Testing Valves for Particle Generation
Industry standards continue to push toward cleaner processes, and valves have always been notorious for generating particles. Over many years, Particle Measuring Systems (PMS) has been asked to recommend a particle-free valve for specific processes. PMS has not defined a specific valve or manufacturer that meets particle-free operation, but we have developed guidelines for testing particle contamination generated by valves. This paper will discuss those guidelines.
The Semiconductor Manufacturing Technology (SEMATECH) task force wrote guidelines for testing valves, which was later adopted by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). These guidelines are very comprehensive, so PMS was
asked to develop a document that is more streamlined and easy to understand.
The procedures listed in this paper provide a quick method for measuring particle counts contributed by valves. The data from the tests can be used to compare different types of valves or compare similar valves from different anufacturers. Either way, knowing the purity of valves before installation could lead to process improvements and reduce particle contamination in the final product.
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