E-Beam Sweeper Control

Touch Screen Control for Electron Beam Sweeper

Our client faced the obsolescence of a sweep controller vital to his business. We created a new, updated microprocessor design using digital touch screen control.

Island e-Beam, Bradenton, FL manufactures and sells vacuum deposition equipment. The material to be deposited is vaporized in a vacuum chamber by bombarding it with a high-energy electron beam. A microprocessor-design controller sweeps the beam over and around the target using electromagnetic coils, one each for the X and Y positions.

Island e-Beam’s expertise is vacuum deposition. Ours is electronic design. Upon receiving notice that the controller they used would be obsoleted, they turned to us. They educated us on the requirements and on the features of the no-longer-available controller. Working in partnership with them and a local electronics manufacturing company, we created a solution.

Different applications require different sweep patterns. The new controller offers four: a line, a spiral, a figure 8 and a simple dot. For each, the sweep amplitude (diameter), speed, rotation and X-Y offset must be variable. Settings are made from a touch screen control panel: up to seven different pattern combinations can be stored. Using a Microchip PICTM microcontroller, our microprocessor design supplies and varies the X – Y coil current patterns. Current sense feedback maintains constant drive regardless of factors such as temperature-caused coil resistance increase.

Because the coils can get hot they usually are water-cooled. A safety interlock halts operation if the coolant system fails. A gen4TM smart touch screen control from 4D Systems provides the user interface.

The manufacturing company now builds the IEB1344A Programmable Sweep Controller for Island e-Beam. If you’d like more detail, click below for our white paper.