Even a split-second deviation in the voltage of electricity serving a fabrication plant can crash a sensitive component, causing downtime, missed deliveries, and lost product. These interruptions can cost as much as $2 million per day. Despite potential power quality problems, why are such shutdowns on the decline? New standards enable semiconductor makers to use components that safely "ride through" voltage sags, resulting from lightning or severe weather, downed or crossed power lines, or other power system disturbances.
The standards define a reasonable level of immunity or resistance to voltage sags for many semiconductor fabrication tools, plus specify a methodology for testing specific equipment to determine its voltage safe tolerance.
Efforts among semiconductor manufacturers, equipment suppliers, and energy companies resulted in development of the standard. This group included SEMATECH (SEMiconductor Manufacturing TECHnology) and SEMI (Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International); the semiconductor industry's research arm and standards organization and EPRI (Electric Power Research Institute), which manages science/technology for the energy industry.
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