Future Product Lines
Lapping and polishing machines can be easily constructed by experienced machine
builders to fit the specific needs of users. These machines are easy to operate,
reliable, and durable which makes for many years of productive service. Machines
can have a wide range of sizes to accommodate individual wafers and workpieces
or groups of them. Multiple wafer processing heads can be used on a machine to
simultaneously process individual wafers or groups of wafers using a single island
abrasive disc. Air bearing platens, similar to those presently used for conventional
lapping and polishing machines, can produce the precision flatness and high
speeds required for our high-speed abrasive polishing system. For reference, the
prototype lapper and disc grinder machines that are in constant use in our shop
were built on-site at our facility.
As is the case in many commercial lapping operations, automated machine loading,
and operation is very desirable. The lapper machine can easily accommodate
standard robotic material handling devices that can provide partial or fully
automated lapping and polishing production of wafers and workpieces.
Large-Bead Coated Abrasive Articles
Our large erodible abrasive beads can also be coated on web backing materials to form a new class of abrasive articles. These abrasive discs, sheets, and belts will all offer extraordinarily long abrading lives compared to conventional abrasive products. These large bead-coated abrasive articles will provide much longer abrading life than conventional lapping film media that has very small abrasive particles.
The large abrasive beads provide a particle-utilization advantage over conventional pyramid-shaped abrasive articles. With spherical beads, the bulk of the abrasive particles contained in a bead are elevated a significant distance from the backing sheets. The bulk of the abrasive particles in an abrasive pyramid are located very close to the backing sheet. Because of their elevation, most of the particles in a bead can be utilized without the wafer or workpiece coming into abrading contact with the backing. Abrading contact of the wafer with the backing is much more likely as a pyramid wears down.
As is common in the lapping and polishing industry, the consumables
can cost as much or more than the machine itself over its lifetime. Each lapping and polishing machine will consume many high-value abrasive coated island-discs each year and because of this, abrasive article production will prove to be very profitable over the life of each machine.
Discs can be produced on a batch basis with low manufacturing facility
investments through several different methods. They can also be produced with
modified web coating equipment to better utilize existing production facilities.
A wide variety of low-cost flexible island-disc substrates having different disc
diameters can be held in inventory for coating with selected abrasive materials
and particle sizes. Coating these island discs with the abrasive beads is a simple
and fast process that easily allows for the end users to request specialized disc
combinations without significant time delay.
Abrasive Bead Inventory
Likewise, abrasive beads of all different sizes, abrasive types, and abrasive
compositions can be produced in bulk and held in inventory for coating on
batches of island discs.
These long lasting and highly effective discs are lightweight and can be quickly shipped at low costs.