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Title:
FLOODING DEVICE FOR A HORIZONTAL GALVANIC OR WET-CHEMICAL PROCESS LINE FOR METAL DEPOSITION ON A SUBSTRATE
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2016/156067
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present invention is related to a flooding device for a horizontal gal¬ vanic or wet-chemical process line for metal, in particular copper, deposition on a substrate to be treated, wherein the flooding device comprises at least a flooding element and at least a first substrate guiding element, wherein said flooding element is mechanically connected to the at least first substrate guiding element, and wherein the first substrate guiding element is spatially arranged on the entry side of the flooding element. The present invention is further related to a treating module of a horizon- tal galvanic or wet-chemical process line for metal, in particular copper, deposi¬ tion on a substrate to be treated comprising at least one pair of oppositely ar¬ ranged such flooding devices.

Inventors:
GRÜSSNER, Stefan (Blumenstraße 5, Thalmässing, 91177, DE)
RICHERT, Wolfgang (Patent ManagementErasmusstraße 20, Berlin, 10553, DE)
THEIN, Christian (Felsenkeller 14, Feucht, 90537, DE)
WALLISER, Norbert (Patent ManagementErasmusstraße 20, Berlin, 10553, DE)
Application Number:
EP2016/055971
Publication Date:
October 06, 2016
Filing Date:
March 18, 2016
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
ATOTECH DEUTSCHLAND GMBH (Erasmusstraße 20, Berlin, 10553, DE)
International Classes:
C25D7/06; C25D17/00; C23C18/16; C25D21/08
Foreign References:
EP0054302A11982-06-23
EP0520324A11992-12-30
DE19717511A11998-10-29
EP0894561A21999-02-03
Other References:
None
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SCHULZ, Hendrik (Atotech Deutschland GmbH, Erasmusstraße 20, Berlin, 10553, DE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
C L A I M S

1 . Flooding device for a horizontal galvanic or wet-chemical process line for metal, in particular copper, deposition on a substrate to be treated characterized in that the flooding device comprises at least a flooding element (2, 2', 2") and at least a first substrate guiding element (5, 5', 5"), wherein said flooding element (2, 2', 2") is mechanically connected to the at least first substrate guiding element (5, 5', 5"), and wherein the first substrate guiding element (5, 5', 5") is spatially arranged on the entry side (8, 8', 8") of the flooding element (2, 2', 2").

2. Flooding device according to claim 1 characterized in that the flooding device further comprises at least a second substrate guiding element (6, 6', 6"), wherein the flooding element (2, 2', 2") is mechanically connected to the at least second substrate guiding element (6, 6', 6"), and wherein the second substrate guiding element (6, 6', 6") is spatially arranged on the exit side (9, 9', 9") of the flooding element (2, 2', 2").

3. Flooding device according to one of claims 1 or 2 characterized in that the first substrate guiding element (5, 5', 5") and the second substrate guiding element (6, 6', 6") comprise each a plurality of protrusions, wherein the protrusions of the first substrate guiding element (5, 5', 5") are extending in axial direction from the flooding element (2, 2', 2") against the transport direction of the substrates to be treated, and wherein the protrusions of the second substrate guiding element (6, 6', 6") are extending in axial direction from the flooding element (2, 2', 2") in transport direction of the substrates to be treated.

4. Flooding device according to claim 3 characterized in that the plurality of protrusions of the first substrate guiding element (5, 5', 5") have longer axial dimensions against the transport direction of the substrate to be treated than the plurality of protrusions of the second substrate guiding element (6, 6', 6") in transport direction of the substrate to be treated.

5. Flooding device according to one of claims 3 or 4 characterized in that each individual protrusion of the plurality of protrusions of the first substrate guiding element (5, 5', 5") and of the second substrate guiding element (6, 6', 6") is directly connected to the flooding element (2, 2', 2") and works independently from the adjacent protrusions.

6. Flooding device according to one of claims 3 or 4 characterized in that the first substrate guiding element (5, 5') and/or the second substrate guiding element (6, 6') each comprises at least one section of at least two adjacent protrusions, which are mechanically connected by at least a mechanical connecting element (1 1 , 1 1 ').

7. Flooding device according to one of claims 3 or 4 characterized in that all protrusions of the first substrate guiding element (5, 5') and/or all protrusions of the second substrate guiding element (6, 6') are mechanically connected by at least a mechanical connecting element (1 1 , 1 Γ) on the respective side of the flooding element (2, 2').

