Category Archives: Industries

High-end heating solutions for SEMICON ALD deposition processes

THERMOCOAX is involved in the worldwide SEMICON market with High-end heating solutions based on Mineral Insulated cable technology.

We work on many levels of the wafer manufacturing process such as lithography, deposition, etching, ion implantation, or annealing.

With the evolution of the technology of 3D transistors, we focused our development on the ALD deposition process.

We meet the requirements of the SEMICON market in term of repeatability, temperature uniformity, control in production, quality monitoring, and COPY EXACT High volume manufacturing.

Due to our 60 years of experiences in high tech projects,  our engineering capability, our production tools, our control processes, our quality procedures and our adaptability are fully in line with the requirements of our SEMICON OEM customers.

We have decided to present in this paper our development on heating chucks for ALD processes

We have developed heating chucks dedicated to the SEMICON ALD, offering a high thermal uniformity on all the surface of the chuck, a great flatness and high dimensional stability, with no brazing presence outside the chamber.

We first focused our studies on the temperature uniformity over the entire surface of the chuck at High-temperature.

We started with the prototyping phases with our OEM customers.

Each ALD process has his own specifications. So, in order to better meet the needs of our customers, we set up a team of engineers dedicated to the SEMICON market.

We have acquired in-house testing tools, and we developed our own test systems.

Up to date, we have developed chucks with up to 7 separate heating zones.

A thermocouple type K, N or J well positioned makes it possible to control the temperature of each heating zone independently.

We manage to develop multizone heating chucks with High-temperature uniformity responding to the SEMICON ALD specifications :

Complex thermal FEA – 3D THERMAL MODELING – 1.6°C surface homogeneity

  

 

The flatness of the heating chuck is also one of the most important parameters in the ALD specifications.

We work on chucks with diameters up to 450mm (18 “).

We design, machine the chucks in-house, and control the dimensions with high-performance tridimensional CMM control facilities.

Those metal chucks can be of stainless steel, Inconel or special Alloy offering high dimensional stability.

  • FLATNESS: 0.05mm OR LOWER ON WAFER POCKET
  • Critical dimensional tolerances

 We adapt the feedthrough by offering custom bushings and flanges.

 Our heating chucks are designed to be used in an ultra-high vacuum environment.

  • UHV Vacuum < 10-7 Pa

THERMOCOAX has developed specific High-temperature ceramic / metal connectors compatible with high vacuum.

Because of the cleaning operation necessary for an ALD process, we developed metal chucks with a specific alloy that can resist the aggressive cleaning gas withstanding.

We also offer optional:

  • Cooling channel
  • Gas line
  • Vacuum wafer sucking
  • Anti-slice grooving

 

FROM PROTOTYPING TO HIGH VOLUME MANUFACTURING

 To ensure the quality requirements of the SEMICON market, THERMOCOAX built a new factory in France fully dedicated to the SEMICON market with a dedicated R&D & manufacturing team.

We manufacture series according to the COPY EXACT specifications of our customers.

Our manufacturing process is fully controlled :

– Traceability,

– Subcontractor assessment,

– Internal & External audits

– Regulatory compliance

We set up an organization in project mode to manage large production programs for a permanent improvement of our performances.

Our industrializing performance is controlled by scores :

  • Failure mode and effects analysis (FMEA)
  • Statistical Process Control (SPC)
  • Process Flow
  • R&R calculation method

For High Volume Manufacturing, THERMOCOAX works with the strategy  of permanent improvement in terms of :

  • Design
  • Manufacturing process
  • Cost reduction

  THERMOCOAX offers high adaptability to customers specific requests.

THERMOCOAX has a full scaled presence in the US and serves ASIA directly.

 

THERMOCOAX 60th ANNIVERSARY

THERMOCOAX has reached a major milestone this year. The company is celebrating its 60th anniversary.

60 years of service to our customers, 60 years of innovation in the nuclear, aerospace, semicon, and industrial markets meeting the expectations of these sectors through their constantly evolving applications.

