Throughout the semiconductor production process,devices are initially developed on a thin disc of silicon (normally referred to as a ‘wafer’). During the production cycle these wafers must not be exposed to particles or contamination. In order to maintain the level of cleanliness required (far greater than the cleanliness levels witnessed within an operating theatre), wafers are only ever transported in hermetically sealed boxes.These boxes (known as Front Opening Universal Pods or ‘FOUP’s for short) have a front face door that has a complex turnbuckle lock feature.
In order to gain access to the wafers within, the door must be captured, unlocked and then withdrawn horizontally,and taken clear to give free access to the wafers.
This system was developed to fully automate the process, and to ensure that no mechanical stress was applied to the wafers.