Wafer Transport Robot replaces processed wafer in 4 seconds.

Press Release Summary:

Axys(TM) FastSwap atmospheric robot uses dual-yaw wrist architecture enabling wrist/end effectors to rotate 360° and operate independently of each other. It can be used for cassette transfer applications, handling 2 wafers at same time and reducing time required to transfer load of wafers from 1 cassette or front-opening unified pod to another. FastSwap design supports both vacuum and edge-grip types of end-effectors. Robot can operate in stand-alone or track configurations.

Original Press Release:

New AXYS(tm) Fastswap Advanced Wafer Transport Robot


Increased Wafer-Handling Speed Helps Maximize Utilization of Process and Metrology Tools

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 the latest in its family of Axys(tm) wafer transfer robots-the Axys(tm) FastSwap atmospheric robot. Using dual- yaw wrist architecture to conduct rapid wafer exchanges, the FastSwap robot is capable of replacing a processed wafer with a fresh one in less than four seconds- 50 to 100 percent faster than currently available commercial robots used for this application. The new robot also can be used for cassette transfer applications, handling two wafers at the same time and thereby reducing the time required to transfer a load of wafers from one cassette or front-opening unified pod (FOUP) to another by up to 50 percent.

In today's highly competitive semiconductor industry, capital productivity is a critical factor that affects chipmakers' long-term profitability and growth. As a result, semiconductor manufacturers are requesting that their capital equipment vendors deliver improved productivity and reduced tool cost-of-ownership by enhancing the throughput and reliability of their tools. Asyst's new Axys FastSwap robot allows semiconductor equipment OEMs to meet these increasingly stringent demands.

"The Axys FastSwap robot is a dramatic improvement over the previous 'boxer style' robots that first offered a dual-wafer handling capability," said Jim Dodsworth, general manager for Asyst Robotics. "Its dual-yaw wrist architecture enables each wrist/end effector to rotate a full 360 degrees and operate independently of the other. Not only is this approach faster, simpler and lower in cost, it also eliminates the issue of dependent operating zones, which limited the performance of boxer style robots." The yaw wrist also eliminates the need for a linear track to achieve orthogonal access necessary for edge
grip in a two-loadport system. The new wafer-transfer robot is based on Asyst's industry-proven Axys 407 robot. It incorporates direct-drive wrist motors to deliver the levels of accuracy, speed, repeatability and reliability associated with the Axys robot family, along with the enhanced performance characteristics resulting from the dual-yaw technology.

The FastSwap design can support both vacuum and edge-grip (active and passive) types of end-effectors. Its active edge-grip capability is a second-generation design that features faster cycle time and minimizes backside wafer contamination. The robot can operate in either stand-alone or track configurations.

Future capabilities planned for the Axys FastSwap robot include: auto teaching for simpler robot set-up; diagnostic software to improve system up time and reduce maintenance times; and path optimization to increase movement efficiency and maximize throughput. The robot is available this quarter for beta site installations, with production quantities available in the fourth quarter of this year. Asyst will be demonstrating its Axys FastSwap 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 www.asyst.com

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