USACH is Revolutionizing SiC Boule Fabrication

Meeting the Demands of Growing SiC Market: SiC manufacturers worldwide are expanding rapidly to keep up with the increasing demand for SiC in various applications. To achieve this, they require a solution that can optimize every aspect of their SiC production facility. The BoulePro-200AX perfectly aligns with these requirements and sets a new standard for SiC boule to puck conversion optimization.

Process Methodology:  The BoulePro -200AX takes a unique approach to processing as-grown SiC boules.  There are multiple workheads and on each workhead there are multiple ways to hold the boule including vacuum gripping and OD gripping on the part.  The boule can also be pinched in between the workheads in order to hold it securely during OD and flat grinding stages.  Below you will find an example of the typical process cycle from as-grown boule to wafer ready SiC puck in the BoulePro machine.

First the boule is mounted, seed side on the vacuum plate of the primary workhead.  Next, the boule is securely held between the workheads and the rough OD is applied to a diameter in which the OD gripping capability can be utilized.  A rough dome grind can then be applied to ensure accurate results from the XRD unit, which is used to identify crystal orientation and location of the flat in a single measurement.  The boule is then held in such a manner as a surface grinding operation can do the face correction of the boule to an exact 4.0 degrees in the [11-20] direction for N-type material or to an exact 0.0 degrees for semi-insulating material.  This correction is accomplished regardless of the initial growth condition of the boule whether grown on axis, 4 degrees off axis, or any other condition.  Once this correction has been applied, the part can be handed off to the secondary workhead where the seed side can be ground parallel to the perfectly oriented dome side of the part.  The remaining process steps include finishing the OD to the customer’s specifications, applying the flat for 150mm material or notch for 200mm material and then performing any needed rotary grinding operations on the seed (Silicon) or dome (Carbon) faces of the part to meet surface finish requirements for the downstream wafering operation.  This process flow need not be followed exactly and can be done in a different order depending on customer boule geometry and specific customer requirements.

Typical Process:

Key Advantages of the BoulePro-200AX: The BoulePro-200AX is a game-changer for SiC manufacturers, offering the following key advantages:

  1. Streamlined Automation: This innovative machine tool accomplishes all the necessary steps in the boule to puck conversion process within a fully automated framework, completing the process in just two to three hours.
  2. Enhanced Process Repeatability: The advanced degree of automation provided by the BoulePro-200AX ensures improved process repeatability, resulting in consistent and high-quality SiC products.
  3. Significant Labor Cost Reduction: SiC producers can benefit from an impressive 85% reduction in labor costs, making the production process not only more efficient but also cost-effective.
  4. Reduced Manufacturing Footprint: The BoulePro-200AX significantly reduces the manufacturing footprint by 80%, optimizing space utilization in SiC production facilities.
  5. Comprehensive Cost Reduction: In comparison to the industry’s current standard practices, the BoulePro-200AX offers a total cost reduction of nearly 70%, encompassing Capital Expenditure (CapEx), Operating Expenditure (OpEx), and consumables.

The Hardinge BoulePro-200AX is revolutionizing SiC boule fabrication, empowering manufacturers to meet the burgeoning demand for high-quality, cost-effective SiC products. With its unparalleled automation, labor cost savings, reduced footprint, and comprehensive cost reduction, the BoulePro-200AX is a game-changing solution for SiC producers. It addresses the industry’s evolving needs and positions Hardinge as a reliable partner for SiC manufacturers seeking to optimize their production processes and stay ahead in this dynamic market. As SiC’s importance continues to grow, the BoulePro-200AX stands ready to lead the way in SiC boule fabrication.