Torr Scientific relocated to a modern 410 m2 factory in Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex in August 2009. A 270 m2 first floor extension was completed in October 2011 increasing floor space at the Sussex manufacturing site to 690 m2. A second adjoining factory and cleanroom was built in 2015 expanding floor space to over 1200m2.
In response to demand from customers requiring contamination free products for UHV applications, the company invested in a new 110 m2 cleanroom to provide a laboratory manufacturing facility in which thin-film coatings and hermetic seals are processed, and UHV and Optical instrumentation is assembled, inspected and packed.
TSL took delivery of a new vacuum furnace in August 2010. The furnace, supplied by Specnow Ltd., has a hot zone four times larger than previous furnaces at TSL. The system incorporates Specnow’s latest Microlink control system with data management and logging. The extra capacity will meet growing demand for TSL fused silica and sapphire UHV viewports and allow further development of ceramic to metal seals.
A new turntable and TIG welding equipment has been set up at Torr Scientific. All viewports are now welded within the company allowing full quality control over the complete viewport manufacturing process. Weld rings in kovar, stainless steel and non-magnetic tantalum are welded in to 304L and 316LN flanges.
All brazed and welded components are leak tested using TSL’s Inficon mass spectrometer helium leak tester.
Cleaning and assembly of UHV instrumentation takes place in laminar flow cabinets in cleanroom conditions.
The e-beam vacuum coating system is used predominantly to process anti-reflective coatings. TSL upgraded the electronic control units on the e-beam system in 2009 in partnership with Ferrotec, specialists in electron beam evaporator equipment. The upgrade has improved efficiency and reliability of the anti-reflecting coating process. Viewports are coated to customer specified wavelengths of application.
Torr Scientific invested in a new Perkin Elmer UV/Vis/IR Spectrophotometer in January 2011. The spectrophotometer extends the range at which the company is able to measure both reflectance and transmission to between 190nm and 3.2microns. The instrument will be used as an inspection tool for incoming optics and for manufactured UHV viewports with anti-reflective coatings optimised for particular customer applications. The spectrophotometer brings greater quality control to the business and will extend TSL’s coating capability.
Torr Scientific’s optical inspection capability includes a recently acquired Zygo interferometer surface profiler. The profiler enables highly accurate non-destructive examination of surfaces to check thicknesses and uniformity of X-ray anode coatings and optical flatness and seal structure of vacuum optics manufactured at the company. The interferometer brings a greater level of quality control and alongside the existing UV-Vis-IR spectrophotometer strengthens the company’s optical and coating test facilities.
Torr Scientific has extended its vacuum window processing capabilities to include production of glass to metal seals.
The facility will also allow further development of the wide range of vacuum optical components offered by the company. OEM and non-standard enquiries are also welcome. A new induction heater has been added to the glass shop and will enable the company to develop its range of glass vacuum windows, feedthroughs and OEM requirements for encapsulation of X-ray and photonic components. The induction heater adds to the current vacuum brazing techniques applied for production of the vacuum optic range of products.
The Torr Scientific precision machine shop houses both a newly acquired CNC-controlled MDM-100 mill and MDL-1800 lathe, from Mach Machine Tools. In addition to welding, helium leak testing, cleaning and inspection facilities, the facility manufactures components and small UHV chambers to custom design.
CAD Engineering drawings are produced around customer requirements and issued for customer approval before manufacturing proceeds.