8. Flooding device according to one of claims 2 to 7 characterized in that the flooding element (2) further comprises at least a third substrate guiding element (4), which is connecting the first substrate guiding element (5) from the entry side (8) of the flooding element (2) with the second substrate guiding element (6) of the exit side (9) of the flooding element (2); wherein the first (5), second (6) and third (4) substrate guiding element form an attachment part, which is mechanically connected in one piece to the flooding element (2).

9. Flooding device according to one of claims 1 to 8 characterized in that the flooding element (2, 2") comprises at least a first step (7a, 7a') and a second step (7b, 7b') on the flooding element (2, 2") surface, which is directed to the transport pathway of the substrate to be treated, and wherein the process liquid flows out of said flooding element (2, 2") surface.

10. Flooding device according to one of claims 1 or 2 characterized in that the first substrate guiding element (5, 5', 5") and/or the second substrate guiding element (6, 6', 6") is/are a continuous piece, such as a sheet or plate, wherein the first substrate guiding element (5, 5', 5") is extending in axial direction from the flooding element (2, 2', 2") against the transport direction of the substrates to be treated, and wherein the second substrate guiding element (6, 6', 6") is extending in axial direction from the flooding element (2, 2', 2") in transport direction of the substrates to be treated.

1 1 . Flooding device according to claim 10 characterized in that the first substrate guiding element (5, 5', 5") has longer axial dimensions against the transport direction of the substrate to be treated than the second substrate guiding element (6, 6', 6") in transport direction of the substrate to be treated.

12. Treating module (1 , Γ, 1 ") of a horizontal galvanic or wet- chemical process line for metal, in particular copper, deposition on a substrate to be treated characterized in that the treating module (1 , Γ, 1 ") comprises at least one pair of oppositely arranged flooding devices according to one of claims 1 to 1 1 , wherein each flooding device comprises at least a flooding element (2, 2', 2") and at least a first substrate guiding element (5, 5', 5"), wherein said flooding element (2, 2', 2") is mechanically connected to the at least first substrate guiding element (5, 5', 5"), and wherein the first substrate guiding element (5, 5', 5") is spatially arranged on the entry side (8, 8', 8") of the flooding element (2, 2', 2").

13. Treating module (1 , 1 ") according to claim 12 characterized in that each flooding element (2, 2") comprises at least a first step (7a, 7a') and a second step (7b, 7b') on the flooding element (2, 2") surface, which is directed to the transport pathway of the substrate to be treated, and wherein the process liquid flows out of said flooding element (2, 2") surface.

14. Treating module (1 ) according to one of claims 12 or 13 characterized in that each flooding device further comprises at least a second substrate guiding element (6), wherein the flooding element (2) is mechanically connected to the at least second substrate guiding element (6), and wherein the second substrate guiding element (6) is spatially arranged on the exit side (9) of the flooding element (2); and wherein each flooding element (2) further comprises at least a third substrate guiding element (4), which is connecting the first substrate guiding element (5) from the entry side (8) of the flooding element (2) with the second substrate guiding element (6) of the exit side (9) of the flooding element (2); wherein the first (5), second (6) and third (4) substrate guiding element form an attachment part, which is mechanically connected in one piece to the flooding element (2).

15. Treating module (1 , Γ) according to one of claims 12 to 14 characterized in that the first substrate guiding element (5, 5') and the second substrate guiding element (6, 6') comprise each a plurality of protrusions, wherein the protrusions of the first substrate guiding element (5, 5') are extending in axial direction from each flooding element (2, 2') against the transport direction of the substrates to be treated, and wherein the protrusions of the second substrate guiding element (6, 6') are extending in axial direction from each flooding element (2, 2') in transport direction of the substrates to be treated; wherein all protrusions of the first substrate guiding element (5, 5') and/or all protrusions of the second substrate guiding element (6, 6') are mechanically connected by at least a mechanical connecting element (1 1 , 1 Γ) on the respective side of the flooding element (2, 2').

Description:
FLOODING DEVICE FOR A HORIZONTAL GALVANIC OR WET-CHEMICAL PROCESS LINE FOR METAL DEPOSITION ON A SUBSTRATE

Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a flooding device for a horizontal galvanic or wet-chemical process line for metal, in particular copper, deposition on a substrate to be treated.

