Growth by breakthrough technologies
Knowing when to follow and when to break away.
Introducing Peltier technology to heat and cool wafers
ERS introduced the first wafer thermal chucks employing solid-state Peltier units for thermal control. Peltier chucks had no moving parts and were soon adopted by others in the industry. By 1980, however, the semiconductor industry was racing ahead and increasing its demands for performance and reliability in thermal chuck systems.
By the late 80’s ERS was convinced liquid coolants had to be replaced with something cleaner and more reliable. An apparently daring but, in fact, a carefully considered decision was made by ERS to move to air cooling for the +15 °C and higher wafer test application. Documents on modern and historical thermal technologies were reviewed for ideas. Eventually a concept evolved that was destined to become the heart of the ERS AirCool® system – the most reliable hot/cool chuck ever built. Cleverly hidden within the chuck, the new air-only cooling method came on the market in 1992 and thwarted attempts to copy it for 8 years. Today it is an industry norm.
The reaction of its customers to the AirCool® system convinced ERS that – wherever possible – liquids and Peltier elements should be avoided and air alone should be used to cool its thermal chucks. ERS went to the task of once again proving that air could cool in a way that no one thought possible. The patented system that resulted changed how the wafer test world looks at air cooling. AC² chilling technology makes optimal use of the power of its compact air chiller to achieve “impossible” performance in a breathtakingly small package.
Applied genius to detect and remove energy added to a wafer test system
At the beginning of this century ERS was challenged by a blue chip semiconductor maker to remove huge amounts of heat dissipated during wafer test. Once again, the ERS solution to the customer request resulted in a patented product that is remarkable not only in its performance, but also in the sheer elegance of the solution.
Our PowerSense® technology is now integrated in our AC3 chucks.
Growth in the 21st Century
The role of temperature in the semiconductor industry is ever increasing in importance. One can hardly find a high-tech system or process that is not vitally affected by temperature and how it is controlled. How high, how low, how accurately it is held, how homogeneously it is distributed, how fast it changes – all of these aspects of temperature control find their way broadly into the world’s most important technologies.
ERS integrates all important disciplines into its systems and services: thermodynamics, precision mechanics, electronics, software and test technology. Firmly committed to develop ever more reliable and sophisticated thermal control technology, we will strive to remain the world leader in thermal wafer chuck systems.
As of 2005 our thermal product development had taken the direction of implementing our know-how into new products and services. The recognition of thermal management as the center of many high tech processes led to the ERS custom solution department. We also broadened the application area of our proprietary AC2 technology. Finally, the development of the AirCool®3 – the worlds first truly modular thermal wafer chuck system based on air-only technology – moved AirCool® technology into a much broader market and set the foundation for future growth. Accompanied by a constant expansion of our global footprint, seen by our establishing branch offices around the world, we look forward to continuing to turn thermal challenges into thermal solutions.