January 2020: Vacuum processing has evolved significantly in recent decades. Just sixty years ago, high-vacuum (HV) conditions were considered a costly scientific novelty that was confined to academic research. Furthermore, scientists were yet to replicate pressures below 10-9 millibar (mbar); characteristic of ultra-high vacuum (UHV). This largely resulted from the limitations of contemporary vacuum components (adapters, pumps, valves, etc.).
The progressive development of vacuum components helped unlock the UHV pressure regime, while broader more recent industrial trends (Industry 3.0) and technological innovations have made vacuum processing available to non-academic professionals. The modern landscape of vacuum processing is subsequently unrecognizable from that of the 1960s. HV/UHV conditions are now routinely generated at industrial scales for processing methods as varied as chemical-vapor deposition (CVD), ion beam etching, pulsed laser deposition, sputtering, surface analysis, and much more.
Each of these high-technology processes relies on a series of vacuum components and this importance is reflected by their market value. In 2017, the semiconductor industry alone consumed $2.5 billion worth of vacuum components; the single largest material expense for semiconductor original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). This includes adapters, fittings, flanges, feedthroughs, in-vacuum cabling, etc. With increasing intensity in worldwide vacuum processing, the market for vacuum components is expected to top $3.1 billion by 2023.
The current value of the vacuum components market is a testament to the innovation that has driven vacuum engineering. This is also reflected by new capabilities in vacuum component engineering for custom designs and proprietary applications.
Custom Vacuum Adapters & Feedthroughs
Adapters are crucial vacuum components where multiple integrated systems are required. They are used to ensure a hermetic seal and to maintain optimal vacuum leak rates at various interfaces. The ability to design these specifically and cost-effectively has facilitated a leap forward in system design. Types of vacuum adapter include:
CF flange to other fittings/flanges
KF mating flange to other fittings/flanges
Electrical connectivity assemblies, with Sub-D, Coax and Triaxial feedthroughs
Allectra supply both CF and KF flanges in 304L or 316L stainless steel, enabling manufacturers to interchange fitting types from other HV/UHV applications. We also offer an extensive range of electrical feedthroughs including , Sub-D, Coaxial and the new Triaxial, with air and vacuum connectors, for low/high current, high-frequency, or voltage measurements. These ensure highest sensitivity for electrical signals for the in-vacuum process.
Vacuum Components from Allectra
Allectra is among the fastest-growing suppliers of vacuum components worldwide, providing high-quality special-purpose solutions for modern engineering challenges. If you would like to learn more about our expertise in the field of HV/UHV processing, read our previous post Manufacturing Ultra-High Vacuum Components. You can also explore our online store to find special-purpose vacuum components for yourself or contact a member of the Allectra team with any custom queries.
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