The present invention is further directed to a treating module of a horizontal galvanic or wet-chemical process line for metal, in particular copper, deposition on a substrate to be treated.

Background of the Invention

The industry has already making use of horizontal galvanic (means with the application of current) or wet-chemical (means electroless) process lines for metal, commonly copper, tin or nickel, deposition on a substrate to be treated since many decades.

In the past, the substrates to be treated have been relatively thick, stiff and heavy compared to the presence. In our days, the market requires more and more in consequence of the on-going worldwide technical miniaturization in the printed circuit board area devices and process lines, which can also safely treat substrates to be treated, which are much thinner than anything, which has been processed up to now. At the same time as a consequence of reduced thickness, the weight of each individual substrate to be treated is largely re- duced while the flexibility of the substrate to be treated is largely increased.

This leads to entirely new technical challenges in transporting and treating of substrates to be treated. Market demands for substrates having a thickness down to 25 micrometer generate the severe problem of safely transporting said thin flexible substrates without that they are getting damaged by crumpling or undesired running between individual transport rollers or wheel axis below or above the transport level of the transport or process line.

Attempts to avoid such misleading of flexible materials have been attempted in the past, wherein the main approach has been to fix each substrate to be treated at both sides by clips, hooks or clamps.

However, it is often difficult to safely run such a substrate through the entire process line, even when at the beginning the substrate is completely stretched. One problem arising with this approach represents the bending of the substrates after a certain period of time during still processing the substrate through the process line. This leads to undesired qualitative metal deposition results and distributions. In the worst case, the bending effect is so strong that the substrate is getting crumpled between individual transport elements.

Objective of the present Invention

In view of the prior art, it was thus an object of the present invention to provide a device, which is able to avoid any damaging of thin substrates to be treated during processing and to ensure a safe transport.

In particular, it was an object of the present invention to provide a device, which can avoid that thin flexible substrates can run between individual transport elements, which are commonly arranged above and below of the transport level of the process line.

Additionally, it was especially an object of the present invention to provide a device, which can avoid that at the most dangerous site, namely around the applied flooding devices, which are required for providing treatment liquid in the individual treating modules of such process lines, the flexible thin substrates to be treated will flow upwards or downwards between the individual transport elements directly after having passed the flooding devices.

Additionally, it was an object to provide a device, which can be installed in already existing process lines without any large effort or cost.

Summary of the Invention

These objects and also further objects which are not stated explicitly but are immediately derivable or discernible from the connections discussed herein by way of introduction are achieved by a flooding device having all features of claim 1 . Appropriate modifications to the inventive device are protected in dependent claims 2 to 1 1 . Further, claim 12 comprises a treating module of a horizontal galvanic or wet-chemical process line for metal, in particular copper, deposition on a substrate to be treated comprising at least one pair of oppositely arranged such flooding devices. Appropriate modifications to the inventive treating module are protected in dependent claims 13 to 15.

The present invention accordingly provides a flooding device for a horizontal galvanic or wet-chemical process line for metal, in particular copper, deposition on a substrate to be treated, wherein the flooding device comprises at least a flooding element and at least a first substrate guiding element, wherein said flooding element is mechanically connected to the at least first substrate guiding element, and wherein the first substrate guiding element is spatially arranged on the entry side of the flooding element.

It is thus possible in an unforeseeable manner to provide a flooding device, which is able to avoid any damaging of thin substrates to be treated during processing and which ensures a safe transport. In addition thereto, the inventive flooding device avoids that thin flexible substrates run between individual transport elements, which are commonly arranged above and below of the transport level of the process line.

Furthermore, the inventive flooding device avoids that at the most dangerous site, namely around the flooding device itself, the flexible thin substrates to be treated will flow upwards or downwards between the individual transport elements directly after having passed the flooding devices.

Additionally, the inventive device can be easily installed in already existing process lines without any large effort or cost.

Brief Description of the Figures

For a more complete understanding of the present invention, reference is made to the following Detailed Description of the Invention considered in conjunction with the accompanying figures, in which:

Fig. 1 shows a schematic side view of the inventive treating module comprising one pair of oppositely arranged inventive flooding devices in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention.

Fig. 2 shows a schematic perspective side view of the inventive treating module comprising one pair of oppositely arranged inventive flooding devices in accordance with the first embodiment of the present invention shown in Figure 1 .

Fig. 3 shows another schematic perspective side view of the inventive treating module comprising one pair of oppositely arranged inventive flooding devices in accordance with the first embodiment of the present invention shown in Figure 1 .

