Die and wafer banking, on a basic level, is a process that remains somewhat consistent from service provider to service provider. Essentially, when an OEM chooses to adopt ASICs or other similar electronic components into their product designs, but does not have the infrastructure in place to properly protect them from external climate conditions (particularly moisture/humidity levels) while in their raw die form, they opt to turn to supply chain partners that do.
The similarities, however, end there. No two die and wafer banking solutions are exactly alike, and OEMs are forced to spend time carefully weighing the pros and cons of each to determine if their needs properly align with the service the supply chain partner provides. Are there any limits in terms of inventory quantity or time period? Who is responsible for the shipping and fulfillment of inventory? Does the storage provider have their own trained staff on hand to properly handle the raw die? Are there any limitations in terms of equipment? These are just a few of the questions OEMs have to answer.
When choosing to offer a die and wafer banking solution, we decided to simplify our solution to a point where the question isn’t what EDX can provide, but what does the customer need. Our long-term die and wafer banking solution is designed to be flexible enough to fit into any OEM business model. It’s a subtle difference, but letting our customers drive the conversation and shape their own solution based on what is necessary to preserve the lifecycles of their products without limitations or comprise is what sets us apart.
To see this in action, look no further than our decision to offer customers the use of desiccant dry cabinets.
EDX’s dry cabinets represent the latest innovation in die and wafer banking technology. Traditionally, wafer storage desiccator cabinets are infused with nitrogen, which is responsible for regulating humidity to levels suitable for raw die. While this has long been suitable for some OEMs, it does come with limitations; nitrogen is only capable of maintaining a relative humidity of six to 10 percent, along with a recovery time between 10 and 12 minutes. As a result, OEMs can only access their inventory three or four times per hour at most, which if mismanaged at high volumes can not only cause significant supply chain delays, but can put the inventory as a whole at risk to moisture contamination.
The technology in EDX’s dry cabinets considerably improves this process. Instead of nitrogen, our dry cabinets make use of a volcanic compound called zeolite, which is capable of reducing relative humidity levels as low as below 0.5 percent. This has significant implications for how OEMs interact with their die and wafer inventory, and for how long. With the ability to regulate humidity so quickly and so efficiently, recovery time between sessions has been reduced to below three minutes. This allows OEMs to retrieve their inventory a remarkable 10-12 times per hour, and allows us the ability to work with customers to create fully customizable delivery schedules not bound by equipment-based limitations.
In short, regardless of how much raw die inventory a manufacturer needs stored, or how long it needs to remain in strict humidity-controlled storage, EDX can craft a personalized solution just for them. By properly leveraging the best technology on the market, we have resolved virtually all of the typically complex questions involved with die and wafer banking, giving customers much-needed flexibility to take their supply chains to new, previously unreachable heights.