To produce the semiconductors that provide the smarts in phones, vehicles, and robots, silicon is processed in the form of wafers. These wafers are stored in plastic cassettes in cleanroom conditions, and the manufacturing process takes numerous steps. Since computer chip demand is expected to increase, manufacturers have looked at ways to further automate production. In response, KUKA AG has developed what it called “the world’s first solution from a single source” for wafer handling.
Augsburg, Germany-based KUKA said last week that it has developed a wafer-handling system for the automated transfer and handling of semiconductor cassettes. The mobile manipulation application consists of a standardized automated guided vehicle (AGV) and the service-proven LBR iiwa lightweight robot.
The company has also developed a sophisticated gripper system and control software.
KUKA offers robot for cleanrooms
Mobility is provided by the KMR 200 CR mobile platform. The platform has Mecanum wheels which enable omnidirectional motion. Sensors on the platform sense the environment in real time, thereby avoiding collisions.
The third component of the application is a customized gripper system that has been patented by KUKA.
Software controls mobile robot fleet
Both the hardware and the software of the cleanroom application for wafer handling are from KUKA. The wafer-handling software solution blends seamlessly into the manufacturing execution system (MES) of semiconductor manufacturers, the company said.
The fleet manager integrated into the software controls the transfer orders to ensure optimally automated semiconductor production. All solutions are from a single source and are certified. This results in extremely short commissioning times, making the system the most flexible handling system on the market, claimed KUKA.
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