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Semiconductors are critical components of electronic devices, enabling advancements in communications, computing, healthcare, military systems, transportation, clean energy, and a wide range of other applications.

Popular Mechanics staff members initiated a test a few years ago to determine how various shipping companies would handle sensor shipments. "One disheartening result," the authors wrote, "was that when our packages were labeled 'Fragile' or 'This Side Up,' they received more abuse." The package was flipped more, and it registered above-average acceleration spikes during trips for which we requested special handling."

No high-tech company would knowingly expose a shipment to in-transit damage, but many fail to take even the most basic precautionary measures to avoid damage. This can include a regular review of shipment packaging practices as well as a shipping partner's track record of shipment protection.

After an exhaustive search, our client found in Impact Indicator 2 a partner with an equal passion for customer service and supply chain technology. The following topics are the basic shipping tips and key points to shipping semiconductor chips and silicon wafer securely.

What is semiconductor?

Semiconductors, also known as integrated circuits (ICs) or microchips, are constructed from pure elements such as silicon or germanium, or from compounds such as gallium arsenide. Small amounts of impurities are added to these pure elements in a process known as doping, causing large changes in the conductivity of the material.

Between the conductor and the insulator is a semiconductor substance. It regulates and manages the flow of electric current in electronic devices and equipment. As a result, it has become a popular component of electronic chips used in computing components and a wide range of electronic devices, including solid-state storage.

The semiconductor industry is the aggregate of companies engaged in the design and fabrication of semiconductors and semiconductor devices, such as transistors and integrated circuits, here’s the simple vertical production chain.

Front-End Products

Front-end products enable the automated fabrication, transport, and processing of semiconductor wafers while providing a high level of mechanical and physical protection. Transport and handling carriers, process cassettes used in the fabrication of semiconductor wafers, and storage environments for finished and work-in-progress ("WIP") wafers are examples of front-end products.

Back-End Products

Back-end products make it easier to handle and transfer finished wafers, make packaged ICs, and transport finished ICs and electronic components to system sub-assembly and final assembly manufacturers. Maintaining the physical and functional integrity of finished wafers, fragile ICs, and other electronic components is critical to ensuring that electronic systems operate and function properly.

Back-end products' ability to interface with high-speed automated assembly and SMT equipment reliably and consistently improves production throughput and manufacturing efficiencies.

End Systems

End-system products, such as magnetic disk drives for computer and consumer applications and imaging products, make automated assembly of electronics end systems possible. These applications have a high sensitivity to ionic, chemical, and particulate contamination. Disk substrates, media carriers, and automation trays are examples of end-system products.

How do semiconductors work?

The majority of semiconductors are made up of crystals made of various materials. Users must understand atoms and how electrons organize themselves within the atom to better understand how semiconductors work. Inside an atom, electrons are arranged in layers called shells. A valence shell is the atom's most outermost shell.

This valence shell's electrons are the ones that form bonds with neighboring atoms. Covalent bonds are the name given to such bonds. The valence shell of most conductors contains only one electron. In contrast, semiconductors typically have four electrons in their valence shell.

If nearby atoms have the same valence, electrons may bind with the valence electrons of other atoms. Atoms organize themselves into crystal structures whenever this occurs. Most semiconductors are made with such crystals, primarily silicon crystals.

What is the importance of semiconductor in our daily life?

Semiconductors are used in everyday products such as computers, televisions, smartphones, telecommunication, white goods, transportation, banking, and even medical diagnostic equipment.

These chips regulate and govern the flow of electricity through electronic devices and equipment. As a result, it is a widely used part of electronic chips used in solid-state storage as well as computing components and other electronic devices.

They appear to be powerful enough to solve big and small problems in our lives and provide convenience, but they are extremely fragile and easily damaged. The wafer must have few to no defects in order to be useful.

How are silicon wafers shipped?

Instead of shipping bonded wafers that need to be debonded, wafers should be delivered on tape. To be integrated into 3D stacks, these thin and delicate wafers that come from various manufacturing processes in facilities all over the globe must be delivered to a single location.

Material property is the ease with which silicon wafers break. They're brittle and easily broken, but they won't fall apart in your hands. They should never be handled with bare hands because the salt in your sweat will diffuse into the wafer and render it ineffective.

A huge loss caused by a broken silicon wafer is unfathomable. This necessitates a reverse logistics program, which incurs costs for actual delivery and delays chip manufacturers and their customers, particularly during global semiconductor shortages. A prolonged chip drought could delay the rollout of these new products, also driving up the price. Freight spending was up 23% from 2020 to 2021, and many industry insiders expect that number to keep rising.

What is the best way to ship semiconductor wafer?

No high-tech company would knowingly expose a shipment to in-transit damage, but many fail to take even the most basic precautionary measures to avoid damage. This can include a regular review of shipment packaging practices as well as a shipping partner's track record of shipment protection.

