Samsung Electronics is bolstering the implementation of automation systems within its sub-fabrication facilities, which are responsible for providing specialised gases and chemicals used in semiconductor manufacturing. The company has already integrated automated systems in new facilities, such as the Pyeongtaek V1 fab, and is progressively introducing them to legacy facilities.
The principal objective behind the adoption of sub-fab automation is to enhance safety and avert accidents. This initiative is a response to the Severe Disaster Punishment Act, which came into force in the previous year.
Samsung is deploying an Automatic Clean Coupler (ACQC) system and a drum logistics automation system to mitigate the risk of accidents associated with the handling of hazardous chemicals. Historically, workers have been required to manually connect couplers when transferring special gases and chemicals from external tank lorries to internal storage tanks located in the sub-fabs. This process has inherently carried a high risk of accidents.
The ACQC system enables automatic connection to the sub-fab when the pipe from the tank lorry is positioned in a designated location. Consequently, manual intervention is eliminated, substantially reducing the risk of accidents. Simultaneously, Samsung has introduced a drum logistics automation system that streamlines the handling of chemicals from drums, rendering the process safer for employees.
Firms such as Hanyang ENG and STI, an affiliate of Sungdo ENG, are providing ACQC and drum logistics automation systems to Samsung Electronics. These companies initiated the development of the systems around 2019.
Samsung’s commitment to expanding and applying automation systems to its older facilities reflects a broader trend within the semiconductor industry. Automation will play a crucial role in preventing chemical-related accidents, which have resulted in casualties in previous incidents. Moreover, it aims to sidestep penalties under the Severe Disaster Punishment Act, a regulation that allows for the imposition of prison sentences on company executives or safety managers if workers perish in workplace accidents. The semiconductor industry is investing in a variety of improvements to bolster safety and adhere to this legislation.