The manufacture of LEDs presents quite a challenge in terms of facility build as a very clean production environment is needed. LEDs are made using similar processes to semiconductors, involving mono-crystalline substrates deposited on wafers using various process that involve gas and materials that need to be contained.
In the case of manufacturer Microelectronica, there was an added problem in that the area planned by the company for the LED facility was located in the cellar of a former semiconductor factory, which presented both limited space and high levels of humidity.
As the general contractor, the engineers from Fraunhofer IPA not only planned the facility but also co-ordinated all the construction work of the approximately 1200m2 facility, and were tasked with ensuring that the turnkey LED factory could begin operation by the end of 2012.
Since then the Fraunhofer IPA has gone on to develop and set up a pan-European quality and cleanliness competence centre in Romania. The Fraunhofer IPA Department of Ultraclean Technology and Micromanufacturing was responsible for its design, and has succeeded in coupling a unique test environment with a whole range of special equipment for testing quality and cleanliness.
The cleanliness competence centre has a cleanroom surface area of approximately 120m2 with the highest technologically achievable air cleanliness level of Class 1 (according to ISO 14644-1).
This test environment ensures that any contaminating influences from the surroundings are excluded. Here, services for verifying dimensional accuracy and assessing cleanliness are carried out as well as a variety of inspections and precision cleaning with CO2 snow.
A unique test environment has been combined with a whole range of special equipment for testing quality and cleanliness
As part of the project, devices containing the latest analysis technology were purchased to meet the requirements of the applications concerned, such as a co-ordinate measuring machine, scanning electron microscope, CT scanner, contamination detection equipment, optical particle counters, etc.
A further 100m2 area of clean zones were built with controlled conditions that can be used, for example, to inspect technical cleanliness. Such zones are becoming increasingly important due to the presence of numerous automotive suppliers based in Romania and also in neighbouring East European countries. These zones have been fitted with the appropriate extraction equipment and automated particle analysis devices.
The centre opened on 18 March 2014 with more than 40 representatives from industry, politics and science invited to attend the opening ceremony.