The glass surfaces you come across today have evolved greatly from the first glass which was invented around 2500 BC. All contemporary glass is coated with a thin film which affects the amount of light and solar heat transmitted. This thin film-coated glass improves the comfort of the buildings and vehicles it’s used in and can even increase the efficiency of ventilation and air conditioning systems.
Glass coating can also affect the color and reflection of a glass surface, influencing the way it looks. Facades of skyscrapers in modern cities use vacuum-coated glazing to ensure thermal insulation and the righ color for an aesthetic appearance.
Vacuum sputtering in glass production
Vacuum sputtering by PVD (physical vapor deposition) is the most common process for producing coated glass. This process requires the material to be placed in a vacuum chamber and then proceed to a process called “sputtering”, where metals, metal oxides and nitride layers are deposited onto the glass using process gases like argon, nitrogen and oxygen. This vacuum sputtering process deposits a coating onto the glass, consisting of several layers that vary in composition and thickness. PVD machines that typically operate 24/7 are part of the vacuum systems responsible for this process. As such, PVD equipment manufacturers look for durable, robust vacuum pumps that can support continuous production.
Leybold offers all products required for vacuum sputtering applications, including
Backing pumps (i.e., “fore” vacuums): These are quick and durable roughing pumps used to evacuate load lock chambers to enable the loading of glass panes into the process chamber in extremely short cycles. Typically, we see two to three pumping cycles per minute, which bring the pressure from 1000 to 1 mbar. We offer a wide range of roughing vacuum pumps, including SCREWLINE, POWER BOOST, DRYVAC, SOGEVAC and RUVAC pumps.
High vacuum pumps: In the process chamber, the vacuum systems need to pump down quickly to 5x10-6 mbar and operate continuously in a pressure range of 10-2 to 10-3 mbar with gas loads of argon, nitrogen and oxygen.
For high vacuum pumping in process chambers needing to be completely free of oil and dust, we recommend the TURBOVAC i, TURBOVAC MAG and COOLVAC pump ranges. For more straight-forward process conditions, we offer diffusion pumps (DIJ and DIP). It’s important to keep in mind that whichever high vacuum system you choose, it must be able to work continuously for long periods of time with high loads of inert and process gas mixtures.
Maintenance and spare parts: Our vacuum pumps guarantee the best quality components, but to keep them running consistently, we recommend a regular maintenance program. Our Leybold technicians can help support your processes by recommending the most appropriate maintenance schedule and advising on spare parts and consumables.
Process control: Our full range of vacuum gauges ensure that you always have total control over your vacuum system. There’s a gauge for every pressure range, and we’re happy to advise you on the best choice for your operation.
Total system integration: All Leybold pumps are designed to fit together perfectly. Should you require advanced process control, we can build PLC solutions, and we offer a range of electronic controllers.