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New Way Air Bearings Raises Bar

New Way Air Bearings Raises Bar for Non-Contact FPD Glass-Handling

from the Display Week 2006 Show Daily

At SID 2005, New Way Air Bearings launched three modular air bearing products designed to meet the non-contact glass-handling requirements of the FPD manufacturing process. At this year’s SID Show, New Way is again raising the bar for FPD glass-handling with the introduction of its Clean-Dry-Coat concept. This concept eliminated the need for separate cleaning, drying and coating stations, replacing them with a single, three-in-one station handling the three processes sequentially, and all within a single meter.
“True ‘in-line’ processing is now possible for cleaning, drying and coating,” says Drew Devitt, Chief Technology Officer of New Way. “Not only will this concept eliminate the need for separate machines — each now occupying many square meters of clean-room space–but it will improve the quality of all three processes.’

The concept works thusly; In the cleaning section, a cleaning solution is used as a hydrostatic bearing medium to guide the glass though a series of lands and grooves without contact. This cleaning solution is forced at high pressure though a narrow gap between the glass and lands, cleaning both sides of the glass at once, with very little volume.

The glass is then introduced to the drying section, where grooves and lands are again used–but this time, air is used to float the glass above and below. This air is driven though the small gap between the glass and lands at high pressure, drying the glass on both sides before water marks can appear.

“The cleaning and the drying sequences take place in contained environments,” notes Devitt. “This is another significant benefit inside a cleanroom.”

The dry, conditioned glass is then introduced to the slit coating head. There, a temperature-controlled coating chuck holds the glass from the top side using vacuum-preloaded air bearing technology, enabling the glass to be introduced to the slit coater with micron precision.

The new concept improves yield and throughput while lowering cost — all in less than a meter. Attendees can see a fully-functioning proof-of-concept demonstration unit in New Way’s Booth (1440) at SID 2006 in San Francisco.

“Every time your glass touches down, your yield goes down, too,” says Tim Claffey, Vice President of Sales for New Way. “Whether you’re using wheels, rollers, air bars or orifice-based air bearings, frequent contact during glass handling is destroying productivity across the industry.”

New Way’s Porous Media technology simply won’t allow your glass to ‘ground.’ Air pressure issues from millions of sub-micron sized holes across the bearing surface, virtually eliminating contact even for Gen 9 or Gen 10 glass (or even higher Generations).

Further, vacuum pre-load helps to control the glass, holding it precisely for AOI, direct-write lithography, probing, repair and any number of other applications. It is also ideal for non-contact conveyance between processes, even at high speeds (2m/sec). This level of control gives you significant throughput improvement while also enabling you to move offline inspection online, preventing serial defects and even more yield degradation.

The New Way product line includes the High Speed and low Flow Conveyor Air Bearing models — for improved non-contact control at high manufacturing speeds, or optimized for low airflow requirements, respectively — and the Porous Media Precision Chuck, for non-contact control of precision processing applications.

For more information, call 610.494.6700 or visit www.newwayairbearings.com.

Thursday, June 8, 2006

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