Fig. 4 shows a schematic perspective top view of an individual inventive flooding device in accordance with the first embodiment of the present invention shown in Figure 1 . Fig. 5 shows a schematic perspective top view of the first, second and third substrate guiding element of the individual inventive flooding device shown in Figure 4 in accordance with the first embodiment of the present invention shown in Figure 1 .

Fig. 6 shows a schematic side view of the inventive treating module comprising one pair of oppositely arranged inventive flooding devices in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention.

Fig. 7 shows a schematic perspective side view of the inventive treating module comprising one pair of oppositely arranged inventive flooding devices in accordance with the second embodiment of the present invention shown in Figure 6.

Fig. 8 shows a schematic perspective top view of an individual inventive flooding device in accordance with the second embodiment of the present invention shown in Figure 6.

Fig. 9 shows a schematic side view of the inventive treating module comprising one pair of oppositely arranged inventive flooding devices in accordance with a third embodiment of the present invention.

Fig. 10 shows a schematic perspective side view of the inventive treating module comprising one pair of oppositely arranged inventive flooding devices in accordance with the third embodiment of the present invention shown in Figure 9.

Fig. 1 1 shows a schematic perspective top view of an individual inventive flooding device in accordance with the third embodiment of the present invention shown in Figure 9.

Detailed Description of the Invention

As used herein, the term "flooding device" refers to a device, which is required to provide a process liquid into a treating module of a horizontal galvanic or wet-chemical process line for metal, in particular copper, deposition on a substrate to be treated.

As used herein, the term "substrate guiding element" refers to an element, which is required, intended or supposed to support the transportation of a substrate to be treated in such a way that the substrate to be treated will not run between two adjacent individual transport elements of the horizontal process line. Conclusively, such a substrate guiding element serves the purpose of avoiding damages of the substrates to be treated during passing the horizontal process line.

As used herein, the term "entry side" refers to said side of a flooding device of a horizontal process line, wherein a substrate to be treated will arrive in transport direction in the transportation area at the flooding device before entering the flooding device through which the substrate to be treated will run subsequently-

As used herein, the term "exit side" refers to said side of a flooding device of a horizontal process line, wherein a substrate to be treated will arrive in transport direction in the transportation area at the flooding device after leaving the flooding device through which the substrate to be treated has been run before.

In one embodiment, the flooding device further comprises at least a second substrate guiding element, wherein the flooding element is mechanically connected to the at least second substrate guiding element, and wherein the second substrate guiding element is spatially arranged on the exit side of the flooding element.

In one embodiment, the first substrate guiding element and the second substrate guiding element comprise each a plurality of protrusions, wherein the protrusions of the first substrate guiding element are extending in axial direction from the flooding element against the transport direction of the substrates to be treated, and wherein the protrusions of the second substrate guiding element are extending in axial direction from the flooding element in transport direction of the substrates to be treated.

The plurality of protrusions can be extending in axial direction in a strictly linear manner or more or less bent up in order to simplify the substrates to be treated to enter or to pass, in particular to enter, the respective flooding device and flooding element.

A bent down of the protrusions would be disadvantageous due to an increased risk of damaging the respective substrates to be treated, which will enter or leave, in particular to enter, the flooding element.

In one embodiment, the plurality of protrusions of the first substrate guiding element have longer axial dimensions against the transport direction of the substrate to be treated than the plurality of protrusions of the second substrate guiding element in transport direction of the substrate to be treated.

In principle, the plurality of protrusions on both sides of the flooding element can be of the same length or other spoken of the same axial dimension. The provision of protrusions on the entry side of the flooding element, which are longer or have longer axial dimensions than the protrusions on the exit side of the flooding element, offer the additional advantage of further limiting the risk of damaging substrates to be treated. The entering of the flooding elements is far more dangerous than the leaving of them.

Entering or leaving of the flooding elements in the sense of the present invention means of course the entering of the substrate to be treated into the area between the oppositely arranged two individual flooding elements of a treating module as it can be seen exemplary in the enclosed Figures 1 , 2, 3, 6, 7, 9, and 10.

In one embodiment, each individual protrusion of the plurality of protrusions of the first substrate guiding element and of the second substrate guiding element is directly connected to the flooding element and works independently from the adjacent protrusions.

