USA: GT Advanced Technologies announced an exclusive distribution agreement with Intego GmbH allowing GT to market and sell Intego’s automated sapphire inspection tools including the Intego SIRIUS slab and brick inspection tool and a sapphire cover inspection tool currently in development.
The new inspection tools are expected to increase the amount of yielded material from sapphire boules and improve the throughput of material during the inspection process thereby lowering the cost for growing and fabricating sapphire for a variety of applications.
In addition, the inspection tools allow full material tracking by linking inspection data with slab and brick layout to downstream computer numerical control (CNC) machine tools. The tools are expected to benefit today’s LED manufacturing industry and also help enable high volume, cost-sensitive applications such as cover screen material for mobile and touch screen devices. Terms of the agreement have not been released.
“Intego is a recognized leader in vision systems and material inspection in a number of industries and we are pleased to be working with them to bring automated sapphire inspection tools to market,” said Tom Gutierrez, GT’s president and CEO.
“The agreement gives us the ability to offer the LED and mobile device industries important products that will lower cost and increase productivity in their sapphire supply chains. Automating the sapphire material inspection process will deliver more repeatable and consistent results that drive greater throughput. This will help to lower the cost of sapphire for high volume applications such as cover material for mobile and touch screen devices.”
The SIRIUS sapphire inspection tool was developed by Intego in collaboration with GT’s engineering team utilizing the capabilities of GT’s sapphire R&D facility in Salem, Massachusetts. Using advanced sapphire inspection techniques and optimization algorithms, the SIRIUS tool can quickly provide an optimized core or material layout on a sapphire slab and transfer that pattern to the CNC machine tool.
The sapphire screen inspection tool, when fully developed, is expected to perform 2D and 3D inspection of sapphire screens and windows to help characterize and track each piece through all downstream production steps. GT will fully support the tools in the field through its global service and support resources.
Intego GmbH, located in Erlangen, Germany, develops inspection systems for automated production lines used in a number of industries including solar, LED, automotive, plastics and medical technologies.