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Entegris ESD Valves, Fittings, and Tubing: An Introduction

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Entegris ESD Valves, Fittings, and Tubing: An Introduction

Entegris ESD Valves, Fittings, and Tubing: An Introduction

As semiconductor manufacturers approach smaller nodes, they’ve increasingly moved away from traditional stainless-steel fittings, tubing, and valves for their aqueous solvents due to an increased risk of contamination. By switching from stainless steel to PFA, however, they may have unintentionally switched from one risk to another. Turbulent fluid flow can accumulate an electrical charge as it passes through PFA components, and it can discharge unexpectedly. This electrostatic discharge (ESD) can cause leaks, damage equipment, or cause wafer defects.

Entegris has steadily been introducing components designed to mitigate these risks, starting with tubing and fittings. We’ve also recently introduced new valve families designed to prevent ESD. Here’s how this works, and why a complete system of valves, fittings, and tubing offers advantages in the semiconductor fab environment.

How and Why to Use ESD Valves, Fittings, and Tubing

Instead of allowing ESD to discharge randomly, ESD valves, fittings, and tubing direct static charge to a known location. This takes the form of a metallic strap attached to one of our special ESD fittings or ESD valves that safely earths the static charge into the ground. Entegris uses PFA impregnated with conductive material on the inner diameter (ID) of our PFA tubing. Our ESD valve bodies and fittings are molded from the same conductive PFA material. In this system, the nose of the fitting connection contacts the conductive stripes on the ID of the tubing. This makes electrical contact with the fitting. Meanwhile, the ESD fitting body provides a robust way to attach the grounding strap.

It’s important to note that adding conductive material does not compromise the cleanliness of the PFA tubing. Rigorous extractible and particle testing from Entegris has shown that the material is clean and stable, posing no additional contamination risk.

Entegris Offers a Full ESD Solution for Tubing, Fittings, and Valves 

Here are the advantages of a complete solution for ESD protection.

  • Non-ESD valves are susceptible to ESD damage
    The interior of a PFA valve contains a thin, flexible membrane which is easily damaged by static discharge. Puncturing or otherwise compromising the membrane can lead to hazardous chemical leaks or uncontrolled liquid flows, presenting a safety hazard.
  • A complete ESD system offers greater safety
    For complete ESD safety, operators need to reestablish ground every time the tubing relay encounters a non-grounded component. This would mean establishing ground after every valve. Meanwhile, adding a conductive valve decreases the number of ground points, simplifying the system, reducing potential points of failure, and minimizing the chance of hazards such as ground loops.
  • Simplified ESD systems reduce maintenance time and costs
    Semiconductor fabs typically implement tubing runs of 750 – 1500 feet. Meanwhile, each fitting contains a ground strap that prevents ESD for 200 feet in each direction, or 400 feet in total. Using a complete ESD system means needing only two ground points for a 750-foot stretch of tubing. This means fewer ground points to inspect and maintain, which can save on both time and costs.

By implementing a complete system of ESD valves, fittings, and tubing, fab operators can further minimize risks while reducing complexity.

The Advantage of Choosing Entegris for ESD Protection

Entegris is the only company currently offering a complete solution – as opposed to tubing alone – for electrostatic dissipative applications. We also have decades of experience creating ultra-pure chemical delivery systems for use in the semiconductor industry. Not only are our implementations simpler and more robust, they’ll also last longer with fewer contamination risks. Due to our manufacturing methods, which involve co-extruding virgin and conductive PFA material, there’s no risk of delamination or subsequent contamination.

Lastly, we make our products easy to use. We offer a complete guide to installation, plus post-installation testing instructions to ensure electrical continuity. You can contact us at any time to learn about options for tailoring our products for your unique workflow. No matter how you’re set up, our equipment can help protect your facility, your workers, and your products.

To learn more about Entegris ESD valves, fittings, and tubing, watch our new featured animation.

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