Tag Archives: FFKM

Semiconductor Fabs Lower Cost of Ownership with HiFluor Materials

Article re-posted with permission from Parker Hannifin Sealing & Shielding Team.

Original content can be found on Parker’s Website and was written by Nathaniel Reis, Applications Engineer for Parker O-Ring & Engineered Seals Division.


parker hifluor processIn our semiconductor entry from last month, we noted that lowering the cost of ownership is a multi-faceted goal. We discussed how one of the areas for potential improvement is mechanical design and how the Parker EZ-Lok seal is a major solution to mechanical seal failure. In this entry, we’ll investigate a notably different type of cost-reduction opportunity – material selection – and see how Parker’s innovative HiFluor compounds can reduce seal costs to as little as half.

Critical Environments

When it comes to the seal industry, the semiconductor market is well known as one where the most premium, chemical-resistant compounds are a necessity. Microelectronic manufacturing processes involve chemistries that push the limits of what elastomeric compounds can withstand in terms of both chemical aggressiveness and variety. The perfluorinated materials (FFKM) capable of withstanding these environments require intricate manufacturing processes regulated by closely-guarded trade secrets and the significant investment of resources.

These factors drive the price of FFKM compounds to the point of being as much as 50 times the cost of any other variety. Cutting just a slice out of this cost can result in significant savings – a chance to take out a quarter or even half the pie would be advantageous to the overall bottom line. Fabricators should be continually on the lookout for more cost-effective compounds that show equal performance in their pertinent operations.

hifluor compound pictureThis is why Parker’s HiFluor compounds offer an opportunity for cost savings that shouldn’t go unnoticed. A unique hybrid of performance between FFKM and the simpler technology of fluorocarbon (FKM) elastomers, HiFluor offers the most superb chemical compatibility in the many semiconductor environments where the high temperature ratings of FFKM aren’t necessary – and at a fraction of the cost.

Not only can HiFluor be used where even FKM is lacking, but its performance in applications with aggressive plasma exposure is spectacular as well. This can be observed by its overall resistance to plasma-induced material degradation. However, Parker has also developed multiple formulations that display extremely low particle generation when most materials would be expected to suffer severe physical and chemical etch.

Solutions and Cost Savings

As an example: One major semiconductor fab had several factors (other than their seals) dictating the frequency of their preventative maintenance (PM) intervals. The fab wanted to replace their seals at these intervals as a precautionary measure to limit the chance of them becoming another PM-increasing factor. However, this caused these premium FFKM seals to be a source of inflated cost. Parker assisted with a process evaluation that resulted in over half the seals being replaced with cost-effective HiFluor O-rings, while the tool regions with more intense plasma exposure were reserved for the elite performance of Parker’s FF302.

Another major fab in the microelectronics industry switched from FKM to FFKM seals in their oxide etch process. The tool owner achieved the desired performance improvement, but soon began searching for less expensive options. The owner recognized the plasma resistance and low particulate generation of Parker’s HiFluor compound, HF355. After implementing this change, he retained the performance improvement, but at a fraction of the cost.

Semiconductor tool owners understand that their aggressive processes require the most robust, expensive FFKM seal materials. The price tag on these seals is greater than those from any other compound family. Fortunately, HiFluor is a proven sealing solution that can bridge the gap and provide the same kind of high performance at a much lower cost.


For more information about Parker O-Rings, including HiFluor, or to find a custom solutions for your application, contact Gallagher Fluid Seals today.

Parker’s Low Temperature FFKM Provides Critical Oil & Gas Sealing Solutions

Article re-posted with permission from Parker Hannifin Sealing & Shielding Team.

Original content can be found on Parker’s Website.


