Reel-to-Reel

Continuous Substrate Transport Systems for Volume Production

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CVD Equipment Corporations has developed substrate handling systems for many continuous substrate applications such as, web (both metal and polymer), tape, toe/fiber coating substrate material. This capability has enabled our customers to achieve process performance, reliability and excellent cost of ownership. Our substrate transport and handling systems are suited for use in the aerospace, nanomaterial, superconducting tape, ALD encapsulation and general industrial and microelectronic markets where precision control of alignment and tension at high travel speeds is required.

In general, the transport systems are referred to “Reel to Reel”, but the technology is much more sophisticated than the term suggests. CVD Equipment Corporation has spent a decade in perfecting the engineering technology and design of the equipment.

Consideration has been made in the following areas:

  • Wind and Unwind tension control, which is critical for substrate integrity, coating integrity and for coating or process performance and repeatability.
  • Wind and Unwind substrate alignment to ensure proper positioning and elimination of fraying and wear on the edges and backside of the substrate.
  • Precision speed control required for process performance and thermal considerations.
  • Computer control of multi axis wind and unwind reels, transport speed, tension, substrate positioning and process conditions provides: continuous monitoring and storage of all parameters for tracking for quality control and tractability.

Integrated CVD Process Equipment

CVD Reel-to-Reel

*CVD systems have set world records for superconductivity (>300,330 amp-meter performance in 1,065 meter length of 2G HTS wire)
Source: SuperPower, Inc. www.superpower-inc.com/content/history/

CVD Equipment Corporation’s reel-to-reel (roll-to-roll) chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process tools deposit materials on a continuous roll of metal foils, plastic sheets, fibers, and other materials in place of individual substrates. The technology has been used for superconductor tape production*, nanomaterial synthesis, aerospace materials, and ALD coatings. Reel-to-reel processing offers high production volumes at a low cost. In-line reel-to-reel processing is often preferred over batch processing for applications where multiple in-line processing steps are required.

We have developed reel-to-reel systems for many applications. Custom systems can be engineered to accommodate various substrate widths and lengths.

Our deposition and infiltration systems for the development and production of CMCs deposit a wide range of materials, including nitrides, carbides, carbon nanostructures. One example is a continuous production process for chemical vapor infiltration of silicon doped boron nitride onto individual filaments of multiple parallel processed silicon carbide fiber tows. The Si doped BN is used as an interphase to control the fiber-matrix bonding and transfer load between the fiber and the matrix in such a way that prevents brittle fracturing of the CMCs. More technical information about interphase fiber coatings can be found here:

More information about interphase fiber coatings can be found here: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20050179368.pdf

Dual chamber III-V MOCVD system with batch and reel-to-reel processing capabilities

System Features & Options

As a part of our product line, CVD Equipment Corporation supplies continuous reel to reel (web, fiber, tape) coating systems that are used in the process development and production of various applications. Our proprietary technology includes:

  • Atmospheric or low pressure roll to roll and fixed substrate processing systems
  • Process temperatures >1400 °C
  • De-spool and spool modules with drive motors that are isolated from the process environment
  • Intelligent Unwind and Wind – optical sensing and automatic linear actuated positioning for aligning the payout from the bobbins to minimize rubbing / abrasion during payout and spooling.
  • Low tension closed loop control – automatic feedback control of tension down to 10 grams
  • Parallel processing of multiple spools
  • Multiple process chambers operating in parallel or in sequence to increase production throughput
  • Full system integration, including fiber handling, deposition chambers, vacuum systems, process gas delivery systems, exhaust gas conditioning systems, and safety & controls systems
  • Real time data logging and graphing
  • Productivity support with tailored service contracts

The images shown are examples of many CVD systems we design and manufacture in-house for innovators working on next generation process and material development. We have customers worldwide at universities, governmental labs, start-ups, and fortune 500 companies.