Programmable Turntable Indexer

Controls turntable position and rotation

Touch screen control panel of a digital position indexer-controller.

Having recently designed a replacement their no-longer-available sweep controller, Island e-Beam turned to us for another. Island e-Beam manufactures and sells vacuum deposition systems. The material to be deposited is held in a crucible and vaporized by a high energy electron beam.

They now faced the obsolescence of another controller – one which controls the positioning of a turntable. Some coating applications require the deposition of two or more materials. A turntable, located inside the deposition chamber, holds crucibles containing the materials. The controller, a Programmable Crucible Turntable Indexer, rotates the turntable to each material in turn when called for.

Working with Island e-Beam we studied the application, learned the features of the obsolete controller, discussed possible new features and changes and set the specifications for the new product. The original controller was an old, simple design using pushbuttons and switches with only LEDs for indication. We decided on an updated touch screen control.

More was needed than just stepping to fixed locations. Different applications require anywhere from two to eight crucibles which may or may not be equally spaced. Some uses may include elongated banana-shaped crucibles which require the turntable to rotate back and forth during deposition. The user needs to be able to program each individual crucible location and type then control operation either from the touch screen or remotely via inputs to a back-panel connector.

The result – the Island e-Beam CI-1400 Programmable Indexer. Using a gen-4TM smart touch screen controller from 4D Systems we were able to program the entire operation in the touch screen – no microprocessor needed. Simple interface circuitry interfaces the controller to the stepper motor which runs the turntable. Another company now manufactures the CI-1400 for Island e-Beam. Click the button below for more information.