Established High Speed Abrading System
High speed lapping and polishing is now an established abrading system. The extraordinary 10X increase in material removal rate (MRR) for hard materials such as sapphire is a clear demonstration of its superior performance capability.
Conventional Liquid Abrasive Slurry System is Slow and Messy
The existing system of using liquid abrasive particle slurries is slow and messy. By comparison, our fixed-abrasive island-type discs are operated at very high speeds and because the discs are water-mist cooled, there is no mess to clean up when making the required abrasive particle size changes for abrading process procedures.
Disruptive High-Speed Abrasive Polishing Technology
Many attempts have been made over the years to increase the speeds of conventional
abrasive slurry lapping systems. They have all failed. Fundamentally, liquid abrasive slurry
polishing cannot be sped-up without the wafers hydroplaning (floating) and losing abrading
contact with the abrading surface. Without contact between the wafer and the abrasive, no
material can be removed from the wafer. Achieving success for high-speed abrading
required many innovations for both the lapping machines and the abrasive media. New
prototype abrasive lapping machines and new abrasive discs with annular bands of
abrasive bead coated islands were developed by Keltech. Operated together, they verify
the huge increase in abrasive polishing speeds that multiple industries have desired for
many years. Both high rotational speed lapping machines with precision-flat surfaces and
precision-thick island type abrasive discs are required, and must be operated together to
perform high-speed polishing.
Only High-Speed Abrasive Polishing System In World
Machine builders were not motivated to make high speed machines because the island
discs did not exist. Abrasive media manufacturers were not motivated to make high speed
discs because the high-speed abrading machines did not exist. Keltech developed both the
high- speed abrading machines and the abrasive island discs required and created the only
operating prototype high speed abrasive polishing system in the world.
Verification of the great performance of this innovative system is done at our facility. Our prototype machines and unique large, equal-sized abrasive particle filled beads coated on island disks are used to abrade a wide variety of materials including sapphire. The sapphire material removal rates far exceed those of data supplied by large commercial sapphire LED wafer polishing operations.
Lapping & Polishing Markets
Sapphire windows in smartwatches and high-end traditional watches provide the ultimate material to resist scratches. Instead of spending many hours polishing the sapphire windows, Keltech technology accomplishes this in minutes. 50 million smartwatches are expected to be shipped this year. Sapphire displays are also used for screens in critical applications such as aerospace computer display devices.
Sapphire wafers are used to produce LED devices and millions of these wafers are produced each month. Sapphire wafers are used to produce silicon-on-sapphire (SOS) semiconductor devices. Also, millions of semiconductor silicon wafers are also produced and polished each month.
Very large numbers of industrial hard-material components such as aluminum oxide ceramic devices, tungsten carbide seals and other devices are lapped to provide precision-flat and smooth surfaces.
Cell Phone Abrading Market
Hard sapphire materials can be used in several applications for cell phones. Some high-end phones use sapphire for display screens and camera lenses. More would be used except for the high costs and long production times required to make them. There were 1.5 billion phones produced last year.
Market Size: Abrasive Lapping and Polishing
The market for abrasive lapping and polishing exceeds $2 billion annually. Components of the market are abrasive slurries, CMP pads, silicon wafer fixed abrasive webs, diamond lapping film, lapping & polishing machines, and contract services.
Use of this technology can and will be quickly implemented worldwide. The demand for it has existed for many years and the benefits over traditional methods are significant.
Competitors Will Struggle
Competitors who try to compete in this market will struggle to find success using alternative technologies. Even with public access to the patents, it will take considerable time, talent, and money to develop a functioning alternative system. The existing Keltech patents and trade secret technology will provide a formidable barrier to their success. Because the core technology has already been developed, the primary focus of Keltech is to continually develop new optimizations and improvements to the technology over time. This will make it even more difficult for competitors to keep up.