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Wafer cleaning innovation that exponentially reduces cleaning time

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Article - August 14, 2023

Since its foundation, J.E.T. has continued to provide tailored and innovative solutions to the world’s leading chip makers.

SINGLE WAFER TYPE HTS-300

“We would like to attract good talent to this company so that we can grow as a team, not just with a few core individuals, and continue making new developments.”

Masayuki Bouno, President, J.E.T. Co., Ltd.

The building blocks of all electronics, semiconductors continue to advance at a rapid pace, constantly enabling the development of new technologies. And as semiconductors continue to evolve and become increasingly smaller, the machinery and equipment used to produce them evolves in tandem.

A trusted and reputed industry player, J.E.T. designs, manufactures, sells and maintains cleaning equipment used in the pre-process of semiconductor manufacturing. Supporting the production of high-performing semiconductors with its cutting-edge technology, J.E.T. strives to keep pace with technological evolution while constantly improving the quality of its cleaning equipment. With subsidiaries in South Korea, China and Taiwan, J.E.T.’s business continues to grow, with sales expanding from 1.7 billion yen in 2009 to 23.1 billion yen in 2022, representing average annual growth of 21.7%.

Since the production of semiconductors is highly precise, the cleaning process is quite important. As such, 30 to 40% of the whole process for manufacturing semiconductors is related to cleaning. Regarding the cleaning equipment types, there are two: batch type, where 25 to 50 wafers are cleaned at a time, and single-wafer type, where a single wafer is cleaned at a time. J.E.T. excels at both methods and offers equipment that can be finely customized according to the customer's required specifications, something which sets the company apart from its competitors.

“Regarding the characteristics of our batch-type cleaning equipment, while our competitor’s equipment is quite standardized, our equipment is easily customizable, enabling clients to change the configuration and the number of cleaning chambers,” explains J.E.T. president Masayuki Bouno. “Also, for the single wafer type cleaning equipment, we are able to raise the temperature of the chemical solutions on the wafer with an infrared lamp so that we can improve the throughput, and also reduce the amount of chemical solution used.”

A concrete example of this is the HT-300 single-wafer cleaning equipment used for high-temperature processing. Aside from supplying high-temperature chemicals, the HT-300 maintains the temperature by heating the back of the wafer with a halogen lamp. In addition, the wafer treatment surface is turned upside down and chemicals are sprayed and supplied to the treated surface. As a result of these measures, the processing time can be reduced to 30 seconds (compared to the 5 minutes needed by competitor’s equipment), while the amount of chemicals used to process a single wafer can be reduced to 150 ml (95% less than the 3,000ml used by competitor’s equipment).

While many major players in the industry are engaged in standardized manufacturing equipment for semiconductors directed at the global market, J.E.T., as a smaller-sized company, has targeted clients in South Korea, China and Taiwan, meeting customer’s various demands with its customizable solutions. The company, however, does intend to expand its global reach, with plans afoot to enter the U.S. market, where the semiconductor industry is growing again at a fast pace after years of decline, in 2024.

“We have signed an agreement with Samsung Electronics to deliver our equipment to their new plant in Taylor, Texas. With that as the starting point, we would like to start expanding into North America so that we can find new customers there,” says Mr. Bouno. In order to enhance J.E.T.'s exposure in the North American market, the company will be among the exhibitors at SEMICON West 2023, which takes place in San Francisco on July 11-13.

Among J.E.T.’s core strengths is its long-standing relationship with Samsung, with whom it has maintained a strong relationship since the days of its predecessor, SES, having supplied more than 400 units of cleaning equipment to the Korean electronics giant over that time.

“In particular, they give us an order of the equipment for some processes which are quite intricate,” explains Mr. Bouno. “They give the order only to us for that particular equipment because once we receive a concern or problem from Samsung, we work together with them to come up with the best solution, and we deliver that solution to them. This is the kind of relationship we have maintained with them over the past 25 years.”

Looking to the future, and as it prepares for an IPO on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Standard Market after having successfully listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Pro Market in 2021, J.E.T. aims to secure more partners on the U.S. market while also attracting top global talent to the company. “Since we are aiming at an IPO, we would like to continue to grow as a company for stakeholders as well,” adds Mr. Bouno. “To that end, we would like to attract good talent to this company so that we can grow as a team, not just with a few core individuals, and continue making new developments.”

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