A Guide to Wafer Shipping


February 28, 2022

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If you want to buy silicon wafers, you’re also going to want to make sure you know how they get shipped to you. Luckily, wafers are much easier to ship than many bulky or heavy items. That said, it’s still wise to understand how shipping works, to avoid any surprises.

Today, we want to discuss everything you should know about wafers and shipping. This includes the factors that influence shipping costs, how COVID-19 changed everything, and the reasons why it helps to work with a trustworthy, established wafer manufacturer.

How COVID-19 Impacted Shipping

As we’ve previously discussed on this blog, COVID-19 disrupted many industries. The shipping industry is no different. Along with increasing prices, it made shipping times less reliable.

There were many news stories about this shortage, some of which you’re likely familiar with. While the trucker shortage has been much-discussed lately, container freight was particularly hard-hit, with many ships unable to find the containers necessary to transport the amount of goods they were able to hold.

Luckily, shipping times have stabilized in many industries. Less fortunately, rising prices are still an issue. Freight spending was up 23% from 2020 to 2021, and many industry insiders expect that number to keep rising.

On the bright side, wafers have many shipping advantages, when compared to other industries. Along with the factors influencing pricing, which we’ll get into below, they’re also incredibly valuable. They offer the computing power that’s at the center of most of the 20th century’s technological innovation.

These shipping costs are one of the reasons why it’s useful to work with a well-established wafer manufacturer. Along with having proven experience meeting their promised shipping times, they’ve also had a long time to build relationships with all kinds of vendors, including shipping companies.

Shipping Costs

There are three major factors you need to consider when determining how much your shipping costs are going to be. They are:

  • How big the wafers are
  • How much the wafers weigh
  • How far the wafers need to travel

Wafers have serious advantages on the first two points, which makes them somewhat cost-effective to ship.

How Much Do Wafers Weigh?

One of the biggest advantages that wafers have is their weight. They’re typically measured in grams, which means that they don’t put significant wear and tear on a vehicle.

How Big Are Wafers?

Once again, wafers are much smaller than most items that get shipped. They’re measured in millimeters, which means that a supplier can easily ship large quantities of them.

How Far Do the Wafers Need to Travel?

If you’re looking to reduce shipping costs, one of the major things you can do is find a wafer company that’s located within your country. While these products are often manufactured overseas, US-made wafers won’t have to travel as far, which can help you reduce these costs.

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Wafer Packaging

As you’re no doubt aware, wafers are sensitive. This means that’s it’s essential to use the right packaging. There are several major kinds of wafer boxes. They are:

  • Multi-Wafer Horizontal Shipping Boxes
  • Horizontal Stackable Shipping Boxes
  • Vertical Shipping Boxes

They’re all designed to keep wafers safe and secure from damage. They all also perform reasonably well during minor accidents.

This means that secondary packaging (i.e., the materials that protect the wafer box, which typically includes shipping boxes and, in some cases, liner) is the biggest factor to examine when determining how much care a logistics company puts into safe shipping.

Why Wafer Packaging Is Important

Experts estimate that roughly 10% of US packages are damaged at some point during transport. One of the major considerations during shipping is understanding how you want to balance the cost of shipping versus the reliability of the logistics company.

We always endeavor to work with reliable shippers, but we also want to make sure our product is well-packaged enough to minimize any damage that occurs. This is why it’s important to understand how effective the packaging is.

How Well Does Packaging Protect Wafers?

As part of one study, researchers drop tested multi-wafer horizontal shipping boxes, horizontal stackable shipping boxes, and vertical shipping boxes. Drop testing is what it sounds like: researchers dropped boxes full of wafers to see how fragile they were.

These drop tests revealed how effective current wafer packaging is: even when dropped from 1200 mm (which researchers believe is commensurate with an impact force of 150 g), some wafers remained undamaged.

Just as interesting, the damaged wafers weren’t all in one area. If the wafers were damaged in one cluster, this would suggest that the boxes had vulnerable areas, where wafers weren’t as protected. Instead, this shows that the packaging absorbed as much force as possible throughout.

Researchers also determined that damage becomes severe at 150 g of impact force. This is when many wafers are likely to visibly crack.

How Wafer Quality Impacts Their Sturdiness

When assessing the potential for damage, the wafers themselves are also important. Thinner wafers, for instance, are more likely to break than thicker wafers.

This makes sense, since they have less material to reduce the force of any impact. That said, the thickness of a wafer is often determined by its use, during the manufacturing process, and many thin wafers can be high-quality.

More important, wafers with “poor edge conditions” break much more frequently than those that have smooth edge conditions. Yet again, we find another reason why it’s worth working with a reliable wafer manufacturing company. High-quality wafers are less likely to get damaged during transport. This saves you money!  

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Want to Buy Silicon Wafers?

You’ve come to the right place. At Wafer World, we’re committed to ensuring our customers get all the wafers they need. Along with all the wafers we sell on our site, we’re also ready to discuss your needs with you, in order to determine if you need custom-made wafers.

Whether you’d like a free quote on one of those wafers or you have any other questions about what we can do for you, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via the information on our contact page. Our state-of-the-art wafer manufacturing facility has been helping businesses for years.

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