Automated material handling system for semiconductor manufacturing based on a combination of vertical carousels and overhead hoists

CAFC
  • US 7,165,927 B2
  • Filed: 03/20/2003
  • Issued: 01/23/2007
  • Est. Priority Date: 06/19/2002
  • Status: Active Grant
First Claim
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1. An automated material handling system for transporting material between various locations within a product manufacturing facility, comprising:

  • at least one housing unit configured to house a plurality of storage bins, each storage bin being configured to hold at least one unit of material; and

    an overhead hoist transport subsystem including at least one overhead hoist and at least one overhead hoist transport vehicle, the overhead hoist including a translating stage and a gripper portion coupled to the translating stage, the gripper portion being configured to grip the at least one material unit, the overhead hoist transport vehicle being configured to travel along a suspended track defining at least one predetermined route running adjacent to the storage bin housing unit, the suspended track being disposed external to the storage bin housing unit,wherein the overhead hoist transport vehicle is operative to carry the overhead hoist including the translating stage and the gripper portion along the suspended track to a first track position adjacent one of the plurality of storage bins,wherein, while the overhead hoist transport vehicle is at the first track position, the translating stage is configured to move the gripper portion laterally from a first position proximate to the overhead hoist transport vehicle to a second position proximate to said one of the plurality of storage bins,wherein a portion of the storage bin housing unit is at least partially open to allow the gripper portion of the overhead hoist to access at least one material unit directly from said one of the plurality of storage bins housed therein, andwherein the gripper portion of the overhead hoist is configured to access the at least one material unit directly from said one of the plurality of storage bins for subsequent transport along the track to a predetermined location within the product manufacturing facility.

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