Mark Devaney writes about the seemingly all-purpose technology and innovative products of Leybold Vacuum Components.
Ever wonder how NASA creates chambers that simulate the gravity-free atmosphere of deep space? What keeps air out of light bulbs during production so they can function properly? How is moisture removed from brake lines so automobile braking systems don’t freeze in winter? What technology best preserves coffee, meats and countless other foods so packages of them can be shipped and stored for weeks at a time?
Believe it or not, there is one answer to all these riddles: vacuum technology. And there’s one company in the world that owns the reputation of providing the best vacuum pumps and service – Leybold Vacuum Components. Leybold is a global provider of vacuum components for markets as technologically diverse as semi-conductors, analytical and medical instrumentation, chemistry and industrial applications and research. What sets Leybold apart is its ability to meet the demands of customers within these and other varied industries, requiring essentially one thing – absolute cleanliness during manufacturing.
Vacuum technology makes the production of life’s necessities more precise, more economical and, above all, more environmentally safe. The list of obscure products benefiting from vacuum technology includes titanium coating on watches, anti-reflexive coating on eyeglasses, high-capacity hard disks in computers, high-quality videotapes, high-strength turbine blades in aircraft and flat panel displays in small and lightweight notebooks. These are just some items that have been greatly improved through Leybold’s vacuum pumps.
Without doubt, the largest and fastest-growing market for vacuum technology in the United States is semiconductors, the minuscule, wafer-like chips of silicon at the nucleus of the computer industry’s explosion. Leybold vacuum pumps, such as transpector gas analysis systems, ion transmitters, DRYVAC dry-sealed vacuum pumps and TURBOVAC turbomolecular pumps, offer customizable solutions to the ever-expanding and ever-evolving semi-conductor market. Leybold pumps also provide a more ecologically acceptable method of industrial cleaning simply because, unlike liquid or chemical cleansers, they leave no residue for disposal.
Because the semiconductor market offers limitless opportunities for vacuum technology companies, Leybold will be there to serve that expanding marketplace with state-of-the-art products and dependable service. The technology built into semiconductors is becoming more and more complex. The challenge for Leybold is to change to meet the shifting demand.All Leybold Vacuum pumps for the semiconductor market are customizable and subject to constant process monitoring to ensure against the obsolescence of any and all systems.
The Right Chemistry
The analytical/medical instrumentation and chemistry markets also utilize Leybold vacuum components. Vacuum technology is used for the large families of surface-analyzing instruments and mass spectrometers, including electron microscopes of varying designs and helium-leaking detectors. Leybold products such as CONE.LINE hybrid turbomolecular pumps, TRIVAC-E rotary vane pumps and cryostats can be optimized for specific applications in the analytical and medical instrumentation industry.
Because vacuum technology often makes it possible to replace processes harmful to the environment with others that protect it, Leybold’s vacuum gauges and leak detectors have become integral to many chemical applications. Leybold representatives keep a constant vigil with customers, ensuring that vacuum components do not degrade from constant exposure to the aggressive chemicals and solvents frequently used in chemistry applications.
In fact, such supervision has become a program within the company. The Leybold Integrated Monitoring System (LIMS) uses sensors installed in vacuum pump systems to provide real-time pictures of how efficiently the equipment is operating. The system features audio and visual alarms that alert users to potential problems, which saves down time and lost production costs. Leybold continually re-evaluates customers’ needs and expands its service center network to meet tour-equipment demands in an efficient and timely manner. Leybold will fix or replace pumps in 10 days or less, with a target of five days or less.
Leybold will turn 150 years old next year, yet shows no signs of aging. Five years ago, The Balzers Group in Germany merged with Leybold to create one of the world’s largest corporations in the vacuum and surface technology business, a multibillion dollar industry. The heaviest demand for vacuum components is in North America, as well as in Asia and Europe. The largest single market is the United States, which accounts for 40 percent of the world market. The 300-person U.S. division of Leybold based in a 160,000-square-foot facility in Export, Pa., maintains effective communications with European headquarters in Cologne, Germany. Leybold employs more than 2,000 people worldwide.
Leybold has more than 20 sales and service locations in the United States, Japan, Seoul and Hong Kong, as well as throughout Western Europe, to accommodate the demand for vacuum products in these regions.