Umicore is a leading company in the field of circular materials technology and is producing materials for high-performance optoelectronic, photovoltaic and electronic devices.
Their R&D departments are always looking for new processes to offer cost effective materials with the same quality, reduced weight and limited waste.
New measurement systems and tools are required to support these innovation processes. Currently these are not available off the shelf and need to be developed from scratch.
An experienced partner is needed to develop innovative turn-key solutions in a fast and cost effective way. This is where we step in…
We developed a completely new solution from concept to fully integrated system. In this process we selected the right technology for all subsystems, designed and produced key custom parts and integrated the complete system. The result: a specialized measurement setup to quantify the characteristics of wafers. Some specifications:
- The system can handle next generation wafers that are extra thin (< 200 µm) and fragile
- The system can apply high forces in a controlled way and provide accurate measurements
- Plug and play software with dedicated Graphical User Interface allows to easily configure and run measurements
- Since the measurements are executed within a cleanroom environment, all components are cleanroom compatible
- It is a table top system that is compact, ergonomic and safe to operate
- The system is designed with modularity in mind, to extend it’s capabilities in the future
We tackle the complete development process from concept design to functional prototype. That is what we do best, using an agile methodology to ensure a fast an iterative development proces with the customer in the loop. To get an idea of all the steps involved in realizing a new turn-key solution:
- Concept generation and definition from scratch towards customer specifications
- Identification of all required subsystems and workflows
- Component selection of all sensors and motors
- Detailed mechanical design of critical system components such as the vacuum gripper
- Key components are sourced through our supplier network or produced inhouse using techniques such as 3D printing. This allows test driven design and fast iterations
- Electrical and pneumatic system design
- Software development to control the hardware and implement the measurement workflow. A dedicated Graphical User Interface was added to make the measurement execution easy and user friendly
- Integration, assembly and testing
ART Robotics has designed and manufactured the equipment that perfectly meets our expectations. Currently, this equipment is contributing to developing a new product. I am sure that ART Robotics is able to contribute and deliver new solutions also in many other fields.
The vacuum gripper is a critical component since it’s function is to accurately fixate fragile objects with variable size (such as wafers). We designed this subsystem from scratch and optimized it to apply a uniform force on the surface. Inhouse 3D-printing allows us to do agile hardware development. We can produce, test, analyse and iterate the design in a very fast and efficient way. Our final gripper design is composed of multiple zones with integrated channels to accommodate different geometries.
Table top measurement system that is compact, ergonomic and safe to operate. The main components:
- Linear axis with encoder to apply a controlled force and measure displacement
- Load cell measurement setup to accurately measure force
- 2D Position table to position the sample under the axis.
- A laser crosshair provides visual feedback if the sample is positioned correctly
- Robust aluminium frame with transparent doors to see all the action. The doors also protect the user from fragments that might be released
- Control panel with vacuum supply and emergency button
Software to easily configure and run measurements includes:
- Plug and play software that can run on any PC (Windows/Linux)
- Automated measurement flow to ensure repeatable measurements without human errors
- Communication with the sensors and motor driver via Modbus TCP
- Graphical User Interface (GUI) to easily configure and run measurements
- Automated measurement analysis and report generation