Horizontal Inline Vacuum systems for large scale mass production
The ASTRA inline platform is based on magnetron sputtering technology adapted for high throughput production of conveyor type. The main distinguishing feature is the substrate loading in horizontal position. The substrate is loaded on the transport carrier that moves along all the coater passing through several steps of vacuum load-locks and process corridors. At the end the carriers are going out to atmosphere through a vacuum load lock chamber. The carriers return to the loading area following the return conveyor that works in atmosphere. Its standardized design is located underneath the process chamber for space saving.
This solution has the following advantages:
- no uncoated area on the substrate
- easy loading, easy automation
- flexibility of return conveyor design that make easy integration to fab automation
- possibility to make double side coating
- process stability due to constant vacuum, working gas conditions
The disadvatage is top to bottom sputtering design that cause risk off particles on the substrate from magnetron stations. To eliminate this issue the time between maintenace (MTBM) is made shorter.
Classification by size
By coating area size classification ASTRA platform has the following options:
- GEN 2 with coating area 370x4200 mm
- GEN 4.5 with coating area 800x1100 mm
Together with the coating area size the main parameter that define productivity is cycle time (or tact time like in conveyor production). It is the time between unloading and loading transport carriers with coated substrates.
For Aurora platform the shortest cycle time is from 45 sec.
Available coating processes
The modular structure allows to realize various technologies (quantity of layers) with different cycle time by installation additional chambers with sputtering stations in necessary positions.
The main process realized on Astra coaters:
- ITO and other TCO structures
- Index Match ITO for touch industry
- Antireflection coating on cover glass (AR)
- AR plus anti fingerprint coatings (AR+AF)
- NCVM color coating on glass and plastic substrates (PET)
- Metalization coating
One of the main advantage of INLINE coaters is outstanding process stability. Along with a standard parameters as well known cyclindrical magnatron sputtering stations I-Photonics reached outstanding stability by organize transport system whe carriers move with ZERO GAP between each other when they go in front od sputtering stations. This solution stabilize plazma condition that makes reactive sputtering reliable and repeatable for high quality anti reflection coating.
- ASTRA- M : horizontal coater of medium size for mass production
- ASTRA - S : small size coater for small scale production, pilot run, lab, R&D and process tuning
For details about configuration please see description for each model and contact us.
Horizontal massproduction coater
Horizontal LAB coater