Semiconductor Thin Section Bearings

Semiconductor Thin Section Bearings

Date Published: May 11, 2021

Silverthin thin-section bearings from Carter are widely used across the semiconductor manufacturing sector. In this well automated, high technology industry, the Silverthin combination of light weight, small size and extreme precision capability makes their slim, thin-section bearings a popular choice in almost every semiconductor manufacturing process. From wafer probes to positioners and pick/place robots to vacuum deposition systems, wherever precision devices need to move or rotate, there is a Silverthin engineered thin section bearing solution from Carter to suit the application.


The Silverthin portfolio of thin-section bearings for semiconductor manufacture is available either ex-stock or fully customised to maximise performance and minimise friction, contamination, corrosion, outgassing and wear in semiconductor manufacturing operations. Specialist Carter bearing engineers are experienced in the specific design needs of semiconductor manufacturing machinery and processes and can advise on the optimal materials and lubricants for operations in high vacuum (10-8 to 10-12 Torr) and in localised temperatures above 250°Celsius. They can also advise on minimising particulate generation, and on tolerances for thin-section bearings to be used in corrosive chemical environments. In some specialised semiconductor manufacturing applications, Silverthin hybrid bearings deliver improved torque characteristics and can also extend the service of bearings in marginally lubricated applications. Our industry-experienced engineers can advise on this too.


Silverthin thin-section bearings are an ideal solution for high speed, smooth torque applications where space is tight and weight reduction is important. Where required, bearings can feature a common race with two bearing paths that are ground at the same time and "run-out" together, a design that helps to smooth out any potential additional torque that may be caused by variations in axial runout. Again, Carter specialist engineers can advise on this. Other products in the Silverthin range from Carter offer a single outer and single inner raceway. This helps provide optimised torque performance should  misalignment (or orientation errors) occur during installation when thin section, angular contact Silverthin bearings are either paired or stacked.


A key design advantage of Silverthin thin-section bearings for semiconductor manufacturing applications is that seals (or shielding) can be specified for the bearing without adding to the space required. Carter specialist semiconductor industry engineers will advise about seals that can be used in atmospheric environments, or shields that should be considered for vacuum or other clean-room environments. Designers should note that because there is zero contact between the shields and the inner race, there is no torque penalty, no particle generation and no heat build up or degradation of performance when Silverthin thin sections bearings are used.


The experienced Carter Semiconductor Machine Design precision bearing team is located near Oxford, in the midst of a high-technology cluster featuring motorsport, nuclear, medical, defence and aerospace industries centred around the Thames Valley. Carter’s expert staff are all highly trained engineers and provide customers with a unique blend of experience, ability and expertise. Critically, they can also provide customers with access to Carter’s R&D Department, offering what we believe is the most advanced bearing simulation software in the UK to assist in the selection and/or design of the ideal bearing for high-tech, demanding semiconductor manufacturing machinery and applications.


Typical semiconductor manufacturing applications for Silverthin thin section bearings from Carter:


  • Arms
  • Atmospheric & vacuum transfer
  • CVD systems
  • Dicing equipment
  • Die bonders
  • Dispensing
  • Etching systems
  • Inspection equipment
  • Lapping equipment
  • Manipulators
  • Measuring systems
  • Mechanical polishers
  • Mechanical polishers
  • Sonic cleaning systems
  • Photolithography
  • Pick and place robots
  • Positioners
  • Probe stations


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