Irvine Optical Company

Manufactured some of the fastest robotic wafer sorters ever built...

Industry: 
Industrial Manufacturing
Country: 
United States
Reference: 
Ron McIntyre, President
Reference: 
Brian Patterson, Manager of Systems Engineering
Relationship Summary: 

Systematic Computer Science provided management and technology consulting for Irvine Optical Company, affecting almost their entire product line.

Irvine Optical Company was founded in 1975 by the late Richard Schram when he perceived the need for specialized silicon wafer handlers for the semiconductor industry. His company began by producing wafer inspection stations, and then quickly moved on to automated wafer-handling systems. A typical machine from IOC would be a wafer handler that sped wafers back and forth out of cassettes while examining and sorting them using advanced optics and OCR software. By the late 1980's, IOC was one of the clear market leaders, and supplied huge companies such as Intel and AMD with cutting edge automated wafer sorters.

Irvine Optical machines were renowned for their speed and efficiency. The APS 3000 for example could process up to 1100 wafers per hour. It is important to realize that each wafer might hold tens of processors on it, e.g. an Intel Pentium microprocessor. A single wafer might be worth thousands of dollars, and processing it quickly and reliably was a major goal of companies such as Intel. On the basis of their superior engineering and software, Irvine Optical established itself as one of the most respected companies in the semiconductor industry for wafer handling.

In 2000, IOC was given the ultimate recognition of success: it was bought by Brooks Automation, one of the largest companies in the world for automation solutions in the semiconductor industry.

Systematic Computer Science was deeply involved in the design of IOC's software, for many of their products including the Ultrasort 408's, UWH II's, APS 2/3000's, Brightlight 200's, and Ultrastation 150's and 250's. All of these products required the safe and fast transport of potentially very expensive wafers semi-automatically or completely automatically. Systematic Computer Science was hired for a long engagement with Irvine Optical to introduce discipline to the software engineering lifecycle within the company.

Systematic Computer Science introduced discipline into the entire software line of IOC