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The semiconductor industry has been making strides for years now. Although highly cyclical in nature, the wheels are always turning. As such, the industry is constantly looking for CNC machining suppliers as well as assembly suppliers that can provide the components they need.

This industry is littered with low volume and high complexity parts. A seemingly simple CNC machined part can be detrimental to the equipment if the correct procedures are not followed. Not every CNC machine shop is up to the task. An industry with wafer handling, EUV, lithography, and wafer inspection equipment is sure to be riddled with challenges for the entire supply chain. Anytime you are dealing with tools and instrumentation in this industry, everyone in the supply chain must be extremely aware of the critical nature of the parts.

Here at PEKO, these are challenges that we deal with daily. Companies from Silicon Valley to Southern California and all the way to Boston, MA can benefit from working with a good Semiconductor machine parts manufacturer. By successfully dealing with such challenges, we can ensure the customer receives the product as demanded.

1. High Vacuum Environments

The high vacuum environments require a lot of parts with sealing surfaces and leak testing requirements. Suppliers must get very proficient at machining these sealing surfaces to the surface finishes needed. Often times a good supplier will leak test various systems: deionized or RO water, coolant, oil, clean dry air, helium, and vacuum systems. Interestingly enough, bringing helium leak testing in-house vacuum testing for complex parts can become a critical capability for a CNC machine shop in the Semi business to procure.

2. Double and Half Cyclical Business

The “double and half in one quarter” nature of the semiconductor business volume is a problem for lots of companies. The ability to react to the fluctuations through smaller order sizes and maintaining excess capacity and space to absorb sudden upswings in business is paramount. By having a large warehouse, extra CNC’s, night shift capacity, expanded cleanroom, assembly cells, etc. these swings can easily be accommodated. Some parts require managing and maintaining “machine ready blanks” or partially finished stock of long-lead components.

3. Cleanliness Requirements

The cleanliness requirements constantly get more stringent. The best suppliers will have an in-house cleanroom with UV and bright-light inspection for inspecting for particle contamination. Upgraded & installing a new sweep frequency ultrasonic cleaning unit can also be a huge asset. In-house supply of monitored high purity/resistivity RO water is great for in-house cleaning. Mimicking the OEMs detergent chemistry, times, temperatures, and techniques in the wash sequence. Not many companies in the states get qualified for OEM vacuum gas purity cleanliness level for manifolds. By moving towards getting qualified over the next couple of years to be able to clean parts to a “vacuum clean” level with residual gas analysis to prove the cleanliness levels are being met, the best suppliers will become an even better partner for their OEM customers.

The Semiconductor industry certainly has its own challenges for CNC Machine parts manufacturers and assembly houses.  By mitigating the cyclical business nature, understanding high vacuum requirements and putting effort into creating centers for maintaining customer required cleanliness, great shops like PEKO will continue to be great partners for the semiconductor industry.  For more information, click below or contact me direct: Scott Baxter, 585-647-3010


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