In another embodiment, the first substrate guiding element and/or the second substrate guiding element each comprises at least one section of at least two adjacent protrusions, which are mechanically connected by at least a mechanical connecting element.

Each section of connected protrusions on each side of the flooding element can be individually adapted to customer needs, such as specific substrate materials, thicknesses or compositions. Such sections offer the advantage of having more flexibility for adapting the first and/or second substrate guiding element in dependence of the process line conditions.

In another embodiment, all protrusions of the first substrate guiding element and/or all protrusions of the second substrate guiding element are mechanically connected by at least a mechanical connecting element on the respective side of the flooding element.

As can be seen in some Figures (2, 3, 4, 5, 7 and 8), such a case will offer on at least one side of the flooding element a kind of grating structure of the respective first and/or second substrate guiding element. Thus, the first and/or second substrate guiding element can be easily adapted to existing flooding elements of already running process lines, which are making use of wheel axis as transport elements. An expensive modification of the transport system can be thereby avoided. The sole requirement is the adaption of the free space between the adjacent protrusions of the first and/or second substrate guiding element to the size of the wheels of the wheel axis. Wheel axis and rollers are both well-known individual transport elements of the prior art, which are commonly arranged in form of at least a lower series of transport elements below the transportation level of the substrates to be treated. Very often an analogues upper series of such individual transport elements is also arranged above the transportation level of the substrates to be treated. In another embodiment of the present invention, the flooding element further comprises at least a third substrate guiding element, which is connecting the first substrate guiding element from the entry side of the flooding element with the second substrate guiding element of the exit side of the flooding element; wherein the first, second and third substrate guiding element form an attachment part, which is mechanically connected in one piece to the flooding element.

This offers the additional advantage that the entire attachment part consisting of the first, second and third substrate guiding element can be removed from the respective flooding element of the respective treating module of the process line. Thereby, it can be easily replaced due to maintenance or service reasons without that the entire flooding device has to be demounted from the process line. This saves time, cost and effort.

In one embodiment, the flooding element comprises at least a first step and a second step on the flooding element surface, which is directed to the transport pathway of the substrate to be treated, and wherein the process liquid flows out of said flooding element surface.

In one alternative embodiment, the first substrate guiding element and/or the second substrate guiding element is/are a continuous piece, such as a sheet or plate, wherein the first substrate guiding element is extending in axial direction from the flooding element against the transport direction of the substrates to be treated, and wherein the second substrate guiding element is extending in axial direction from the flooding element in transport direction of the substrates to be treated.

This offers the advantage that it is independent of the individual transport elements, which are used in the respective process line. There is no free space between two sub elements, which has to be precisely manufactured in order to be adaptable to the existing transport elements of the respective process line. Thus, it is a cheap and fast possibility to generate at least a minimum of sub- strate guiding, which can minimize the risk of damaging the substrates to be treated during entering or leaving the respective flooding element.

Herein, it can be also preferred that the first substrate guiding element has longer axial dimensions against the transport direction of the substrate to be treated than the second substrate guiding element in transport direction of the substrate to be treated.

Further, the present invention also relates to a treating module of a horizontal galvanic or wet-chemical process line for metal, in particular copper, deposition on a substrate to be treated characterized in thatthe treating module comprises at least one pair of oppositely arranged such inventive flooding devices as described above, wherein each flooding device comprises at least a flooding element and at least a first substrate guiding element, wherein said flooding element is mechanically connected to the at least first substrate guiding element, and wherein the first substrate guiding element is spatially arranged on the entry side of the flooding element.

Such a pair of flooding devices generates a defined flow of treatment liquid, which enters the respective treating module thereby. Said flow of treatment liquid can cause problems if the substrate to be treated is thin and flexible. In such a case commonly the substrates to be treated will be influenced by the generated treatment liquid flow and will leave the desired transportation level by running between the first transport elements, which are in front of or behind the respective flooding device. This problem of the prior art can be solved by said treating module.

All modifications, variants and embodiments described above for the inventive flooding device can be included in such an inventive treating module.

In one embodiment, each flooding element comprises at least a first step and a second step on the flooding element surface, which is directed to the transport pathway of the substrate to be treated, and wherein the process liquid flows out of said flooding element surface. This offers the additional advantage that the cross section of the area between the two oppositely arranged flooding elements is in two steps increasing in transport direction. Herein, the well-known Venturi effect takes place and the velocity of the treatment liquid will be reduced, which will have positive influence on the transportation stability of the thin flexible substrates to be treated during leaving the respective area between the two flooding elements.

