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Semiconductor

When the chips are down, Carter bearings keep semiconductor manufacturing processes sterile.

The semiconductor manufacturing sector is a well automated, high technology industry that makes extensive use of exotic materials, chemicals and processes that are amongst the most unfriendly and demanding for machinery bearings. Carter supplies specialised bearings that are designed to survive and thrive in the highly corrosive manufacturing processes and clean-room environments associated with semiconductor manufacture. Carter bearings can be specified for use in ultra-cool cryogenic processes (down to -252°C / -485°F) and are available with special lubricants that have been developed for use in clean-room applications too.
 

From wafer probes to positioners and pick/place robots through to vacuum deposition systems: wherever precision devices need to move or rotate in semiconductor manufacture and test, there is a specialty engineered thin section bearing solution from Carter to suit the application. The Carter portfolio of thin-section bearings for the semiconductor industry is available either ex-stock or fully customised to maximise performance and minimise friction, contamination, corrosion, outgassing and wear. Specialist Carter bearing engineers are experienced in the design needs for semiconductor manufacturing machinery and can advise on the optimum materials and lubricants, such as hybrid and ceramic bearings, 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.

 

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 thin section bearing range from Carter offer a single outer and single inner raceway. This helps provide optimised torque performance should misalignment occur during installation when thin section, angular contact bearings are either paired or stacked.

 

A key design advantage of our 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.

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