We do a lot of cleaning and repair service at Plasma Process Group and we get a good chance to see your hardware throughout its life cycle. For the same reason, we also get to see what causes that life cycle to shorten. Here are a few quick things you can do or keep in mind to get the most out of your hardware:
Remove the hardware from your grids before they are cleaned. The stainless steel hats are damaged very quickly if they are not removed. They will trap your cleaning media underneath and contaminate your process. Additionally, when the hats become damaged they warp and change the spacing between the grids. This may lead to arcing between the grids and cause the ion beam to wear away the grids much more quickly.
Monitor the accelerator current. If the accelerator current looks too good to be true, it probably is. During normal operation, the accelerator current will typically be between 3 to 5% of the beam current. If it is 0 to 2 mA, the accelerator grid might not be connected and is becoming damaged. Check the accelerator electrical connections for continuity.
These items can significantly reduce the life of the grids. For grid maintenance, send them to us for cleaning and we’ll do all the hard work. We will make sure the grids are cleaned, and correctly aligned. We might even catch a problem before more damage is done.