In one embodiment, each flooding device further comprises at least a second substrate guiding element, wherein the flooding element is mechanically connected to the at least second substrate guiding element, and wherein the second substrate guiding element is spatially arranged on the exit side of the flooding element; and wherein each flooding element further comprises at least a third substrate guiding element, which is connecting the first substrate guiding element from the entry side of the flooding element with the second substrate guiding element of the exit side of the flooding element; wherein the first, second and third substrate guiding element form an attachment part, which is mechanically connected in one piece to the flooding element.

In one embodiment, the first substrate guiding element and the second substrate guiding element comprise each a plurality of protrusions, wherein the protrusions of the first substrate guiding element are extending in axial direction from each flooding element against the transport direction of the substrates to be treated, and wherein the protrusions of the second substrate guiding element are extending in axial direction from each flooding element in transport direction of the substrates to be treated; wherein all protrusions of the first substrate guiding element and/or all protrusions of the second substrate guiding element are mechanically connected by at least a mechanical connecting element on the respective side of the flooding element.

The present invention thus addresses the problem of transporting thin (down to 25 micrometers) and flexible substrates to be treated through a horizontal process line without damaging them. Especially around the commonly most dangerous site, namely around the applied flooding devices, the flexible thin substrates to be treated cannot more flow upwards or downwards between the individual transport elements directly after having passed the flooding devices.

The inventive substrate guiding elements might also be attached to less dangerous sites of a horizontal galvanic or wet-chemical process line for metal. For example, they can be attached to ultrasonic devices being included in corresponding process lines.

The following non-limiting examples are provided to illustrate an embodiment of the present invention and to facilitate understanding of the invention, but are not intended to limit the scope of the invention, which is defined by the claims appended hereto.

A first embodiment is shown in the following Figures 1 to 5.

Turning now to the Figures, Figure 1 shows a schematic side view of the inventive treating module 1 of a horizontal galvanic or wet-chemical process line for metal, in particular copper, deposition on a substrate to be treated wherein the treating module 1 comprises one pair of oppositely arranged such inventive flooding devices in accordance with a first embodiment of the present invention.

Herein, each of the two shown flooding devices comprises a flooding element 2 and a first substrate guiding element 5, wherein said flooding element 2 is mechanically connected to the first substrate guiding element 5, and wherein the first substrate guiding element 5 is spatially arranged on the entry side 8 of the flooding element 2.

Each shown flooding device further comprises a second substrate guiding element 6, wherein the flooding element 2 is mechanically connected to the second substrate guiding element 6, and wherein the second substrate guiding element 6 is spatially arranged on the exit side 9 of the flooding element 2. Furthermore, the first substrate guiding element 5 and the second substrate guiding element 6 comprise each a plurality of protrusions, wherein the protrusions of the first substrate guiding element 5 are extending in axial direction from the flooding element 2 against the transport direction of the substrates to be treated. The protrusions of the second substrate guiding element 6 are extending in axial direction from the flooding element 2 in transport direction of the substrates to be treated.

In this first preferred embodiment, the plurality of protrusions of the first substrate guiding element 5 have longer axial dimensions against the transport direction of the substrate to be treated than the plurality of protrusions of the second substrate guiding element 6 in transport direction of the substrate to be treated.

Herein, each individual protrusion of the plurality of protrusions of the second substrate guiding element 6 is directly connected to the flooding element 2 and works independently from the adjacent protrusions.

Each flooding element 2 shown in Figure 1 further comprises a third substrate guiding element 4, which is connecting the first substrate guiding element 5 from the entry side 8 of the flooding element 2 with the second substrate guiding element 6 of the exit side 9 of the flooding element 2; wherein the first 5, second 6, and third 4 substrate guiding element form an attachment part, which is mechanically connected in one piece to the flooding element 2.

Herein, the flooding element 2 comprises a first step 7a and a second step 7b on the flooding element 2 surface, which is directed to the transport pathway of the substrate to be treated, and wherein the process liquid flows out of said flooding element 2 surface.

For the purpose of better illustration of the entire treating module 1 , there is also shown a pair of oppositely arranged transport elements 3 on the entry side 8 and on the exit side 9 of the treating module 1 . As it can be easily derived from the following Figures 2 and 3, the transport elements 3 of the first preferred embodiment are wheel axis.

