R63 Royalite: Protecting Semiconductor Chips on a Global Scale

R63 Royalite: Protecting Semiconductor Chips on a Global Scale

SPI Semicon was one of the first companies to manufacture the “wafer jar,” a transfer device for silicon wafers that keeps them from getting damaged in transport and shipping.

Semiconductor chips have earned significant media coverage in the last few years, especially given the worldwide chip shortage that began in 2020.

Our modern world runs on these small electric circuits, which control and manage the electric current in everything from consumer electronics to cars.

One Spartech customer, SPI Semicon, found a unique use case for our Royalite® R63 thermoplastic sheet in its semiconductor business. SPI Semicon, a subsidiary of Professional Plastics, creates products that protect devices from damage during handling, testing, and shipping.

SPI Semicon was one of the first companies to manufacture the "wafer jar," a transfer device for silicon wafers that keeps them from getting damaged in transport and shipping. (A "wafer" is the part of a semiconductor that acts as a base for all the wiring and circuitry.) For many years, the design has been copied worldwide.

Why is it so important to keep wafers and integrated circuits (ICs) safe? Both can easily be damaged by electric currents, even something as innocuous as static electricity. When transporting semiconductor chips, or any part of them, the use of Electrostatic Sensitive Discharge (ESD) packaging is critical. This goal is to reduce the risk of creating an electric charge in the device which could render it useless.

Probe Cards: Critical Testing for Semiconductor Chips

SPI Semicon Probe Card Container with Spartech Royalte R63

Long before a semiconductor chip becomes a working, functional chip, it must first undergo significant performance testing using a testing tool called a "probe card." This is a critical step before any chip goes into mass production.

SPI Semicon's customer — who sells to one of the largest chip manufacturers in the world — came to SPI Semicon looking for help. They wanted to design a large container for safely transporting and storing probe cards.

SPI Semicon needed a material to overlay the large aluminum tool and vacuum form it into two pieces. That's when the company brought in Spartech. Our Royalite® R63 material ended up being the perfect overlay for the aluminum component. The carbon-filled, tensile strength was exactly the ESD material the company needed. Specifically, the properties of Royalite® R63 repel any static charges, keeping the probes safe and accurate when they test semiconductor chips. Otherwise, the probe cards would have been at risk for getting zapped during transport — even just due to static electricity — which could short circuit the cards and ruin them.

Since the launch in 2021, SPI Semicon has developed the Royalite® R63 probe transport containers into an ongoing program. In just a year and a half, it shipped nearly 1,000 units. According to SPI Semicon's Manager of Market Development, John Santoro, "It's been a very successful program, and our end user is completely happy with the material and design. Everybody's good."

There have been no issues with shipping or storage at all, John said, and they continue to see a smooth cadence of ongoing production.

At Spartech, we love finding new use cases for our products in vital industries like semiconductors. We send our thanks to SPI Semicon for the partnership and for sharing our value of innovation!

Learn more about Royalite® R63 Thermoplastic Sheet.

Learn more about Spartech®'s Royalite® Product Line.

About SPI Semicon

SPI Semicon is a subsidiary of Professional Plastics, a worldwide plastics distributor and fabricator. SPI Semicon creates products that protect wafers and devices from damage during handling, testing, and shipping, often from the US to many other countries. The company utilizes a variety of methods of manufacturing, including extrusion, vacuum forming, injection molding and die cutting.

Learn more at www.professionalplastics.com and www.spisemicon.com.

February 28, 2023

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