Whether a one-off design for a research system or high volume manufacturing for equipment manufacturers, Nor-Cal is considered the world’s premier manufacturer of stainless steel vacuum chambers.
Pressure Control Valves
In addition to a broad line of vacuum isolation valves, Nor-Cal provides the highest performing downstream pressure control valves and controllers available today. Throttling pendulum, butterfly or gate valves regulate the pressure between the vacuum pump and the chamber.
Nor-Cal's engineering department employs the latest versions of SolidWorkstm drafting and solid modeling software. Drawings may be e-mailed direct to their engineering department at firstname.lastname@example.org. Acceptable file formats are IGES, SAT and STEP. You may also request CAD drawings and download 3D models of their most commonly used standard components from their website.
Materials and machining procedures are consistent with good vacuum practices. All Nor-Cal components are designed to minimize entrapments, which cause virtual leaks under vacuum. State-of-the-art CNC machining equipment is available to produce parts with consistently high quality.
For products that require welding, GTAW fusion welding is used exclusively for a vacuum-tight metal bond. Purging with an inert gas reduces or eliminates oxygen entrainment and carbide precipitation, which cause out gassing. Whenever possible, welds are made on the inside or are full penetration to eliminate entrapments and virtual leaks.
Nor-Cal offers in-house chem cleaning and electropolishing. Chem cleaning is typically used for production parts such as valve bodies or "process critical" parts fabricated for semiconductor equipment manufacturers. The component is immersed in a series of controlled chemical baths before deionized water rinse and filtered hot air dry. Chem cleaned parts are immediately packaged in sealed clean room bags.
Every weld is leak checked with a helium mass spectrometer to insure a leak rate of 10-9 std.cc/sec or less. Their chamber qualification test benches can be used on components requiring lower leak rates. Whatever the sensitivity of their customer’s application, Nor-Cal can certify that vacuum integrity and contaminants are within acceptable limits.
A coordinate measuring machine (CMM) is used for in-process and final mechanical inspections of vacuum chambers and other complex or close tolerance parts. CMM printouts of chamber final inspections can be furnished upon request.
After extensive audits, Nor-Cal Products, Inc. received Semitech SSQA Preferred Supplier status from two large semiconductor equipment manufacturers and became ISO-9000 certified in 2006.
An ongoing effort is made to control and improve manufacturing processes. Periodic defect analysis results in process improvements with narrower acceptable limits on subsequent production runs. Nor-Cal's goal is to reach six-sigma process capability. Their quality system is ISO certified, SSQA certified and MIL-Q-9858 and MIL-I-45208 approved.