Floors help chip manufacturer limit downtime, ESD.

When officials at United Monolithic Semiconductors GmbH (UMS) designed the clean rooms at their semiconductor production facility at Ulm, Germany, in 1989, they needed floor coverings that were extremely durable and easy to maintain.

The company planned to operate around the clock and wanted to avoid downtime resulting from flooring maintenance, repair or replacement. Especially any steps where the sensitive semiconductor manufacturing equipment had to be moved.

Equally important, the floors needed to be suitable for clean rooms (ISO 5 or better). Specifically, they had to protect the company’s sensitive components from electrostatic discharge (ESD).

United Monolithic Semiconductors Flooring 1

“This aspect is essential for UMS too,” said Raphael Ehrbrecht, Process & Tools 1 Manager and ESD Coordinator at UMS. Even tiny amounts of ESD could damage the company’s products.

Company officials chose noraplan® ESD flooring, and, nearly three decades later, they believe their choice was a good one.

“We are very happy with the rubber floor because after this long period of usage, it still lies within the defined limits for DIN EN IEC 61340, which is regularly confirmed by annual measurements and walking tests,” Ehrbrecht said.

United Monolithic Semiconductors Flooring 2

noraplan ESD floor coverings are volume conductive, Ehrbrecht said, so the entire floor is conductive. That is not true of competitive ESD flooring options that only achieve conductivity in areas where embedded wires or fibers are present.

And there is no need to apply conductive coatings or ESD wax. Floors are lightly wiped with moisture several times a day, to remove dust. Cleaning machines are used once a week.

“The cleaning works really well, and the floors look impeccable even after almost 30 years,” Ehrbrecht said. He also views the safety of the rubber floors as a big advantage: “The surface is non-slip and anti-glare, meaning that falls are avoided.”

United Monolithic Semiconductors Flooring 3

As UMS can attest, nora® rubber flooring meets the test of time, retaining both its aesthetics and its technical performance. For more on how the noraplan ESD flooring continues to exceed expectations, see the full project profile.