case study: vertical integrated large frame
complete control over the entire manufacturing chain
Devolving more responsibility to the chain and outsourcing the entire construction of advanced subsystems to a single supplier. More and more OEMs in the semiconductor industry want to move in that direction, for example, for high-accuracy large frames in a high cleanliness class with a short lead time. This demands a combination of technologies in which Aalberts advanced mechatronics is investing heavily.
Machining large frames with very high precision – to a hundredth of a millimetre. In it Aalberts advanced mechatronics is a top player in Europe. The more so now the company has also acquired large ultra-clean purification capabilities for surface cleaning. This work was previously outsourced to third parties; by now doing this in-house, the company has secured a huge cost-of-goods advantage and significantly reduced the risk profile – read: the risk of contamination.
An example. For some time, Aalberts advanced mechatronics has been building frames for a large vacuum chamber that is part of a chip manufacturing machine of a leading semiconductor OEM. What is new is that Aalberts advanced mechatronics no longer only mills and welds the frames, which consist of different compartments, but also does the entire cleaning – in a new cleanroom and in two steps, during which even the very smallest impurities are removed. The final particles that might disrupt the customer’s process are removed by ‘baking’ the frames in a large furnace. The resultant outgassing is accurately measured by means of residual gas analysis (RGA). If the results meet the specs, the frame goes into the second cleanroom (also new) for further assembly – after which the frame is prepared for transport to the customer.
The frames are built in accordance with the customer specs. If these prove difficult to manufacture, Aalberts advanced mechatronics provides manufacturability support (design for manufacturing). For instance, in consultation with the OEM, we decided to replace the manual welding with robotized e-beam welding. That has yielded significant time savings: the manual welding took four weeks, whereas with e-beam welding the job is done in half a day. Here, Aalberts advanced mechatronics’s focus on continuous improvement/R&D, system design & engineering and new product industrialization pays dividends. With the backing of the Aalberts headquarters, which has the vision and the (financial) resources to invest in that increasingly important role of system supplier.
‘Tom Broeksema, Global Sales Manager Mogema: ‘The combination makes the difference.’
Aalberts advanced mechatronics makes the difference with the combination of technologies. That enables us to integrate vertically under one roof. We can engineer, manufacture and test high-precision frames in house. Precisely because of this vertical integration, we contribute to the technology roadmap of our OEM customers.