Figure 2 shows a schematic perspective side view of the inventive treating module comprising one pair of oppositely arranged inventive flooding devices in accordance with the first embodiment of the present invention shown in Figure 1 .

Herein now, it can be easily seen that in this first embodiment of the present invention all protrusions of the first substrate guiding element 5 are mechanically connected by at least a mechanical connecting element 1 1 on the entry side 8 of the flooding element 2.

Furthermore, there is shown a fastening element 10, which serves the purpose of detachably connecting the attachment part comprising the first 5, second 6, and third 4 substrate guiding element to the respective flooding element 2. Such an attachment part can be also used as reinforcement for providing an increased overall stiffness of the flooding device, if the flooding element is manufactured of polymeric material, such as polypropylene, polyvinylchloride or polyethylene. In such a case, the attachment part would be made of metal or metal alloys, such as stainless steel, titanium, or nickel alloys. Such a combination of a plastic flooding element 2 and an attachment part of metal is exempla- rily advantageous in rinsing modules of a horizontal process line.

For the purpose of better illustration, there has been not shown the respective upper series of transport elements 3 in form of wheel axis on both sides 8, 9 of the respective flooding devices.

Figure 3 shows another schematic perspective side view of the inventive treating module comprising one pair of oppositely arranged inventive flooding devices in accordance with the first embodiment of the present invention shown in Figure 1 . Figure 3 is basically identical to Figure 2 besides the fact that herein now all transport elements 3 are now shown. Figure 4 shows a schematic perspective top view of an individual inventive flooding device in accordance with the first embodiment of the present invention shown in Figure 1 .

Figures 4 and 5 serve both the purpose of individual illustration of a single attachment part comprising the first 5, second 6, and third 4 substrate guiding element. In Figure 4, there is still included the respective flooding element 2, while in Figure 5 said flooding element 2 has been removed for illustration purposes.

A second embodiment is shown in the following Figures 6 to 8.

Figure 6 shows a schematic side view of the inventive treating module 1 ' of a horizontal galvanic or wet-chemical process line for metal, in particular copper, deposition on a substrate to be treated wherein the treating module Γ comprises one pair of oppositely arranged such inventive flooding devices in accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention.

Herein, each of the two shown flooding devices comprises a flooding element 2 ' and a first substrate guiding element 5 ' , wherein said flooding element 2 ' is mechanically connected to the first substrate guiding element 5 ' , and wherein the first substrate guiding element 5 ' is spatially arranged on the entry side 8 ' of the flooding element 2 ' .

Each shown flooding device further comprises a second substrate guiding element 6 ' , wherein the flooding element 2 ' is mechanically connected to the second substrate guiding element 6 ' , and wherein the second substrate guiding element 6 ' is spatially arranged on the exit side 9 ' of the flooding element 2 ' .

Furthermore, the first substrate guiding element 5 ' and the second substrate guiding element 6 ' comprise each a plurality of protrusions, wherein the protrusions of the first substrate guiding element 5 ' are extending in axial direction from the flooding element 2 ' against the transport direction of the sub- strates to be treated. The protrusions of the second substrate guiding element 6 ' are extending in axial direction from the flooding element 2 ' in transport direction of the substrates to be treated.

For the purpose of better illustration of the entire treating module Γ, there is also shown a pair of oppositely arranged transport elements 3 ' on the entry side 8 ' and on the exit side 9 ' of the treating module 1 ' . As it can be easily derived from the following Figure 7, the transport elements 3 ' of the second preferred embodiment are wheel axis.

In contrast to the first embodiment shown in Figures 1 to 5, there is no attachment part, which could be replaced or be used as reinforcement. Thus, this second embodiment is preferably used, if the treating module 1 ' requires the application of higher temperatures inside of the respective treating module 1 ' or if it requires the application of aggressive or oxidizing chemicals, such as permanganate. In these cases, the entire flooding device will be made of metal, preferably of stainless steel, in order to provide on the one hand a good chemical resistance of the material of the flooding device and on the other hand a sufficient mechanical stiffness to avoid material distortions. Such distortions are exemplarily taking place if flooding devices made of plastic materials are getting used at higher process liquid temperatures.

Figure 7 shows a schematic perspective side view of the inventive treating module 1 ' comprising one pair of oppositely arranged inventive flooding devices in accordance with the second embodiment of the present invention shown in Figure 6.