Oil & Gas Sealing Solutions with a Low Temperature FFKM

Technology advancements and new-to-world discoveries are constantly creating a new series of challenges for seal materials in the Oil and Gas industry. In today’s environments, seals are being pushed to perform in temperature, pressure and chemical extremes never before thought to be obtainable with rubber products. Application pressures exceeding 20,000 psi, service temperatures ranging from -40°F to upwards of 500°F, and exposure to some of the most aggressive media on the planet are placing immense amounts of stress on sealing elements. Parker’s FF400-80 compound has been formulated to provide a solution to all of these sealing challenges.

FF400-80 Compound – FFKM Product Features

  • Temperature range: -40° to 527°F
  • Best-in-Class low-temperature FFKM
  • Excellent compression set resistance
  • RGD resistant per ISO 23936-2 and TOTAL GS EP PVV 142
  • Sour service H2S resistant per ISO 23936-2
  • Maintained resilience at high pressures and low temperatures
  • Great for use in HTHP applications

Sounds great, but what’s the catch?

Continue reading Parker’s Low Temperature FFKM Provides Critical Oil & Gas Sealing Solutions

Kalrez® Parts Extend Service Life for Process Instrument

The Challenge

By switching from gasket seals of PTFE to custom gaskets of DuPont™ Kalrez® perfluoroelastomer parts in the sensor head of a process instrument refractometer used by the food, pulp and paper and chemical industries, process instrument manufacturer K-Patents Oy, Vantaa, Finland, was able to dramatically extend instrument service life, increase reliability and safety, and reduce costs for the company and its customers.

Instrument - Refractometer
Delicate digital detector circuits and fibre optics in the sensor head of K-Patents’“PR-01-S” process refractometer are sealed from attack by aggressive process media, temperatures from –20 ° to +220 °C, and pressures from –0,7 to +25 bar, by two DuPont™ Kalrez® gaskets situated either side of the vital Spinel prism

The Solution

Aggressive environment
Through permanent in-line fluids immersion, K-Patents’ “PR-01-S” refractometer is exposed to temperatures      from –20 ° to +220 °C, pressures from –0,7 to +25 bar, and some 500 process fluids and chemicals, many of which are extremely aggressive. Delicate digital detector circuits and fiber optics in the sensor head are sealed by two gaskets from attack by aggressive fluids. Because of inherent inelasticity, the original PTFE gaskets could not withstand the dynamic temperature fluctuations of many food, pulp and paper and chemical manufacturing processes, creating a leak path allowing process media to enter and damage the device. As a result, costly replacement of the PTFE seal became necessary approximately every 6–12 months.

Continue reading Kalrez® Parts Extend Service Life for Process Instrument

Parker ULTRA® FFKM for Semiconductor Applications

Article re-posted with permission from Parker Hannifin Sealing & Shielding Team.
Original content can be found on Parker’s Blog.


Semiconductor FFKM Offers Low Particle Generation AND Extreme Etch Resistance

Semiconductor Manufacturing - FF302In the world of semiconductor manufacturing, performance requirements are driving circuit sizes smaller and smaller, causing increased sensitivity to wafer defects. In parallel, the number of manufacturing steps has also increased driving a need for improved tool utilization and leaving more opportunity for these defects to be introduced. Identifying and eliminating the sources of defects is a tedious but necessary process to improve wafer yield.

What impact does seal contamination make?

One very distinct source of defects are the seals within a fab’s tool. Plasmas involved in both deposition, etch and cleaning processes utilize aggressive chemistries that put even high-functioning perfluorinated sealing compounds to the test. Much room for improvement has been left in this industry with many seal materials still posing significant threats to defectivity or downtime despite being designed for low particle generation or etch resistance.

How can Parker ULTRA change the industry?

Parker’s UltraTM FF302 Perfluorelastomer has proven success in CVD and etch applications, putting this material at the top of its class.  Typically, seal materials for semiconductor applications are optimized for low particulation or extreme etch resistance, however, Ultra FF302 provides both attributes in one material.  Laboratory testing shows Ultra FF302 has lower erosion in aggressive plasma chemistries even when compared to today’s leading elastomeric materials (Figure 1 below shows comparison erosion levels of various etch resistant perfluoroelastmers after exposure to Oplasma).

