To help demonstrate our capabilities, below are a couple of recent examples of how we helped customers scale up to HVM (high volume manufacturing) while reducing cost and achieving, and maintaining quality consistency.

Silicon Tetraiodide (SiI4)

The Challenge: Develop a scalable technology to synthesize and manufacture in high volumes silicon tetraiodide in granular form.

The process: We already had a technology to synthesize and manufacture small volumes of silicon tetraiodide in powder form. Unfortunately, this process involved grinding, which has a potential risk of hydrolyzation and contamination from the mill consumables. In addition, the resulting powder form is sensitive to both light and air.

So we modified the process to eliminate grinding and change the final form from powder to granules. We developed a new methodology of stable, continuous synthesis using custom-made ovens: the ovens maintain temperatures of up to 1000°C and with ±0.1°C accuracy for each of the different temperature phases of the process. The streamlined temperature regime saves energy while accelerating Sil4 throughput. The fully-automated granulation phase uses a high-purity argon process.

The Results: With the new technology, one system synthesizes up to 10kg/day, and we’re ready to scale it up horizontally. The new technology is also flexible: we can still produce the silicon tetraiodide in powder form based on customer preference. A ICP-MS test is used for acceptance and final analysis of both the powdered and granular Sil4.

Scaling Up Cobalt Octacarbonyl and Its Derivatives

The Challenge: Create a cost-effective technology for synthesizing cobalt octacarbonyl, and its derivatives, that does not require high-pressure processes and can be scaled up to hundreds of kilograms per month.

The process: We already possessed a unique technology for synthesizing cobalt octacarbonyl in a low-pressure environment for relatively small volumes (up to 2-3kg). Our competitors offering this group of products in HVM quantities did so by synthesizing the cobalt octacarbonyl in high-pressure autoclaves. This approach, however, drove up product costs due to expensive equipment, servicing, and regulatory compliance.

Our existing methodology of synthesis in glassware provided a cost-attractive approach for manufacturing cobalt octacarbonyl in small volumes — but we couldn’t automatically scale it up to high-volume reactors; straight scaling up to a large reactor simply didn’t work. In addition to the technical challenges of increasing throughput, the customers required a higher purity standard, making us to create extra steps in the process flow.

The Results: After multiple iterations of the customer-driven process, we succeeded — not only in the transfer from low-volume glassware to a high-volume 300L metal reactor, but also in introducing several critical processes to achieve the specified purity standards that are so important in semiconductor industry. The entire process was “locked down” after a number of customer and end-user onsite audits, as well as numerous synthesized batches, permitting us to switch to the ship-to-control method of QA.