Front-End System is optimized for 300 mm wafer applications.

Press Release Summary:

Plus(TM) Portal XT incorporates IsoPort(TM) 300 mm load port, which includes configurable front-opening unified pod latch-key mechanism, multiple info pad and mechanical pins, and multiple E-84 ports. It also includes FastSwap(TM) wafer-handling robot, which uses dual-yaw wrist architcture to conduct rapid wafer exchanges in and out of OEM's tool. Smart-Plus(TM) control system interface ensures overall system extendibility.

Original Press Release:

Asyst's New Plus(Tm) Portal XT System Cost-Effectively Delivers Improved Performance And Serviceability To Front-End Automation

System Enhancements Provide Increased Throughput, Ease-of-Installation, Interoperability and Ease-of-Maintenance

FREMONT, Calif.-July 12, 2002-Asyst Technologies, Inc. (Nasdaq NM:ASYT), a leading provider of integrated automation solutions that maximize semiconductor manufacturing productivity, today introduced its next-generation automated equipment front-end (AFE) system, the Plus(tm) Portal XT. Building on the expertise gained with Asyst's industry-leading Plus Portal system, this new turnkey AFE system incorporates a unique design approach and the latest in robotics and front-load technology to cost effectively deliver enhanced productivity, serviceability and ease-of-integration with original equipment manufacturer (OEM) semiconductor process, metrology and inspection tools. The industry transition to 300mm wafers continues to drive the demand for heightened levels of semiconductor fab automation. At the same time, faced with the industry's volatile business cycles and fierce competition, semiconductor OEMs are increasingly seeking ways to outsource non-core technologies and to reduce tool manufacturing costs and increase tool productivity and ease-of-use. The Plus Portal XT system-optimized for 300mm applications-addresses these issues by delivering a greater than 10 percent increase in throughput and unparalleled carrier interoperability in a unique unibody frame, which simplifies manufacturing and integration with OEM equipment, as well as system service and maintenance.

"Many of the significant enhancements in the Plus Portal XT resulted from our work with OEM customers of our previous-generation AFEs," said Jon Sabol, Asyst's vice president, Equipment Solutions. "While ensuring that this new generation remains compatible with the previous Plus Portal generation, we reduced the number of components and optimized subsystem layout, as well as incorporated the latest in wafer-handling technology. The result is a completely integrated, highly configurable system designed to help our OEMs meet their customers' most stringent semiconductor manufacturing requirements."

Asyst's new front-end system incorporates the IsoPort(tm) 300mm load port, which includes a configurable front-opening unified pod (FOUP) latch-key mechanism, multiple info pad and mechanical pins, and multiple E-84 ports to provide the greatest level of interoperability available today. The Plus Portal XT also includes the newly introduced FastSwap(tm) wafer-handling robot. Using dual-yaw wrist architecture, FastSwap conducts rapid wafer exchanges in and out of the OEM's tool. The increased throughput resulting from the enhanced robotics helps to ensure maximum utilization of process and metrology tools incorporating the Plus Portal XT front end.

The Plus Portal XT comes with the Smart-Plus(tm) control system, a powerful and extendable interface that ensures overall system extendibility. With a multi-tiered architecture design, Smart-Plus easily handles industry-changing AFE functions and requirements. Plus Portal XT's operating system and software are compatible with current SEMI standard protocols required for all 300mm and advanced 200mm factory automation systems. Asyst's Plus Portal technology incorporates a series of integrated building blocks that can be custom configured to meet the needs of each OEM and fab customer. The complete Plus Portal XT system fully integrates its critical functions into a turnkey material-handling and factory-automation interface for the full range of wafer process and metrology tools. In tailoring Plus Portal systems to meet the stringent requirements of today's fabs, Asyst works in close partnership with both OEMs and semiconductor manufacturers to develop an optimized fab/process interface that complies with all SEMI and I300I standards and guidelines. The Plus Portal XT system will be available for beta site testing in the third quarter of 2002, and in production volume by the fourth quarter of this year. Asyst will be demonstrating its new Plus Portal XT in its booth #1338 at SEMICON West, July 22-24, at San Francisco's Moscone Center.

About Asyst
Asyst Technologies, Inc. is a leading provider of integrated automation solutions that enable semiconductor manufacturers to increase manufacturing productivity and protect investments in silicon wafers during the manufacture of integrated circuits, or ICs. The company offers a broad range of 200mm and 300mm solutions that enable the safe transfer of wafers and information between process equipment and the fab line throughout the IC fabrication process, while reducing IC damage caused by human, environmental, mechanical and chemical factors. Encompassing isolation systems, work-in-process materials management, substrate-handling robotics, automated transport and loading systems, and connectivity automation software, Asyst's modular, interoperable solutions allow chipmakers and original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, to select and employ the value-assured, hands-off manufacturing capabilities that best suit their needs. Asyst's homepage is

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