Reusing semiconductor lithography equipment to reduce waste

Nikon conducts initiatives to reuse products and materials, reduce the use of new resources as much as possible, and help create a resource-circulating society. As part of these efforts, Nikon is promoting the reuse of semiconductor lithography equipment to reduce waste.

Shifting from disposal to recycling resources

In the past, society tended to use and then dispose of the waste created by the vast amount of resources it consumed. Today, however, people are cutting down on the waste they generate and reducing new resource consumption by reusing products and materials. Corporations, too, are expected to contribute to these efforts to create a greener society. Accordingly, Nikon promotes such environmental initiatives, and has set the goal of realizing a resource-circulating society in its Long-term Environmental Vision.

The 3Rs of reducing, recycling and reusing is an integral part of this approach. Nikon proactively engages the 3Rs of (1) reusing products and materials, (2) reducing the amount of waste from manufacturing and sales through innovative solutions and (3) recylcing waste matter to be used as resources.

Reselling semiconductor lithography systems and refurbishing their lenses

For almost two decades, Nikon has promoted the reuse of semiconductor lithography equipment to reduce waste.

Nikon manufactures the semiconductor lithography systems essential to semiconductor production. After customers finish using these systems, Nikon buys them back, restores their parts and components, and resells them. Nikon launched this business initiative to reuse the systems in 2000—ahead of its competitors in the industry. By March 2018, 371 systems had been resold, effectively reducing the materials that would have been disposed of by about 3,600 tons. Lithography systems have grown larger in size with advancements in semiconductor products, so their reuse has become increasingly important for reducing waste matter.

 Average weight 9.3 tons × 387
Waste matter reduced by approximately 3,600 tons

* 371 semiconductor lithography systems and 16 refurbishing lenses

Nikon has also promoted reuse and reduce initiatives for the projection lenses fitted in these lithography systems. While these systems have an operational life of more than 20 years, the projection lenses gradually deteriorate due to ultraviolet rays and other light sources. When they reach the end of their service life, Nikon refurbishes the lenses. By using these replacement lenses that meet latest specifications, Nikon enables the lithography equipment to be used for a longer period, reducing waste and realizing higher quality products.

Nikon’s solutions for assembling complete lithography systems from multiple components and replacing their lenses

Nikon applies specialized techniques in its reuse and reduce initiatives

Lithography systems are comprised of many separate units, from glass components and mechanical parts to electrical components, exposure devices and air conditioners. If just one of these units deteriorates in quality, the system cannot operate properly. Therefore, Nikon purchases lithography systems that customers no longer use, collects the usable units from numerous systems and assembles them into new systems. It also collects the parts of any remaining units for reuse as replacement parts.

Nikon’s services include exchanging the projection lenses of customers’ old lithography systems and restoring them so they can be used for longer. In the past, this required bringing the entire system to a production plant, but Nikon has simplified this process by taking only the lenses to the customer’s facilities and replacing them on-site. This results in less fuel used for transportation and overall energy savings.

All of Nikon’s group companies involved in manufacturing lithography equipment are working together to promote these services.


Ongoing initiatives to help communities recycle resources

Along with its efforts to reuse semiconductor lithography equipment and reduce waste, Nikon aims to recycle resources in all of its products. Measures for saving resources and reducing waste are carried out at every stage of operations, from product development and design through to production and sales. The entire Nikon Group is committed to realizing a resource-circulating society.

Related SDGs


SDGs: Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, the international community adopted a set of targets for sustainable development, to be achieved by 2030. The 17 global goals address issues such as poverty, hunger, education and climate change.