Silanna Semiconductor is an Australian company specialised in the design and manufacture of advanced semiconductors. It has established itself as a market leader, providing power control and UVC LED semiconductors to the communications, space, defence, medical, and consumer markets. With dedicated offices in North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia, the company maintains a global presence and ready access to a range of markets and industries.
Silanna Semiconductor faced a significant hurdle when developing its new semiconductor fabrication site in Brisbane, Australia. The facility was intended to expand the company’s production of state-of-the-art UVC LEDs but ensuring a sufficient and reliable supply of ultrapure water (UPW) proved to be a critical concern.
During the manufacture of semiconductors, UPW is vital to preventing contamination. As with many advanced manufacturing processes, even minimal contamination levels (as low as parts per billion) can lead to unacceptably low yields and result in costly waste. The new Brisbane facility demanded the use of ASTM D5127-13 Type E-1 UPW, which required a total organic carbon (TOC) content of fewer than 5 ppb and a resistivity of 18.1 MΩ.cm.
This meant that Silanna Semiconductor needed reliable and proven UPW treatment technology to achieve and maintain the exceptional standards required within its production processes.
To address Silanna Semiconductor's need for UPW, Evoqua proposed a customised multi-stage solution that would produce UPW from readily available municipal town water. The process was divided into three stages: pre-treatment; primary deionisation; and finally, the UPW polishing loop.
The Evoqua team managed all aspects of the project, including design, equipment, installation, commissioning, and servicing, using its in-house technology and expertise. The equipment supplied by Evoqua for the advanced multistage treatment process included Vantage® PTC Multimedia Filtration, Vantage PTC Activated Carbon Filtration, Vantage Reverse Osmosis, Ionpure® CEDI, ATG™ UV - VT TOC reduction system, and SDI polishing mixed beds.
Evoqua began the design and construction of the UPW system for Silanna Semiconductor in 2020. Responsible for all key equipment in the UPW system, Evoqua optimised each stage during the design process to ensure optimal performance and water efficiency. However, the COVID-19 pandemic, subsequent lockdowns, and travel restrictions led to significant delays in onsite construction.
To mitigate these delays, Evoqua provided equipment assembly and factory testing of the process skids prior to shipping. During pre-commissioning, sampling results showed that the system had already achieved one of the key milestones: producing water with a resistivity of 18.1 MΩ.cm directly from the Ionpure CEDI system. This accomplishment allowed UPW to be directed into the polishing loop for the commissioning of the ATG VT TOC UV system and SDI polishing mixed beds.
Evoqua successfully commissioned and handed over the complete UPW system to Silanna Semiconductor. To validate the system's performance, water quality samples were collected over several months and sent to certified third parties for testing. The successful implementation of the UPW system demonstrated Evoqua's ability to deliver a tailored solution despite the challenges posed by the global pandemic.
Working with Evoqua and installing a bespoke system delivered numerous benefits to Silanna Semiconductor and met all required metrics. The equipment and process design exceeded the company's expectations, delivering a recorded TOC level of 2.1 ppb and resistivity greater than 18.1 MΩ.cm for the UPW. Additionally, Evoqua’s total solution continues to deliver a reduction in maintenance requirements for UPW production. This led to less time-consuming sanitisation, that minimises costly production downtime. In turn, this allowed Silanna Semiconductor to focus on its core business, with full confidence that its UPW system would continue to meet high standards.
Importantly, the project had strong sustainability objectives which were also met. Evoqua helped Silanna Semiconductor achieve its environmental goals by reaching the project's water efficiency requirement of converting 70% of town water to Type E-1 UPW. The use of Evoqua’s innovative Ionpure® CEDI system eliminated the need for regeneration chemicals, reducing both chemical consumption and water waste. Furthermore, the ATG™ UV VT TOC reduction system decreased the frequency of polishing mixed bed replacements, minimising production downtime and contributing to a more sustainable production process. Through these measures, Evoqua demonstrated its commitment to delivering both high-quality and environmentally responsible solutions for its customers.