AES Semigas


26 May 2023

Hardinge demonstrating BoulePro-200AX for forming wafer-ready silicon carbide puck

Hardinge Inc of Elmira, NY, USA (which designs, manufactures and distributes high-precision, computer-controlled machine tools) says that its BoulePro-200AX, with its Single-Step Dual-plane Compensation (SSDC) capability, has streamlined the silicon carbide (SiC) fabrication process of shaping an as-grown boule to wafer-ready puck.

Hardinge says that the BoulePro, launched in December 2022, has generated interest from nearly all global SiC producers due to improving an existing fabrication process that can take over 24 hours (from boule to puck) down to just 2–3 hours using an automated single-setup solution. The firm has estimated a nearly 70% total cost reduction when taking labor, manufacturing footprint, scrap, capacity efficiency, and consumables into account.

This year, customers worldwide have been visiting Hardinge’s facility Elgin, Illinois, to see the BoulePro in action. “Our Elgin facility is home to Hardinge’s Usach brand of specialized application grinding machines” says Hardinge Elgin site director David Yan. “Our team of engineers and application specialists were able to quickly get a prototype BoulePro up and running to demonstrate the machine’s capability and show how the production process will function on the final machine design expected to ship later this year,” he adds.

“Customers were eager to see the BoulePro in action — even in its prototype form — given the market’s rapid expansion,” says Jeff Gum, Advanced Material Specialist at Hardinge. “Given the markedly different crystal geometries from supplier to supplier, the Hardinge team was challenged with seeing boules for the first time in person and needing to demonstrate how the BoulePro can perform a production process. Our customers were excited to see how our engineering and application experts were able to adjust to their demands and how flexible the BoulePro can be.”

Due to its built-in x-ray diffraction (XRD) machine, the BoulePro-200AX has precise accuracy. “Because of how tightly various parameters are controlled, our machine produces the angular correction on crystal orientation up to 100 times more accurately than the manual process currently used today,” claims Gum. This can enable SiC producers to meet and exceed their customer’s expectations and requirements as specifications evolve.

Hardinge has expansion plans underway to deal with increased volumes. Demonstrations will be ongoing in 2023, with customer machines hitting the floor before year-end. Hardinge aims to utilize its global footprint to meet customer demand and after-market needs to ensure BoulePro supply and support services match customer requirements.

Hardinge is exhibiting at the SEMICON West 2023 show in San Francisco, CA (11–13 July) and plans to attend the International Conference of Silicon Carbide Related Materials (ISCRM 2023) in Sorrento, Italy (17-22 September).

Tags: SiC





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