To celebrate this event, the teams undertook the crossing of the bay of Mont Saint-Michel last month.  Braving the cold, the mud, and the rivers (sometimes full), we managed to chase the clouds and together we reached the finish line of this jewel of architecture, The Mont Saint-Michel, also called the “Wonder of the West”.  It was a very beautiful day revealing the mutual effort, team spirit, strong human values of THERMOCOAX.

 

 

 

TUS & SAT Thermocouples for heat treatment

Description of the Thermocouples

When two different materials are welded together to make a junction and heated up, an electromotive force (EMF) is generated make the measurement of temperature possible.

The EMF generation uses the Seebeck effect.

The thermocouples measure temperature differences.

The EMF are generated in Temperature gradients.

The sensitivity of the thermocouple is the sum of the thermoelectric power of each conductor.

The advantage of a higher EMF means a better temperature resolution.

The thermocouples are standardized. The basic values of the EMF and the tolerances are laid down in the IEC584-1+2 standards.

Thermocouples cover a temperature range from -200°C to +2300°C.

The essential THERMOCOAX thermocouple construction is that both conductors, insulation and metal protecting sheath are combined as a cable :

  • The two wires make the thermoelectric pair
  • The mineral insulator is a highly compacted powder
  • The continuous metal sheath provides the mechanical and chemical protection of the pair.

 

At the end, the cores and the sheath are welded and constitute the junction.

 

 

For the aerospace industry and more recently for the automotive industry, the heat treatment of high end materials has to conform to the ASM 2750 E and CQI-9 standards respectively.

Those standards give the pyrometric requirements for thermal processing equipment used for the heat treatment of metal parts.

The System Accuracy Tests (SATs) and the Temperature Uniformity Surveys (TUS) are key parts of state of the art heat treatment operations.

The SAT is performed to assure the accuracy of the furnace control and recording system in each controlled zone.

TUS shall be performed to measure temperature uniformity and to establish the acceptable work zone and qualified operating temperature range(s).

Thermocouples shall be installed in the thermal processing equipment within the work zone or as close as possible to it.

The load sensors are attached to or in contact with production material.

Those temperature homogeneity standards concern atmospheric pressure (air) furnaces as well as vacuum furnaces.

The homogeneity of the furnace temperature depends on the quality and accuracy of the measuring instruments used.

When choosing survey TCs, their maximum correction factor needs to be below the required specification and tolerances of the furnace.

To meet the demanding requirements of heat treatment applications, thermocouple types R / S / B / J / T / E / K / N / C have to conform to precise calibration requirements, especially in terms of tolerance.

Tolerance values are governed by standards, such as NF EN 60584-1 and ASTM E230.

The ASTM E230 “Special tolerance” is more restrictive than the NF EN 60584 “Class 1” below 375°C.

Tolerance values are given as a deviation in degrees Celsius or a function of temperature. The larger value is applicable.

For example, for K type thermocouples, the special tolerance value to conform to the ASTM E230 is +/-1.1°C or 0.4%

SAT & TUS thermocouples must be calibrated every 6 months for Type B, R & S and every 3 months for N & K thermocouples. The allowed error is +/- 1.1 ° C or + / 0.4% for SATs thermocouples and +/- 2.2 ° C or +/- 0.75% for TUS thermocouples.

We also talk about tolerance classes for thermocouples.

Thermocoax inspects the whole thermocouple production chain.

The mineral insulated cables that represent the core of the technology, are manufactured in the French factory of Athis de l’Orne (61).

Furthermore, THERMOCOAX has its own calibration laboratory certified by a national COFRAC accreditation No.2-1384 with an international recognition.

If required, we can deliver a COFRAC calibration certificate for each thermocouple manufactured.

