About the client

The company produces highly sensitive fabrication equipment and silicon wafers that can be easily damaged if the right protective packaging solution is not in place.

The semiconductor industry is faced by a two-fold challenge.

Semiconductor fabrication equipment and the silicon wafers the company produce are extremely sensitive to impact and tilt. Impacts, like being hit by shifting cargo during delivery, can fracture wafers. Stronger impacts, like being bumped by a forklift or dropped while loading, can damage fabrication equipment’s’ internal components.

When wafers break, they can be recycled. In fact, 85% of them are returned to their manufacturer and melted down to make new wafers. But that requires a reverse logistics program and exacts costs for the actual shipping and – especially during shortages – causes delays for chip manufacturers and their customers.

When fabrication machinery is damaged, it may not be obvious. Hidden damage can lead to hard-to-pinpoint problems later. Damage to scanners for photolithography or to etching equipment, for example, could cause circuits to be laid down in the wrong areas, making the chips worthless and ultimately triggering massive recalls. All the equipment in the fabrication facility is extremely precise. Costs for individual items are said to start at about $700,000 with some items (notably EUV scanners) costing $130 million. 

Protective packaging prevents most of the damage that occurs during shipping from affecting the products. But damage still occurs.

Shockwatch indicators

Conclusion: Damaging rates are reduced by an average of 50% 

RFID can make a noticeable improvement in terms of reducing damage rates for delicate wafers and the equipment that makes them. Given the current, global, shortage of semiconductor chips and growing global needs, taking extra steps to reduce damage is a logical precaution to protect your business.

It is a sound investment, too. Customers report shipping damage was reduced an average of 50% when its highly visible impact monitoring tags were placed on their shipments. That’s because cargo handlers are more careful when they know someone is tracking the condition of the assets.

Globally 2%-3% of shipments are damaged during transport. However, through implementing an RFID-based impact monitoring program, this can cut that damage significantly. Protecting semiconductor fabrication equipment and wafers with an RFID impact monitoring program, therefore, is a sound investment.

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