Continue reading Parker ULTRA® FFKM for Semiconductor Applications

Elastomer Seals for Instrumentation: Seal/Groove Design

Seal Design: Instrumentation IndustryGallagher recently released our High Performance Elastomer Seals for the Instrumentation Industry White Paper.  This was written by Russ Schnell, an Elastomer Consultant contracted by Gallagher Fluid Seals, and a former Senior Application Engineer with the Kalrez® perfluoroelastomer parts business at DuPont.  This white paper is now available for download on our Resources page.

Below is the third and final section of the white paper, which will discuss the importance of proper seal and groove design.


Proper Seal & Groove Design

Elastomer Seal: Perfluoroelastomer PartsProper seal design is a necessity for elastomer seals to perform reliably over the long term. Many of the instrument applications mentioned above use o-ring seals. The suggested compression for an elastomer o-ring seal to perform properly is typically a minimum of 16%, and a maximum of 30%. However, this range must also take into account the thermal expansion of an elastomer at elevated temperatures as well as any swell due to chemical exposure. Many of the elastomer seals used in instruments are small o-rings, which can create design issues. This is especially true for perfluoroelastomer parts which have a relatively high coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE). Fluoroelastomers have a lower CTE, making seal design easier at elevated temperatures.

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Elastomer Seals for Instrumentation: Laboratory Equipment

Elastomer Seals for Instrumentation: Laboratory EquipmentGallagher recently released our High Performance Elastomer Seals for the Instrumentation Industry White Paper.  This was written by Russ Schnell, an Elastomer Consultant contracted by Gallagher Fluid Seals, and a former Senior Application Engineer with the Kalrez® perfluoroelastomer parts business at DuPont.  This white paper is now available for download on our Resources page.

Below is the second section of the white paper, diving into applications where the measurement is made in analytical laboratories which employ numerous solvents in a wide range of analyses and test equipment.


Laboratory Equipment

The final set of instrumentation is laboratory test equipment. As opposed to the laboratories in chemical plants, which often perform the same routine analyses on plant process streams, general analytical labs employ numerous solvents in a wide range of analyses and test equipment. As such, the ability of seals to resist a breadth of chemicals without degradation or leaching contaminants into a sample is of great importance. Although instrument seals are easily replaced in a laboratory environment, this operation still takes a technician time. It is always easier if the system can be flushed with a cleaning solvent and then be ready to run the next sample versus having to change out an elastomer seal due to incompatibility with a solvent.

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FFKMs Protect Components in Enhanced Oil Recovery

FFKMs, also known as perfluoroelastomers, were first developed in the 1960s for applications involving high temperatures and/or aggressive chemicals.  Perfluoroelastomers exhibit many properties similar to PTFE (polytetrafluoroethlyene, or Teflon®), and are considered inert in almost all solvents.  However, PTFE is a plastic, and when compressed, it will not recover to its original shape.  On the other hand, elastomers contain crosslinks, which act as springs to give the material resiliency and the ability to recover after a part has been compressed – this resistance to permanent compression gives the material the ability to maintain a seal over time. (To learn more about perfluoroelastomers, download our Introduction to Perfluoroelastomers White Paper).

The article below was recently published on FlowControlNetwork.com, and discusses how FFKMs are being used in oil & gas exploration, as production companies are increasingly operating in high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) downhole conditions.


HOW FFKMS PROTECT COMPONENTS IN ENHANCED OIL RECOVERY OPERATIONS

Companies are increasingly operating in high-pressure, high-temperature downhole conditions.
Enhanced oil recovery uses gas, steam or chemical injection to improve flow rate. All graphics courtesy of AGC

Improving technologies and methods to increase the recovery of oil from existing reservoirs is a global challenge. In the U.S., oil production at reservoirs can include three phases: primary, secondary and tertiary (or enhanced) recovery. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) estimates that primary recovery methods — which rely on the natural pressure of the reservoir or gravity to drive oil into the wellbore, combined with pumps to bring the oil to the surface — typically tap only 10 percent of a reservoir’s oil. Furthermore, secondary efforts to extend a field’s productive life — generally by injecting water or gas to displace oil and drive it to a production wellbore — still only push recovery totals to between 20 and 40 percent of the original oil in place. Clearly, much untapped oil and gas remains in existing wells.

