Patent number 8556318 is assigned to
The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to an electric-controlled operator. More particularly, the present invention relates to an electric-controlled operator for gripping and releasing objects.
"In semiconductor processing techniques, an electric-controlled operator is often used for gripping and releasing objects. For example, such an electric-controlled operator can be adapted to put an object into a process chamber, and to take out the processed object after the object has been processed in the process chamber.
"An object before processing and the object after processing may have different properties (for example, different cleanliness, different coating, or the like). In order to prevent an object before processing and an object after processing from contaminating each other, an electric-controlled operator, as shown in FIG. 1a and FIG. 1b, has been used.
"FIG. 1a is a schematic perspective view of an electric-controlled operator 100, as known in the prior art. The electric-controlled operator 100 has a base 110. The base 110 is coupled to a first group of grippers 101 and a second group of grippers 102. FIG. 1b is a cross-sectional view of operator 100 taken along line C-C' of FIG. 1a. As shown in FIG. 1a and FIG. 1b, the first group of grippers 101 is arranged to grip an object from a first surface 111 side of the base 110, while the second group of grippers 102 is arranged to grip an object from a second surface 112 side of the base 110, the second surface 112 is opposite to the first surface 111.
"During the operation of the electric-controlled operator 100, the first group of grippers 101 is adapted to put an object into a process chamber. After the object has been processed in the process chamber, the base 110 is turned around (reversed) and then the second group of grippers 102 at the other side takes out the processed object. As such, the object before processing and the object after processing are put in and taken out respectively by different groups of grippers, preventing the object before processing and the object after processing from contaminating each other. The abovementioned object can be, for example, a wafer."
In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, VerticalNews journalists also obtained the inventor's summary information for this patent: "However, according to the prior art shown in FIGS. 1a and 1b, for the processing in each process chamber, putting in objects and taking out objects respectively require the use of the first group of grippers 101 which performs putting in/taking out from the first surface 111 side and the use of the second group of grippers 102 which performs putting in/taking out from the second surface 112 side. Therefore, in order to alternately use the first group of grippers 101 and the second group of grippers 102, the base 110 needs to turn 180.degree. frequently, and a motor (not shown) that is used to drive the base such that the base can turn also needs to operate frequently. As a result, the employed parts will be badly worn and have a reduced service life, and thus need to be replaced (exchanged) frequently.
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