Cleanliness as a state of mind

 

The success of developing and manufacturing complex modules and machines for high-tech OEMs is determined by ever stricter demands for cleanliness. As a consequence NTS regards contamination control as a core competence. It invests heavily in generating relevant knowledge and the necessary equipment, and applying these in development and manufacturing processes for customers. In doing so the bar is set high, not only in regard to the present needs for cleanliness, but also those of the years to come. 

Leading in cleanliness

At NTS, we aim to be a leading player in cleanliness and contamination control. Sharing our expertise with our customers is key in successful system development and manufacturing. Cleanliness is not just about cleanroom assembly, but starts with concept designs and processes. This allows for an optimal balance in cleanliness requirements.

Contamination control in nanometer precision processes

Working at nanometer precision, or for instance in high voltage fields under vacuum means that even little amounts of contamination can interrupt production processes and reduce machine lifetime. That’s why our strategic partners are very much willing to share their R&D path and cleanliness requirements, to enable the optimal result.

Download our case about cleanliness in semiconductor measurement equipment

This case study presents a balanced design effort for contamination control in precision semiconductor measurement equipment. Our experts discuss a machine design approach with focus on design-for-cleanliness for atmospheric precision cleanroom measurement equipment. Nowadays, cleanliness requirements are becoming more strict for both particle and outgassing contamination, which increases design efforts substantially, leading to high development cost for this class of equipment. At NTS, we found a method to comply with these requirements. This approach can be used for a wide range of systems and lowers the total design effort without compromising the needed contamination control.

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Design for Cleanliness

NTS has gathered experience and insights which we can use in a very early design phase. Together with our customers, we have to define specification of the required cleanliness in an early stage. Taking that into account in the design phase allow us to avoid many problems and to make cleanliness optimizations from the start. 

Cleanroom assembly

To facilitate the increasing demand for cleanroom assembly, we have increased our high end clean room capacity in The  Netherlands, doubling capacity in Eindhoven and more than trebling the capacity in Hengelo in late 2020.  With new and expanded cleanrooms in Hengelo, Eindhoven and Nijmegen and deployment of AMC charcoal filters to avoid molecular contamination, we are equipped with several ISO 6 cleanrooms and even cleaner mini environments. Additional capacity is also available at our global sites in Shanghai, the Czech Republic and Singapore. Several sites also have on-site advance fine cleaning lines. With trained cleanroom experts, we serve our customers’ needs in the semiconductor and increasingly the analytical and healthcare markets. In some of our top customer’s projects, this approach allowed us to reduce particle count to “undetectable” levels.

Cleanroom facilities

Of course contamination control is also determined by your cleanroom facilities. Therefore NTS has invested extensively in cleanrooms. Over the years we have expanded our ISO 6 cleanroom, upgraded ISO 8 facilities to ISO 7 and also added ISO 5 or less environments. One of our latest additions is a two-storey 1600m2 cleanroom in Hengelo.

Cleanliness way of working

In order to prevent contamination, cleanliness to us is a way of working. Since procedures and rules cannot prevent all risks, creating awareness of cleanliness is a major factor in our way of working. We organize special trainings for our cleanliness experts in order to use the cleanrooms and vacuum technology and run Residual Gas Analysis (RGA).

Download our cleanliness whitepaper "Looking ahead to our customers’ future cleanliness requirements"

NTS has designated cleanliness a core competence and has a holistic, systematic approach in place to continue anticipating and acting on developing market requirements. That, combined with our unique manufacturing knowledge and how to apply cleanliness to that area of expertise is what makes NTS a strong partner for leading OEM’s in demanding markets. In this whitepaper, our Cleanliness Competence Team discusses four subjects that are at the heart of cleanliness:

  • Drivers of cleanliness in Semicon, Analytical & life sciences
  • Cleanliness training, education and metrology
  • Cleanliness and the manufacturing flow
  • The future of cleanliness

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Meet our Cleanliness Competence Team

About three years ago NTS established its Cleanliness Competence Team (CCT) in order to build up, secure and archive cleanliness competence and to set design guidelines. Although contamination control had been a natural part of a lot of projects within the enterprise, this marked the official recognition of cleanliness as a core competence that had to be embedded in all layers of the organization.

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