  • Calibration Laboratory – COFRAC Certified
  • CERTIFICATE No. 2-1384 rev. 3
  • International recognition
  • Range of validity accessible on the COFRAC website

http://www.cofrac.fr/annexes/sect2/2-1384.pdf

 

To offer the full range of temperature calibration points for heat treatment manufacturing, we use two different calibration process: The fixed points calibration and the calibration by comparison.

 

 

 

THERMOCOAX owns a wide range of means for calibration by comparison, as well as by fixed points. This variety of equipment allow us to perform comparisons between the different measuring instrument in order to ensure the validity of our results and our uncertainties. We also frequently perform inter-laboratory comparisons in accordance with the international standard EN ISO/IEC 17043.

Our team of specialists with our 60 years of experiences in thermal applications and in the management of regulatory requirements of the aerospace and automotive industry, gives us an international reputation.

The quality of the thermocouples, the homogeneity of the production and a high-performance calibration process, make it possible to improve reliability and efficiency of the heat treatment plants.

 

 

 

Immersion heater for maintaining aluminum bath temperature and for pre-heating of foundry ovens

Introduction

The quality of the extruded or molded aluminum parts depends mainly on the quality of the alloy components and the temperature homogeneity of the liquid aluminum.

Foundries are looking for efficient solutions that maintain heat and temperature in terms of energy consumption and performance.

This project for developing a high efficiency immersion heater started a few years ago at Thermocoax with a very specific R & D project for the aluminum foundry.

The challenge was to offer a high efficiency immersion heater for the aluminum industry, using the Thermocoax mineral-insulated cables and our expertise for applications in harsh environments.

The immersion heater is used in the aluminum industry to keep the aluminum in its liquid state upstream of the extrusion or molding processes.

Liquid aluminum is extremely corrosive. Immersed steel tubes or Inconel tubes are destroyed in a few hours.

The challenge of Thermocoax was to offer a sheath resistant to the corrosion caused by molten aluminum and to optimize the heating efficiency of the immersion heater.

The Thermocoax solution for the immersion heater sheath

Thermocoax’s R & D team has worked closely with a major manufacturer of high quality aluminum in order to verify the results of its internal studies under real conditions.

There is no metal capable of resisting immersion in an aluminum bath. Similarly, thermally deposited ceramic coatings (plasma, HVOF, etc.) on steels have a very limited lifetime (see figure below).

The usual ceramics containing silica cannot be immersed for long periods without suffering significant deterioration either.

Only one ceramic is capable of meeting the challenge : Sialon which has the crude formula Si3Al3O3N5. Sialon is a solid solution of alumina (Al2O3) in silicon nitride (Si3N).

Sialon is an expensive but essential material for applications related to liquid aluminum.

It is an extremely rigid material that does not allow for matrixing which could increase heat transfer.

Tests of ceramic coatings on steel tubes

immersion-heater-1          24h later       immersion-heater-2

 

Thermocoax solution to optimize thermal efficiency of the immersion heater

During the molding process, liquid aluminum is at a temperature of 750 ° C.

In order to heat the aluminum bath homogeneously without compromising the reliability of the immersion heater, Thermocoax engineers have developed a design that places the heating element closer to the wall of the ceramic tube. This mechanically stable concept, even at high temperatures, limits the thermal resistance between the heating element and the ceramic.

Thanks to this new design, we guarantee high efficiency over the long term, without degrading the level of heat exchange over time.

Tests and calculations

immersion-heater-3           immersion-heater-4

 

Thermal gradient observed » 140 ° C

Optimizing the immersion heater reliability

The heating elements used are Thermocoax mineral-insulated cables with a cold part allowing a low temperature connection with the connectors.

The double insulation offered by the ceramic tube and the electrically-insulated heating element make this immersion heater a completely safe solution for operators.

The insulation resistance of this immersion heater provides a very low level of leakage current.

A thermocouple positioned strategically inside the immersion heater allows a precise and permanent control of the temperature of the heating element and continuous monitoring of the immersion heater.

