Philipp Quaderer, CEO
Severe scarcity of raw materials and outdated production tools pose serious threats to semiconductor fabrication plant(Fabs) operations, especially in terms of sustainability. For engineers at these manufacturing units, understanding the nuances in the integrated circuit manufacturing processes are cumbersome and require great amounts of time and effort in keeping the machinery running smoothly and efficiently. At the technical limit of their life span, the decade-old equipment renders fabs incapable of producing modern chips, causing a fall in operational efficiency and productivity, and in certain serious cases, the closure of factories entirely. Lifting the spirits of these integrated circuit makers is SPM, a semiconductor technology provider that focuses on upgrading the tools by replacing core parts such as O-rings, RF-Generators or other spares that allow fabs to stabilise their range of production tools.
Founded in 2008, SPM works closely with its clients’ engineers to understand the inherent issues within production lines and equipment. The close cooperation with the engineers allows SPM to offer the right solutions in enabling semiconductor fabricators to attain higher throughput and increase production yield with improved productivity. “We empower our clients to scale their business by building a good rapport with all stakeholders throughout their production facility. Our rich base of suppliers has a great understanding of the engineering challenges and allow us to offer the best technologies available for semiconductor production,” expresses Philipp Quaderer, CEO at SPM.
With an advanced and hands-on approach, SPM has aided a client that was affected by the electrostatic charge within an equipment chamberto custom build a solution along with its O-ring supplier, which is electrically conductive and removes unwanted charge. In eliminating the inherent problem, SPM discovered a similar requirement for electrically conductive ceramics and went back to the drawing board alongside its extensive supplier network to develop a solution.
Furthermore, in assuring a flawless operational schema, the semiconductor technology services provider delivers wafer arms equipped with special pads to prevent the chipsfrom sliding off the machinery during production.
“We can grow a lot, thanks to our excellent and trusted supplier base that develop great solutions,” says Quaderer. Amongst others, SPM has a tight-knit partnership with German RF-Generator manufacturer, Trumpf-Huttinger, and offers their products to chipmakers as a plug and play solution. One of the biggest challenges, however, is ensuring that spare O-rings and RF-Generators are available at all times at the behest of a Fabs engineer and to avoid corrigible delays in supply to its clients. Having realised the severity of the issue, SPM preproduces the required spare parts, such that clients have access to their requirements. “Each customer has a unique problem set; by analysing the possible root cause together with our customers, we develop solutions based on their already existing workstations and equipment,” comments Quaderer. For integrated circuit and chip makers, SPM’s outof- the-box thinking and experience allows them to save time and finances by continuing to use older equipment that is perfectly usable in production.
Nurturing the mindset to go the extra mile, SPM’s offers a mixture of expertise, willingness to discuss/brainstorm issues, and ability to deduce solutions, which enable customers to experience real value from even the old chambers involved in the semiconductor production processes. “We understand that business is not only the products but as well as the relationships,” elucidates Quaderer.
Our rich base of suppliers has a great understanding of the engineering challenges and allow us to offer the best technologies available for semiconductor production
For one semiconductor fab with an underlying equipment failure issue, SPM found that the O-ring lasted only three weeks due to a flaw in the design. “It seemed interesting because the tool was in use at many other sites. Therefore, we took the OEM part, analysed the cause for its quick breakage, and came up with a proposal within the specifications of the original part, allowing for the part to last for a year, contrasting its predecessor’s durability score,” mentions Quaderer. Another instance that showcases SPM’s superior grasp over the semiconductor production space can be witnessed through the workings of the O-rings it has developed for a client’s equipment that was under heavy stress. Here, the goal of the customer was to increase stability in terms of particles used in production. The solution not only exceeded the expectations of the customer but also elevated the production results. On achieving the first target of 4000MWh with the new O-rings, the client decided to set a new target of 6000MWh, which was also accomplished successfully.
A stalwart of the semiconductor production and Fabs space, Quaderer has immense experience and a commendable market approach that has allowed SPM to rise alongside some of the largest parts suppliers and Fabs in the European market. Never hesitant to answer client end queries, SPM helps its customers find the right part suppliers assuring that no time is lost, or any unnecessary monetary repercussions are incurred.
“The semiconductor industry and market are very turbulent, and Fabs require all these modifications, with certain people being hesitant to take any risks. Our job is to build a case where they can run the production machines smoother and with less risk,” shares Quaderer. Having set the standards for error-free semiconductor production in Europe, SPM plans to venture into other markets such as the Far East or the US. “We are open to working with people that want to enter the market and think they have a good product line or a good solution but do not have access to the semiconductor market,” concludes Quaderer.