50 Best Companies to Watch 2020

Improving process yields: UDM Systems takes pride in offering a completely eco-friendly set of solutions for wafer-die needs


“UDM develops better products while continually replacing old products with new technologies and providing customization solutions based on the clients’ needs and requirements”.

High Productivity in the wafer dicing process in semiconductor and solar panels involves clear-cut control of many variables that are affected by such properties as material hardness, brittleness, and thickness. Semiconductor manufacturers are facing new and greater challenges in maintaining, surface cleaning, and improving die separation productivity. As said, eco-friendly, robust and easy-to-use wafer dicing and surface cleaning solution providers are in high demand.

In light of the foregoing, we introduce you to UDM Systems. The company began its journey from a garage in North Carolina in 2007 and, over the years, has grown into a global company offering high-performance wafer dicing, surface cleaning solutions and equipment for semiconductor, solar, optoelectronics-photonics, and other related industries. The company was born from an idea seeded by Ukay Ajike, President of UDM Systems, while working at the now-defunct Lucent Technologies to conceptualize ways that would mitigate impediments in the manufacturing processes for microelectronic devices. At Lucent, Ukay started formulating strategies to create better performance cleaning solutions while continuing to increase product yields. After leaving Lucent, Ukay continued his professional engineering career at Cree Inc, an LED manufacturing company in Research Triangle, NC. At the same time, Ukay forged ahead with his plans to start a company and began research and testing in his garage.

Early Works

While conducting experiments in the start-up phase, Ukay received an opportunity to help Texas Instruments (TI) with an issue in their wafer-die separation process. In collaboration with TI engineers and applying knowledge gained from his experience fabricating semiconductor pump lasers for fiber optics, Ukay began formulating some sample products to address the challenges TI was facing. Upon evaluation, results showed that UDM’s products delivered significantly higher process performance yields in comparison with other TI-qualified products. The effectiveness of this solution resulted in TI placing UDM’s first order and asking Ukay to collaborate and develop other products for their wafer-die separation processes.

Robust and Easy-To-Use Products

UDM Systems’ products include fully and semi-automated fluid dispensing systems and dicing lubricants that enhance the die-separation process to maximize yields and increase profitability.

Differentiation - Semiconductors, MEMS and Sensors

UDM Systems’ dicing lubricants and cleaners significantly minimize galvanic corrosion of metals in devices. The quality and consistent performance of the company’s products, coupled with the ability to prevent corrosion is what sets UDM Systems apart from its competitors. Ukay proudly declares, “We develop better products continually, replacing old products with new technologies and provide customizations based on the clients’ needs and requirements.”

Differentiation – For Solar Applications

AKLC400, UDM systems water-based coolant-lubricant and cleaner allow the use of thinner diamond wire to slice Silicon Ingots to thinner wafers, thus providing higher yields. Ukay asserts, “The dilution ratio of UDM products is much higher than our competitors in the market, which reduces costs significantly.”

Future Focus of UDM

ADU-14E1 Fully Automated Dicing Fluid Dispensing Unit

FLC200 Series - Electronic Cleaning Agent for removal of oily fluxes and residues on PCB-SMT

For the next few years, UDM Systems strives to increase its focus on MEMS, sensors, and imaging technology applications. This includes processing Image sensor wafers, assisting clients in the fabrication of facial recognition devices, light guides and camera modules for smart phone and automobile communication applications.

UDM Systems’ fully automated dispensing systems can be remotely monitored and controlled, including changing recipes and parameters. In recent years, UDM Systems has made inroads into the solar industry, offering all-inclusive products for slicing solar ingots. UDM Systems looks forward to continuing to grow in the solar product business sector. Furthermore, with semiconductors being extensively manufactured outside the United States–predominantly in Asia and southern Europe—the company is considering an expansion across Asia, specifically Singapore and Taiwan, to accommodate the growing demand in the region. Concurrently, UDM Systems is committed to investing more time and resources with regards to research and manufacturing of chemicals in the U.S.

Meet the leader behind the success of UDM systems

Ukay O. Ajike earned his BS in Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston. Ukay worked for Cabot Corporation in Massachusetts, Lucent Technology/Agere Systems in Allentown Pennsylvania before joining Cree Inc., the LED Company in North Carolina. UDM Systems was founded in his garage in 2007 in Raleigh, North Carolina after leaving Cree with the goal of developing products to improve yields in wafer-die separation especially for image sensor wafers which were typical very low device yields. His second focus was to develop products that are eco-friendly that would be globally available for customers in the wafer-die separation applications.

“UDM Systems has made inroads in the solar industry, offering all-inclusive products for slicing solar ingots”