Herein, all protrusions of the first substrate guiding element 5 ' and all protrusions of the second substrate guiding element 6 ' are mechanically connected by a mechanical connecting element 1 Γ on the respective side of the flooding element 2 ' . Figure 8 shows a schematic perspective top view of an individual inventive flooding device in accordance with the second embodiment of the present invention shown in Figure 6.

For the purpose of better illustration, there has been not shown the respective upper series of transport elements 3 ' in form of wheel axis on both sides 8 ' , 9 ' of the respective flooding devices.

A third embodiment is shown in the following Figures 9 to 1 1 .

Figure 9 shows a schematic side view of the inventive treating module 1 " of a horizontal galvanic or wet-chemical process line for metal, in particular copper, deposition on a substrate to be treated wherein the treating module 1 comprises one pair of oppositely arranged such inventive flooding devices in accordance with a third embodiment of the present invention.

Herein, each of the two shown flooding devices comprises a flooding element 2 " and a first substrate guiding element 5 " , wherein said flooding element 2 " is mechanically connected to the first substrate guiding element 5 " , and wherein the first substrate guiding element 5 " is spatially arranged on the entry side 8 " of the flooding element 2 " .

Each shown flooding device further comprises a second substrate guiding element 6 " , wherein the flooding element 2 " is mechanically connected to the second substrate guiding element 6 " , and wherein the second substrate guiding element 6 " is spatially arranged on the exit side 9 " of the flooding element 2 " .

Furthermore, the first substrate guiding element 5 " and the second substrate guiding element 6 " comprise each a plurality of protrusions, wherein the protrusions of the first substrate guiding element 5 " are extending in axial direction from the flooding element 2 " against the transport direction of the substrates to be treated. The protrusions of the second substrate guiding element 6 " are extending in axial direction from the flooding element 2 " in transport direction of the substrates to be treated.

Herein, the flooding element 2 " comprises a first step 7a ' and a second step 7b ' on the flooding element 2 " surface, which is directed to the transport pathway of the substrate to be treated, and wherein the process liquid flows out of said flooding element 2 " surface.

For the purpose of better illustration of the entire treating module 1 " , there is also shown a pair of oppositely arranged transport elements 3 " on the entry side 8 " and on the exit side 9 " of the treating module 1 " . As it can be easily derived from the following Figure 10, the transport elements 3 " of the first preferred embodiment are rollers, wherein each roller comprises a plurality of recesses 13. Said recesses serve the purpose of being in conjunction with a corresponding protrusion in order to minimize the amount of process liquid, which can flow upwards or downwards (depending if the recess, the roller with the recesses, and the corresponding protrusions are arranged above or below the transportation level of the substrates to be treated).

Herein, the flooding device provides a reinforcement element 12 for the flooding element 2 " , which can be necessary to increase the stiffness, if the flooding element 2 " is made of plastics. A dam roller 14 is also shown for illustrative purposes.

Figure 10 shows a schematic perspective side view of the inventive treating module comprising one pair of oppositely arranged inventive flooding devices in accordance with the third embodiment of the present invention shown in Figure 9.

Herein, it can be derived from Figure 10 that each individual protrusion of the plurality of protrusions of the first substrate guiding element 5 " and of the second substrate guiding element 6 " is directly connected to the flooding element 2 " and works independently from the adjacent protrusions. Figure 1 1 shows a schematic perspective top view of an individual inventive flooding device in accordance with the third embodiment of the present invention shown in Figure 9.

While the principles of the invention have been explained in relation to certain particular embodiments, and are provided for purposes of illustration, it is to be understood that various modifications thereof will become apparent to those skilled in the art upon reading the specification. Therefore, it is to be understood that the invention disclosed herein is intended to cover such modifications as fall within the scope of the appended claims. The scope of the inven- tion is limited only by the scope of the appended claims.

Reference signs , 1 ' , 1 " Treating module

, 2 ' , 2 " Flooding element

, 3 ' , 3 " Transport element

Third substrate guiding element, 5 ' , 5 " First substrate guiding element, 6 ' , 6 " Second substrate guiding elementa, 7a ' First step of the flooding elementb, 7b ' Second step of the flooding element, 8 ' , 8 " Entry side of the flooding element, 9 ' , 9 " Exit side of the flooding element0 Fastening element

1 , 1 1 ' Mechanical connecting element2 Reinforcing element

3 Recess

4 Dam roller