Rudolph Not So Red Nosed In The LED Market
The HB-LED manufacturers’ inspection systems and software promises to improve process yields and reduce manufacturing costs.
Rudolph Technologies, a provider of process characterisation equipment and software that is designed to improve yield for the microelectronics and solar manufacturing industries, has expanded into the LED market with two significant orders.
Rudolph has shipped its Explorer Automated Macro Defect Inspection System and Discover Enterprise Data Analysis Software to a world-wide producer of LEDs.
In addition, a U.S. based market leader in LEDs has placed new orders for Rudolph’s ProcessWORKS and ARTIST process control software, along with repeat orders for AutoShell factory automation software.
“Rudolph offers a suite of inspection, metrology and data analysis technologies that help high-volume LED makers better understand the causes of defects and yield loss in their front and back-end processes, ultimately lowering manufacturing costs and enhancing the performance and reliability of their products," said Ardy Johnson, Rudolph’s marketing VP.
“As the LED industry enters what promises to be a period of rapid expansion, rising costs and increased competition are driving a focus on yield management. This is similar to developments we have seen in semiconductor manufacturing, where the effort to maximize yield has been in place for many years."
Newer, high brightness (HB) LEDs deliver higher performance, but require tighter control of variability and defectivity in the front-end processes, where the LED itself is formed, to ensure process yield and consistent performance of these high-output devices.
Johnson added, “Understanding and improving front-end processes is critical to achieving the performance and reliability required, while maintaining manufacturing costs that allow LED manufacturers to succeed in a very competitive industry."
Rudolph’s Explorer System provides automated macro defect inspection of front-end processes, while its NSX Series enables high-throughput inspection in the back-end. Discover Enterprise software collects and analyses data from various inspection and metrology sources throughout the process to provide valuable feedback on yield loss and systematic process variation.
“Adding ProcessWORKS, ARTIST and AutoShell to the manufacturing line has demonstrated further improvements to yield with a very high return on investment," said Mike Plisinski, VP and general manager of Rudolph’s Data Analysis and Review Business Unit. “One customer is using the AutoShell systems automation software to connect process tools to their factory systems. They have seen firsthand how AutoShell can reduce errors and improve operator productivity."
Plisinski adds, “As the industry turns its focus from capacity expansions to better yields and tighter process control, software like ARTIST, AutoShell, and ProcessWORKS will become invaluable to LED manufacturing as they are now to the semiconductor industry.