Thermocoax uses a ceramic metal connector with a very high dielectric strength. This connector has been specifically designed to meet the requirements of immersion heaters in an industrial environment.

 

immersion-heater-5

 

Tests conducted at the end of the manufacturing process :

– Insulation resistance > 1012 Ohms at 1000 VDC
– Dielectric resistance at 800 VAC for 1 min
– Leakage current < 10mA at 800 VAC
– Heating test at 850 ° C in air

Design verification

An initial verification of the design was made on site at an aluminum manufacturer. Pre-heating tests were conducted in an 800 kg oven for 3 weeks. The results were very conclusive with a leakage current which remained very low.

A second long-term test in production was carried out continuously over 2 ½ years in a 5 tonne furnace

The design has been verified by professionals in the aluminum industry.

Technical specifications

  • Heating zone : 300 mm
    • Temperature control
    • Adjustable power
    • Typical power: 7 kW (up to 20 kW)
    • Thermal flow: 14 W / cm²
    • Cold shares
    • Leakage current <10 mA at 900 ° C (double insulation)

Developed for specific high quality aluminum foundries with a very high level of technical requirements (insulation, temperature control, energy efficiency, etc.)

immersion-heater-6

 

Mould electrical heating solution for foundries

Introduction

Standard practices in industry heat the moulds using gas burners, infrared panels or ovens. However, it is difficult to accurately control the temperature of the mould with indirect heating processes.

 

Electric mould heating solutions already exist with heating cartridges  but power delivered is much lower ; therefore the temperature is less homogeneous than the Thermocoax  heating solution.

Mould heating solutions are requested in many industries : metallurgy, glass, thermoplastic.

SCAN_1_9

                                      

The Challenge : offer a mould heating solution with Thermocoax mineral insulated cables

  • Several heating zones
  • Reaching high temperatures quickly enough.
  • Optimize the heat transfer on steel moulds, stainless steel or cast iron by optimization of :
    • the cable design and the cable repartition on the support
    • the specific fixation solutions developed by Thermocoax to fix the cables depending on the application and the mould material

 

  • Our ability to integrate elements on rotary systems.

 

The benefits of Thermocoax MI cable heating solution

 

  • Process adapted to metals, glass and thermoplastic industries
  • Ability to follow complex 2D & 3D forms
  • High temperature homogeneity
  • Low electrical consumption
  • Fast temperature ramp-up
  • Electrical insulation and low leakage current
  • Low maintenance required

 

Main heating parameters for THERMOCOAX MI cable heating solutions :

Homogeneity

  • Due to their specific design, the Thermocoax Mineral Insulated Cables have the advantage of generating uniform temperature.
  • The homogeneous distribution of heat over the entire mould is guaranteed by the design and cable fixing solution.
    The design and fastening of cables is specific to each application and depend on the support materials.

 

Implementation of the Thermocoax heating solution :


The heating elements can be directly brazed to the mould to favour heat exchange and temperature increase.
This fastening system also makes it possible to meet the demands of moving moulds for applications of roto-moulding for example.

Halve shells and heating plates can be designed to be removable.

Temperature control is carried out by thermocouples and a specific electrical control system provided by THERMOCAX.
Several thermocouples can be installed in different places of the mould to measure its thermal profile in real-time.

 

Adaptability of the Thermocoax heating solution to specific designs :

The mechanical properties and the small bending radius of Thermocoax mineral insulated cables make it possible to cover any type of complex geometry with different heating zones.
Each zone can be controlled independently.

 

 Conclusion

Thermocoax developed an innovative mould heating solution.
This solution can be adopted on rotary systems.

The heating elements and thermocouples are welded directly onto the prints, they are an integral part of the mould.

The temperature can be controlled with extreme precision.

Thanks to appropriate positioning of the heating elements, the THERMOCOAX heating solution provides the homogeneous temperature that moulding industries require.

