Innovation through collaboration: How X-ray technology is transforming plasma control manufacturing

September 21, 2023

Quality is at the heart of our high-end product manufacturing. But how can you ensure zero defects in the production of vacuum capacitors, when optical inspection is no longer enough? For the Comet PCT team, focused on the manufacturing of sub-systems for plasma control in the semiconductor industry, the answer was not far away: Our own X-ray inspection solutions were at hand. Thanks to a dynamic cross-divisional partnership with Comet Yxlon and Comet X-ray, the team elevated our standards of production and teamwork. A success story we share with you.

The challenge: seeing beyond the surface

Previously, inspecting products for quality, determining possible reasons for defects and gaining insights for innovation posed a challenge for the research and development (R&D) technicians at Comet Plasma Control Technologies (PCT). From vacuum capacitors to generator components, every detail matters. Opting for optical inspection was like trying to read a book with half the pages missing. It provided a limited view of parts, leaving room for hidden issues to go unnoticed. Moreover, disassembling a vacuum capacitor for inspection rendered it non-functional. Using external inspection labs was useful, but not very efficient.

The solution

True to our values of trustful collaboration, the R&D team from Comet PCT reached out to their Comet Yxlon colleagues in Hamburg, Germany. Together, they started planning a solution that would not only enhance plasma control products, but also serve as an opportunity for Comet Yxlon in Switzerland.

In March, the team delivered a Comet Yxlon FF35 CT (computed tomography) system, equipped with two FXE X-ray tubes from Comet X-ray, to Flamatt, Switzerland. It’s placed in a laboratory-like environment separated from the daily production business, allowing uninterrupted deep work. It also enables partners and visitors to experience X-ray inspection first-hand.

«Our colleagues from Hamburg provided us with both baseline and expert level training and enabled our users to perform diagnostics at the highest level within a very short period of time. Through close cooperation and open communication we were able to achieve an outstanding result.»

Stefan Gubler, Project Manager R&D at Comet PCT

The power of collaborative innovation

Collaboration between the X-ray and plasma control experts didn't end with the installation of the equipment: Technicians from Hamburg played a pivotal role, not only in setting up the X-ray system but also in providing comprehensive training to the team in Flamatt. They had the foresight to consider various potential applications, ensuring that the system can adapt to evolving needs.

Unlocking quality and efficiency

The CT system delivers exceptional value to PCT's R&D team. The high-resolution and 3D functionality allow them to gain in-depth insights at the micro- and nanoscale, greatly expediting their workflows. During the production process of vacuum capacitors, where minor deviations could impact product quality, X-ray analysis is a game-changer. Many issues that remain invisible through optical inspection are now clear as day.

Moreover, the system helps reduce waste significantly. By detecting faults early in the production process, resources such as outer casings are conserved, contributing to sustainability goals.

«As a user, it's a great enrichment for me to be able to work with such a modern analytical instrument. It opens up new possibilities and perspectives in the analysis of materials and products.»

Lukas Gyseler, Physics Lab Technician at Comet PCT

Encouraging creativity and innovation continuously

When exploring new ideas while innovating new solutions, testing is an important step to get closer to the final solution. When our R&D technicians inspect a newly developed part with the FF35 CT, they are better able to validate the functionality. It not only helps develop better vacuum capacitors, but also has immense value for Synertia®, our RF Power Delivery Platform.

This collaborative success story highlights the power of teamwork and innovative thinking within Comet. By coming together and exploring new technological avenues, our teams have not only improved their products but also opened doors to entirely new possibilities. It's a testament to the fact that curiosity, coupled with collaboration, can lead to groundbreaking innovations that reshape the future of technology.

For the last 75 years, we have followed our curiosity. It is what drives us and has made Comet a trailblazing global Swiss technology company. Curiosity and a spirit of research have allowed us to become and stay innovative. For a better and sustainable world.

Join us with your curiosity.

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