Continue reading FFKMs Protect Components in Enhanced Oil Recovery

Elastomer Seals for Instrumentation: In-Line Process

High Performance Elastomer Seal for InstrumentationGallagher recently released our High Performance Elastomer Seals for the Instrumentation Industry White Paper.  This was written by Russ Schnell, an Elastomer Consultant contracted by Gallagher Fluid Seals, and a former Senior Application Engineer with the Kalrez® perfluoroelastomer parts business at DuPont.  This white paper is now available for download on our Resources page.

Below is the first section of the white paper, diving into applications where the measurement is made at the process and the results then transmitted to a control system.  This section will review the four types of in-line measurement devices, all involving slightly different elastomer sealing applications.

In-Line Process Applications

Flowmeters

Flowmeter - Elastomer Seal for InstrumentationFlowmeters are used to measure the flow of liquid. In this section we will only consider the measurement of liquid flow in a closed piping system. Several examples of flow measurement devices include: flowmeters, Venturi tubes and orifice plates.

Note that these devices are “in-line” and require isolating the process line to remove and repair, or replace the measurement device. Shutting down a process to remove a device is time consuming, involves loss of production, and may require specific procedures to protect the operators and environment when a line is opened. All of these devices require seals to prevent leakage of the process to the environment and the elastomer seals should last the life of the flowmeter. For aggressive chemicals or high temperature applications, FKM or FFKM seals are an excellent choice. These products offer a long service life and resist deterioration in harsh environments.

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NEW White Paper! Elastomer Seals for Instrumentation

Instrumentation - High Performance SealsGallagher recently released our High Performance Elastomer Seals for the Instrumentation Industry White Paper, available for download on our site.  This was written by Russ Schnell, an Elastomer Consultant contracted by Gallagher Fluid Seals, and a former Senior Application Engineer with the Kalrez® perfluoroelastomer parts business at DuPont.  This white paper is now available for download on our Resources page.

Introduction

The term instrumentation covers a wide variety of applications. In the broadest sense, instrumentation may be considered as any equipment used for measurements. This equipment may be in a process stream and include devices such as flowmeters, pressure gages, and inline probes. Data from these devices are used for process control. In automobiles, sensors are used for a variety of applications including measuring the exhaust stream to “tune” the engine to yield maximum performance. Analytical laboratory instruments such as chromatographs and flame ionization detectors are used to determine the composition of samples. Instruments are used in the medical industry for product analysis as well as analysis of blood and urine samples. Of course this is only a partial list of the many applications involving instruments.

Continue reading NEW White Paper! Elastomer Seals for Instrumentation

NEW! Fluoroelastomer Basics Webinar

Fluoroelastomer Basics - DOWNLOAD VIDEOGallagher Fluid Seals recently made our Fluoroelastomer Basics webinar available on the website.

This webinar will discuss:

  • Differences between an elastomer and a fluoroelastomer
  • The important role fluorine plays
  • Types of fluoroelastomers and their features and benefits
  • Material performance comparisons
  • Chemical resistance of fluoroelastomers
  • Temperature ratings of fluoroelastomers
  • Considerations when choosing the right fluoroelastomer for your application

What is an Elastomer?

Fluoroelastomer - Elastomer CrosslinksAn elastomer is made up of long chain polymers which are connected by crosslinks.  Crosslinks are analogous to springs and provide an “elastic” (recovery) nature to the material.  The crosslinks are relatively stable, but can break down under extreme temperatures and pressures.

Continue reading NEW! Fluoroelastomer Basics Webinar