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Starter Sources Improve Yield and Reduce Downtime

By replacing traditional electron beam evaporation slugs with custom-designed starter sources, Materion offers customers the advantage of a lower cost of ownership by increasing yields and minimizing downtime.  Starter charges are bulk evaporation sources specially machined to fit into the hearths of electron beam systems.  They can be used for the manufacture of products in a wide variety of industries including wireless devices, LEDs, medical devices, optical coatings, functional coatings, etc.  To support an increasing demand, Materion manufactures thousands of starter sources per year in a broad range of designs.

Creating Customized Starter Source Designs

To customize appropriate starter sources, Materion engineers work closely with customers to produce designs to specific requirements. Currently, they have compiled more than 80 starter charge designs. To create new designs in a rapid development environment, a number of factors must be considered to maximize charge utilization, and minimize both spitting and power consumption during deposition.  Starter charges are available in a wide variety of materials including elemental charges of nickel, gold, titanium, platinum, aluminum, chromium, and copper, as well as over 24 unique alloy compositions. 

Yield Improvements from Starter Sources

As acknowledged by customers, there are compelling reasons to switch from evaporation slugs to Materion starter sources.  One factor is they improve yields that in turn lower costs. For example: nickel (Ni) starter sources decreased yield loss from 2% to 0.5% when replacing Ni slugs.  This greater yield results from significantly lower spitting rates during the deposition process.

Increased Throughput and Cost Savings

Another benefit of starter sources over slugs is that they enable quicker machine uptime by eliminating the need to carry out a dedicated charge consolidation run. Starter sources simply require a fast surface burn-in and are ready to use. For additional cost savings, Materion starter source designs can also eliminate the need for crucible liners.

Stable Process for Uniform Evaporation

Using a starter source provides customers with a more stable process resulting in uniform evaporation.  With starter source designs, the inconsistent topography of slugs is eliminated. This provides a more uniform surface for the beam to sweep. This translates into a more consistent use of power that requires less adjustment to reach optimal coating rates.

Transition to Starter Materials

For traditional users of evaporation slugs who may be considering a switch to starter sources, Materion can answer questions to support that transition. As a leading supplier of innovative evaporation materials from slugs, pellets, disks, random pieces and crucible liners, Materion is in a unique position to produce customized starter sources. 

For more information on starter sources, contact John Kuphal at john.kuphal@Materion.com