Custom Parts: Our Process
1. Inquiry and Order Processing
Whether you are an O.E.M. or a high energy physicist, at SST we realize that timing is critical. That is why we are committed to supporting our customers from the product concept through prototyping and final production stage. SST utilizes EP Crescendo® Business Software to support our customers individual needs.
2. Design and Specify
SST understands that the most critical phase in manufacturing any engineered product is the ability to define and specify the customer's requirements. Our "Solid Team" has the depth and knowledge to design a product that will be made right; whether it be the first prototype piece or the part that has been transitioned to volume production. SST uses Solidworks 3-D mechanical design software to insure optimum design fit-ups and to support higher level assembly engineering and design.
3. Material Procurement
Solid Sealing Technology sources materials and components from world class suppliers. Our documentation and specifications ensure that we receive incoming goods that will satisfy our critical requirements. The EP Crescendo® Business Software supports lot control and serialization where required.
4. Critical Cleaning
Our processes and our customers demand that all components be cleaned to the highest standards. To insure that we meet these requirements, SST has invested in a Crest Optimum Console aqueous cleaning system. This system has the automation and process controls to achieve cleanliness consistency from batch to batch. After much investigation at SST, we have standardized on a specialty aqueous cleaner followed by a cascade D.I. water rinse. This cleaning process has been used and approved by both Sandia National Labs and the Department of the Army. The same process can be used for precision cleaning of metals, ceramics, and glass and is suitable for UHV environments
5. Methods of Manufacture
SST specializes in the thickfilm metallization of alumina ceramics. The most common method used is the refractory metal process, which utilizes molybdenum as a sintered metal base layer on the ceramic. The wide selection of molybdenum based coatings along with the stringent furnace operating parameters insures good bond strength and reliability with a wide range of alumina body compositions. SST can provide an electroless nickel plate (boron type) over the molybdenum metalizing, as well as other thick film coatings as may be required by our customers.
SST has a variety of furnaces which allow high temperature brazing in hydrogen, nitrogen, vacuum, and partial pressure atmospheres. Brazing filler metals are optimized to the base metals (or ceramic) to be brazed and include precious metal, copper, and high nickel alloys with melting ranges from 705°C to 1300°C. This broad temperature capability allows the flexibility of "step brazing" when a complex assembly has multiple braze joints.
Active Metal Brazing
The active metal brazing process is a "one-step" brazing process used to join ceramics to metal. The term "active metal" typically refers to a small percentage of titanium or zirconium added to the braze filler metal or directly applied to the ceramic. When processed in a vacuum furnace the "active" constituent will form a reaction layer on the ceramic which is readily wetted by the filler metal. The active braze process can provide a strong leak tight joint and is ideally suited for sealing to sapphire, larger ceramic to metal assemblies, and non-oxide ceramics.
Glass-ceramic sealing refers to a special type of glass-to-metal sealing whereby the amorphous glass material is "crystallized" through a subsequent heat treatment. The resulting material is primarily crystalline in nature and takes on similar properties to ceramic. SST utilizes high temperature glass-ceramic materials that have characteristics suitable for high vacuum, high pressure, high thermal expansion, and temperature capability from cryogenic to 400°C bake out. The glass-ceramic sealing system is ideal for sealing to high expansion metals such as 304/316 stainless steel. The glass-ceramic process capability provides SST with a competitive advantage when designing and producing coaxial connectors and high density feedthroughs. Most parts can be provided directly sealed into a flange mount or for a TIG weld installation.
TIG Welding, Spot Welding, Machining, & Mechanical Assembly
SST has all the capabilities required to provide higher level assembly products including: precision TIG welding with the latest pulsed, inverter controls; spot welding for attaching contacts, tabs, and thermocouple connections; an in-house machine shop that can provide prototype components and machined assemblies; and other mechanical assembly techniques for specialty connectors, cables, and small chambers.
6. Special Test
SST has the tools to verify product performance and reliability. All products are 100% leak tested and inspected before they are shipped to our customers. The leak test is performed with a "dry" helium mass spectrometer and parts are guaranteed to have a leak rate of less than 1x10-10atm.cc/sec. Other equipment and tests include:
- Fischer Model XDVM X-Ray fluorescence thickness tester for verification of metalizing and plating thickness.
- Megohm resistance tester (50-1000 V) for pin-pin, pin-ground tests.
- DC HiPot tester to 75,000 volts.
- Thermal cycle and other special requirements can be performed to customer's specifications.
7. Package and Ship
SST can provide specialty cleaning, packaging, and labeling per our customer's requirements.
8. Forecast and Stocking Plans
Our Solid Sealing Team works with our customers every step of the way; from first article manufacture and test to full high volume production. We have the experience and sophistication to match our production schedule to our customers sourcing requirements. In cases where there is high fluctuation in demand, SST can provide buffer stock to insure a continuous flow of product.