Custom-made vacuum deposition systems
First, we have a special department, which is engaged in the development and production of targets. Competencies in this area provide additional abilities for improving technology and equipment.
Secondly, we can optimize the equipment for such important parameters as technical capabilities, productivity and price. Our systems have a modular design, so it is possible to create from a different module a configuration that best suits the needs of the customer. Unlike most competitors, we practically do not supply serial units. In practice, each project is unique in something, requires individual solutions that we create for the customer. In fact, we help c customers to implement their ideas.
And, finally, we have a lot of experience in the development of automated equipment, including full automatic systems, which work practically without human participation. In this case, the operator's functions are exhausted by selecting a cassette with substrates and setting the technological mode on the control panel, after which the system operates autonomously, processing the wafer behind the wafer, and automatically performing the necessary manipulations, for example, turning the substrates. Such an automatic machine can be left to work in the night shift so that in the morning you get a finished product batch.
Despite the fact that all projects are individual, they are probably based on certain platforms?
Indeed, there are several series of equipment on the basis of which solutions are developed for specific customers. The Star series include cluster systems for up to 200 mm wafers, which are focused mainly on R&D and educational tasks. The Boxx series, distinguished by the placement of substrates on the drum and the use of vertical magnetrons, is well suited for pilot and small-scale production. On the basis of the Line series, production lines for large-scale and mass production are created, which can operate around the clock with a capacity of several wafers per minute. Substrates in such lines are fed into the deposition modules by a horizontal or vertical conveyor. Such lines are used, for example, in the production of solar panels, when the size of the substrate can reach 1 200 Ч 600 mm, or in the automotive industry for applying special coatings to the glass. On the basis of the Roll series, roll-to-roll systems for the processing of metal and polymer materials up to 1 900 mm wide are being created. They are used, in particular, in the production of flexible electronics and thin-film solid-state LiPON batteries.
What areas of use of thin-film technology do you consider to be the most promising?
The development of the production of electric vehicles created the basis for the explosive growth in demand for the already mentioned thin-film solid-state accumulators. In this regard, we are counting on new orders for roll-to-roll systems. A very promising area is the production of solar cells, which almost completely moved to China, and is experiencing a real boom there. In general, it should be noted that large orders for production equipment come mainly from East Asia, and in Europe, solutions for R&D and small-scale production are mostly in demand. The third trend is the increase in the production of sensors, which is largely caused by the development of the Internet of things.
I would especially like to note the growth in the use of thin-film technologies in the production of optical elements – filters, clarified optics, etc. Specially for this market, we have developed a new magnetron sputtering system that allows to apply more than 100 layers with the highest uniformity of the film. It uses a very economical and efficient cylindrical magnetron, and the substrates are placed on a drum rotating at a speed of 100 to 200 rpm. The target is located at the bottom, and the stream of particles goes from bottom to top, which causes its high homogeneity and minimizes defects in case of the detachment of large particles. The thickness of the film is automatically controlled to within an angstroms.
How do you assess the prospects for FHR equipment in Russia?
Russia is a big, rather complicated, but also very interesting market. We can offer Russian customers a real German quality, as our equipment is designed and assembled in Germany from domestic-made components and is controlled by software of our own design. At the same time, as market monitoring showed, the price difference between our solutions and equipment manufactured, for example, in Eastern Europe, is negligible. It is important that FHR is part of the Centrotherm group, which gives additional confidence to customers in the strength of our market positions. No less important is the fact that in Russia we are represented by a reliable partner – the ZENCO PLASMA company.
How is the joint work with ZENCO PLASMA LLC on the supply of equipment on the Russian market conducted?
In Russia, our systems of magnetron sputtering of the Star-100/150 series (the diameter of the substrates up to 100 mm/200 mm) in the TetraCo configuration (three magnetrons and high-frequency substrate cleaning), the Boxx and Micro series are the most in demand. Engineers and specialists of our partner in Russia carry out a full cycle of work to solve the customer's problems: the coordination of technical and technological conditions and the requirements of the customer, the selection of appropriate equipment model and configuration, the organization of laboratory tests at a manufacturing plant in Germany, providing the customer with a report on the results achieved, coordination of requirements to the engineering infrastructure for the successful launch and operation of equipment, with the execution of project work, if necessary, in particular to change the existing infrastructure or create it from scratch in accordance with the requirements and norms of technical regulations of the Russian Federation. For example, it is possible to design and to supply gas supply and gas treatment systems, emission control systems, vacuum lines, climatic systems, clean rooms. ZENCO PLASMA carries out the acceptance of equipment in a factory in Germany, with possible participation of end-user representatives, after which it organizes the delivery to Russia and the customs clearance of the equipment that has passed the acceptance. Then ZENCO PLASMA's specialists carry out a full range of works on installation, connection and testing of equipment for compliance with technological and technical requirements. In case the equipment is supplied with non-standard processes, it is possible to involve our technologist. After commissioning the equipment, warranty service and user support are provided. During the joint work, ZENCO PLASMA has established itself as a reliable and qualified partner, which allows us to confidently offer our sophisticated high-tech equipment to Russian customers.