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Technical Insight

Magazine Feature
This article was originally featured in the edition:
Volume 29 Issue 7

When failure is not an option


Greene Tweed engineers sealing solutions and structural components that outperform and outlast in the world’s harshest semiconductor manufacturing applications.


Electric vehicles. Sensor-embedded Smart Devices. 5G and 6G connectivity. Quantum computing. What do they all have in common? They require chips made from compound semiconductors, handling the high voltages and powers that silicon can’t.

As the demand for compound semiconductors soars, what do the manufacturers of these devices need besides more deposition and etch tools, and more substrates? It’s a steady supply of some inconspicuous yet indispensable components that are critical for manufacturing new generations of compound semiconductor devices.

Chemraz Seals: Unsung Heroes
At Greene Tweed, we engineer sealing solutions that outperform and outlast in the world’s harshest semiconductor manufacturing applications. They are a remarkable example of what we do, working behind the scenes to empower the intricate machinery of chipmaking. For 160 years, we’ve been equipping critical sectors with materials and engineered components that deliver certainty during crucial operations.

For instance, our perfluoroelastomer (FFKM) Chemraz o-rings and sealing solutions meet the critical demands of modern chip fabrication. They are renowned for preventing contamination, while withstanding aggressive chemicals and extremely high temperatures.

For decades, we have been at the forefront of the complex FFKM production process. These high-performance materials need specific ingredients. Due to this, disruptions can occur when just a single ingredient is in short supply. During the last couple of years, an unexpected and tumultuous industry-wide supply crunch had gripped several FFKM ingredients. Exacerbating this situation, this supply shortage coincided with a global surge in the demand for chips. As a result, FFKM material was in short supply, just at the very moment when semiconductor manufacturers needed it to go into overdrive. This snared the FFKM industry in the epicentre of a perfect storm, where supply delays threatened to impede semiconductor availability and the resultant economic recovery.

If the recent silicon chip shortage has taught us anything, it’s the need to fortify supply chains for the components that are powering the intricate machinery of semiconductor manufacturing. Chipmakers are now acutely aware of how dependent the semiconductor industry is on FFKM seals, especially as they turn to more demanding processes that rely on ultraclean processing.

Greene Tweed was the first company in the US to use cleanroom manufacturing to produce our sealing solutions. We pioneered this move, because we intimately understand the significance of ultraclean operations in the semiconductor industry. We know that our seals have to perform in the harshest environments of modern semiconductor fabrication processes, where they are critical to improve uptime, reduce contamination and boost wafer yield.