s health such as respiratory problems and severe burns caused by nitric acid. The plater often needs to be inside the tank to remove nitric acid. Here are some solutions. If the tank is bottom plumbed, then the pump and the filter can be outside the tank. If you have electric heaters, they can be strategically placed in the tank to save space, and the flow of the filter bag coming from the bottom plumbing can help the heaters from taking off. If you have a boiler, the heat exchanger can be plumbed outside the tank into the bottom plumbing and it will help the heat exchanger from taking off. This ensures proper flow of the bath with turnover from the pump, and it greatly improves filtration because it is sucking off the bottom, increasing bath life, plating rates and deposit quality. If performed correctly, you can then transfer safely and quickly (less than an hour). Having clean passivated tanks will save time and money and help EN bath performance. If set up correctly, you do not need as stable of a bath because you can transfer easily, have proper flow and filtration and know that your passivation is done correctly. Instead of starting out at a pH of 4.9 and a temperature of 190°F, you can then begin at a pH of 4.4 to 4.6, 180°F to 185°F, and achieve a solid plating rate. As the bath ages, you can increase the pH and temperature and continue to attain a solid plating rate, a better deposit, longer life and overall increased production.

U.S. companies still hold largest share of fabless company IC sales

Research information that will be posted in the March Update to the 20th anniversary 2017 edition of IC Insights’ McClean Report shows that fabless IC suppliers represented 30% of the world’s IC sales in 2016 (up from only 18% ten years earlier in 2006). As the name implies, fabless IC companies do not have an IC fabrication facility of their own. Figure 1 depicts the 2016 fabless company share of IC sales by company headquarters location. As shown, at 53%, the U.S. companies held the dominant share of fabless IC sales last year, although this share was down from 69% in 2010 (due in part to the acquisition of U.S.-based Broadcom by Singapore-based Avago). Although Avago, now called Broadcom Limited after its merger with fabless IC supplier Broadcom became official on February 1, 2016, has fabrication facilities that produce III-V discrete devices, it does not possess its own IC fabrication facilities and is considered by IC Insights to be a fabless IC supplier.

February 2017

Beyond silicon - the search for new semiconductors

Our modern world is based on semiconductors. In addition to your computer, cellphones and digital cameras, semiconductors are a critical component of a growing number of devices. Think of the high-efficiency LED lights you are putting in your house, along with everything with a lit display or control circuit: cars, refrigerators, ovens, coffee makers and more. You would be hard-pressed to find a modern device that uses electricity that does not have semiconductor circuits in it. While most people have heard of silicon and Silicon Valley, they do not realize that this is just one example of a whole class of materials. But the workhorse silicon – used in all manner of computers and electronic gadgets – has its technical limits, particularly as engineers look to use electronic devices for producing or processing light. The search for new semiconductors is on. Where will these materials innovations come from?