Reduce in-transit handoffs

The more times a shipment is loaded and unloaded, the more likely damage occurs. A shipment may be dropped at some point, reloaded in such a way that label alerts for special handling are ignored, or subjected to any other type of damage-inducing movement. This is especially true when a shipment is transferred from one carrier to another, because different carriers may have different protocols in place - or may not prioritize avoiding shipment damage.

Using a logistics provider who can ensure continuous service is an obvious way to reduce the risk of damage. Find a provider with a large network that allows full access to the regions where your shipments will be delivered.

Wafer Packaging

Wafer boxes are classified into several types.

They are as follows:

  • Multi-Wafer Horizontal Shipping Boxes
  • Horizontal Stackable Shipping Boxes
  • Vertical Shipping Boxes

They're all intended to keep wafers safe and secure. They all also perform admirably in minor accidents.

This means that the most important factor to consider when determining how much care a logistics company takes in safe shipping is secondary packaging (i.e., the materials that protect the wafer box, which typically includes shipping boxes and, in some cases, liner).

Researchers tested all shipping boxes mentioned above which dropped boxes full of wafers to determine their fragility: even when dropped from 120cm approximately impact force of 150 g, some wafers remained undamaged.

Similarly, the damaged wafers were not concentrated in one location. If the wafers in one cluster were damaged, it would imply that the boxes had vulnerable areas where the wafers were not as well protected. This, on the other hand, indicates that the packaging absorbed as much force as possible throughout. Moreover, 150 g of impact force, the damage becomes severe. Many wafers are likely to crack at this point.

Monitoring & Tracking Semiconductor Shipping

One cargo surveyor claims that by taking a thorough approach to transportation and damage mitigation, damage in about 50% of items may be reduced.

Semiconductor manufacturers stand to benefit greatly from using indicators to track the entire product transportation process. Monitoring indicators are beneficial in a wide range of industries. A good example is the transportation of semiconductor materials and equipment.

Outside-of-packaging indicators can serve as a visible deterrent to carriers and personnel who mishandle packages. Because indicators provide unequivocal evidence of an undesirable event, they can stimulate product inspections, exposing hidden damage and preventing damaged items from reaching the shelves.

Simple indicators can provide go/no-go assurance for impacts and temperature deviation. Impact indicators activate at predefined impact levels and provide a record of potentially hazardous falls or drops. Temperature indicators, on the other hand, activate when temperatures become excessively hot or cold.

Unacceptable Levels of Temperature and Humidity Deviation

Water not only conducts electricity, but it may also contain dissolved minerals and impurities that can damage semiconductors long after the water has dried. Extreme temperatures and rapid temperature changes is a problem.

Unacceptable Levels of Shock and Drop Deviation

A shock indicator is commonly used to control the quality of raw materials, semi-finished products, and finished products during storage and transportation, to detect potentially damaged products quickly, and to reduce the risk of additional production and malfunction.

Best solution to prevent delivery damage – Impact Indicator 2

After discussion, the client accepts Impact Indicator 2 as a trial to protect delicate, sophisticated, and expensive semiconductor chips and silicon wafers from damage during transit. The use of indicators on the most valuable products was adopted to begin tracking and monitoring.

Impact Indicator 2 is so visible that handlers can notice it and properly care for the items, just like with white glove delivery. Because most forwarding agents around the world are familiar with monitoring indicators, they understand how to use them with extreme caution. They've essentially established the following standard operating procedure.

(1) Before moving or handling the shipment, ensure that the Impact Indicator 2 is turned off and take a photo as proof. They could avoid taking responsibility for the actions of others and making false accusations.

(2) Once they start handling the goods, they will use extreme caution because they are aware that the shipment is being monitored and that mishandling is unacceptable. Handlers are deterred visually by the Impact Indicator.

(3) Because indicators cannot be reset and are tamperproof, the handler must make a notation, note the date/time, and sign the document after a shock occurs.

The impact indicator detects if a shock occurs during transit, allowing our customers to avoid using a hidden damaged finished device that puts every users at risk.

Clients cannot believe that this indicator improves shipment damage issues. They practice the implementation of the indicators in the subsequent shipment. Since 2021, the damage rate has been reduced to less than 8%, according to statistics.

According to MMAAZZ Technology of Canada, monitoring indicator is for precise placement on the package or else values will be inaccurate. Furthermore, some sensors " may only read best at certain angles of force…"

How do you use Shipping Indicator correctly? Contact Impact Indicator 2 now to learn more about best practices.

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Semiconductors are critical components of electronic devices, enabling advancements in communications, computing, healthcare, military systems, transportation, clean energy, and a wide range of other applications. Popular Mechanics staff members initiated a test a few years ago to determine how various shipping companies would handle sensor shipments. "One disheartening result," the authors wrote, "was that when […]

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