The Thermocoax heating solution makes it possible to reach temperatures of up to 700 °C, which are necessary to process various materials or to maintain the temperature of metals during the moulding process.

 

Thermocoax mould heating solution applications :

Shell foundry: Pressure or gravity foundry
Glass moulding: mould preheating, temperature control


Rotational-moulding of thermoplastics using a rotating Process

Appl-067 SCAN_1_25

MI Cable welded onto the print     

We would be more than happy to present you our mould heating solutions – You can contact us through our website www.thermocoax.com or directly at : + 33 1 41 38 80 61

 

Silicon filter heaters solution

Heating Jackets for Water for Injection (WFI) and High Purity Water (HPW) Filtration Processes

Filtration is essential in many different processes throughout almost every industry in terms of separation and prevention. Filtration is critical to the process and the quality of the product. When using water for injection in production of food, beverages or pharmaceuticals the focus is on process stability and prevention of downtime. The good manufacturing practice (GMP or cGMP) and Federal Drug Administration (FDA) guidelines set standards in terms of design and inspection of WFI and HPW systems. When it comes to filtration processes, the vent filters, installed in line of the system, play an important role during phases of design and inspection. The vent filter is an essential component, which the following paragraph by the FDA describes:
“The one component of the holding tank that generates the most discussion is the vent filter. It is expected that there be some program for integrity testing this filter to assure that it is intact. Typically, filters are now jacketed to prevent condensate or water from blocking the hydrophobic vent filter. If this occurs (the vent filter becomes blocked), possibly either the filter will rupture or the tank will collapse.”

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Most common in rigid stainless steel systems for food, beverage and pharmaceutical production are steam jacketed vent filter housings. A good and reliable solution, but in terms of investment and installation, steam jacketed systems are costly. It is also very time consuming during replacement sessions of the inner filter cartridges. At the end, these systems are not very flexible once installed in a production process.

One alternative that provides easy handling and replacement are electrical vent filter heating jackets. They provide a maximum on safety with accurate temperature control and are easy to install on the vent filter housing. One may say that electrical heaters are a potential hazard and are not suitable for use in such environments, but these heating jackets are of unique design to fit exactly those stringent requirements.

The one-piece molded design is formed out of a two-component silicone rubber compound that fits around the filter housings without any fixation methods that may be not compliant for use in those production processes. The design provides a high level on ingress protection safety and is fully functional even 24 hours after submerging into potable water. The construction also focuses on minimizing potential voids to prevent formation of residue and microbes. By using only silicone rubber compounds for the complete design one benefit is that the complete heating jacket can be easily cleaned with most common detergents used for cleaning WFI and HPW systems.

Filtermanschette (5)

A second advantage is that the silicone rubber heating jackets are following latest EHEDG and 3-A Sanitary standards for food production processes. Finally, they pass FDA and BfR specifications concerning silicone rubber materials and all components pass latest RoHS and REACH requirements.

Different Scales of Production for Biopharmaceutical Applications and Processes

More benefits of the electrical heating jackets arise when we move towards latest biopharmaceutical applications. In recent years, there has been an increasing demand for single use technologies in different scales of production. From prototyping, through tabletop applications all the way up to large reactor systems, these processes also require high purity water injection that use special vent filters. The vent filters used for single use systems are typically made of polymers instead of stainless steel design. Diversity in design, shape and size make it inapplicable to use steam jacketing. Since the same regulations apply for any WFI system, those filters need to be heat traced in order to prevent dew formation inside and clogging of the lines. Electrical heating jackets provide the one alternative for any production scale whilst remaining all benefits in regards to safety and necessary design requirements.

Production Scales Online Casino HEX Baccarat Infographic

Thermocoax IR sources with metallic shield for non-contact and low-pollution plastic welding – White paper

Introduction

We have received an order from our automotive customers wishing to weld plastic complex shapes (2D & 3D) with non-contact IR sources.

