the systems view blog

Applying our perspective to industry topics and trends

August 29, 2016

A Day in the Life of the Equipment Expert: More Diverse Than You May Expect

Our days revolve around perfecting our craft, just like the customers we support. For our semiconductor clients, that may mean working to make the ‘nano’ in nanotechnology even smaller. For PV and solar, it may involve perfecting electrochemical processes. For manufacturers, it’s likely related to ensuring repeatable processes for consistent, quality output. For our team here at AES, it means engineering gas delivery systems that enable our diverse customers to meet their specialized process (and ultimately, business) demands.

You may think that the day-to-day work of the Equipment Expert is narrowly focused, but that is only partly true. While we specialize exclusively in gas delivery system design, manufacturing, and related services, the markets and products we support within this niche are quite varied. In fact, much of our equipment is specialty-designed to support a specific industry requirement, business model, or innovation—keeping us continually on our toes and eager to align our engineering to our customers’ latest needs.

Addressing the Gamut of Gas Delivery Requirements

In partnering with customers across a diverse range of industries, we have seen numerous types of gas delivery challenges. The process environment of a semiconductor fab is far different from that of a university research lab, but each offers its own unique complexities and equipment needs. These two types of customers may be using the exact same gases, but in very different ways. Our job is to immerse ourselves in their specific requirements, and deliver products that enable their gases to perform to those specific demands. We must stay abreast of the latest regulatory changes across our focus industries, and keep ahead of process innovations that could impact our own system configurations.

In addition to addressing the industry differences for how each system must function, we must also account for the diversity in how they can be used. Some of our customers will only interact with their gas delivery solution a few times a year, in which case a safe but cost-effective solution from our VERSA-GAS™ line might be the best choice. For others, gas delivery equipment is a mission-critical component of their everyday processes. These types of customers more likely require the premier, production-ready capabilities found in our SEMI-GAS® line of ultra high purity systems. By fully assessing these various factors, we are able to make effective recommendations for the best-fit equipment option within our portfolio (and add customization as needed).

Creating the Products to Support Varied Needs

If you look around our production facilities – which include a state-of-the-art Equipment Technology Center, Assembly and Test Area, and a Semiconductor Equipment and Manufacturing Technology (SEMAT) Center – you’ll notice quickly that the type of gas delivery products we’re working on is as equally varied as our customer base. From source, distribution, and delivery to blending and purification of molecules in both gas and liquid form, lab-scale to bulk volumes, standard features to customized options, we engineer a range of equipment with the capabilities and sizing to fit almost any environment and process need.

Because of this, our team must possess a breadth of expertise in the diverse gas delivery and handling systems that our customers’ processes demand. This variety of experience is valuable because it allows us to apply unique engineering insights to new challenges that our clients bring to the table. Relevant product features and lessons learned from developing one type of system can be leveraged to create an equipment solution for a different purpose that includes best-of-breed components and / or capabilities.

As you can see, a ‘day in the life’ of the AES team may be focused around equipment, but requires diverse knowledge of the factors that impact gas delivery on many different levels. Luckily, we thrive on variety!


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