IR welding was chosen because they needed to weld without introducing polluting particles into the weld bead (due to PA66 35% GF), a process which could modify the properties of the material and possibly pollute the future content of the welded element (Conformity to Euro 6 standard). With the IR welding process, the weld bead offers a higher bursting strength.

The solution has to be easily implemented on a production line, be accurate and reliable,  be adaptable to complex 2D & 3D geometry shapes and requires little maintenance.

It was difficult to find a conventional welding solution that meets all those parameters, especially in terms of welding of complex shapes, low-pollution welding and reliability over time.

The Challenge: The Metallic Shielded IR Source for clean welding

The challenge for Thermocoax was to design an IR source able to lower this pollution rate and generate a clean welding solution, with low maintenance.

The Thermocoax innovation team designed an IR source using Thermocoax’s Mineral Insulated Cables Technology, which meets customer needs. It can be easily implemented in a production line, and is accurate and reliable over time.

The infrared sources (heating elements at a temperature of 850°C) are placed a few millimetres from the 2 elements to be welded. When the welding zones reach their melting temperature, the IR source is removed. The two parts are then pressed against each other to complete the weld.

The benefits of Thermocoax Shielded IR Sources

 Advantages of Thermocoax IR sources heating elements :

  •  Ability to follow complex 2D & 3D forms
  • The Thermocoax IR sources’ emission wavelengths match perfectly with the major plastic absorption wavelength range.
  • Welding materials acceptable: thermoplastics, polyethylene, PVC, polypropylene, composite reinforced plastics, polyamides &c.
  • Low electrical consumption
  • Fast temperature ramp-up
  • Electrically insulated and low leakage current
  • Low maintenance required
  • Soundless

 

Main heating parameters for obtaining high quality non-contact IR welding :

Homogeneity of shielded IR source

  • Due to their specific design, the Thermocoax Mineral Insulated Cables have the advantage of generating a uniform temperature.
  • The design of the Metallic Shield specifically developed by Thermocoax plays an important role in ensuring uniformity of the IR emission sources.

The IR source Shield, made of a specific alloy, resists chemical attacks caused by projection of plastic and fibre glass particles. Thanks to the Metallic Shield IR innovative technology, the source retains its physical properties throughout the welding cycle and over time. Low maintenance is required.

Image1    OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The binding system used to fix the sources and the brackets have  been specially designed to reduce thermal bridges while retaining mechanical robustness.

  • Thermal regulation is achieved with a thermocouple inserted inside the IR source. It prevents temperature deviation.

An innovative Metallic Shield

The metallic structure developed by the Thermocoax Innovation Team to manufacture the shielding of the IR source allows complex 2D & 3D geometrical shapes to be produced.

Dimensional accuracy

The IR Shielded Sources are sized at both high and low temperature to anticipate expansions of materials and maintain perfect alignment at 850°C with the element to be welded. The dimensional accuracy of the IR source allows heating specifically at the weld bead location.


Conclusion

The Thermocoax Shielded IR Sources meet the requirements of non-contact clean welding.

Because of the shield structure and innovated design, the Thermocoax Shielded IR Source is a powerful plastic welding technology offering high performance industrial welding solution over time.

The Thermocoax non-contact IR welding solution is clean and homogeneous, the weld bead looks good to the eye, and the welding has no impact on the colour of the materials – Low maintenance required.

 

Specifications and Applications of Metallic Shield IR sources

  • Mechanical accuracy
  • Fusion of complex shapes (2D & 3D)
  • Small bend radius IR design
  • Low pollution, high bursting resistance
  • Width of seam from 2-6 mm
  • Dedicated to major plastic materials

These sources are used primarily in the automotive, medical and packaging industries and can be adapted to suit other industrial sectors.

Due to NDAs signed with our customers we are unable to present our 3D Specific Metallic IR Sources in this white paper – For all your requests, please contact us at : www.thermocoax.com
Phone : +33 141 388 061 – e-mail : nathalie.delattre@thermocoax.com