Vacuum chambers usually consist of a series of components—such as a bell jar, baseplate, feedthrough collar and service well—that together provide a complete chamber. Complex vacuum chambers are often custom solutions, designed and fabricated specifically for an end-application. Gloveboxes, welding chambers, degassing boxes or surface analysis chambers are vacuum chambers that have been pre-engineered for specific applications. Degassing chambers and gloveboxes typically operate in the rough to low vacuum range for welding, degassing plastics or composite laminates or encapsulating components.
Some of the components in the vacuum equipment area include vacuum chambers, feedthroughs, viewports, vacuum sensors and instruments, vacuum gauges, deposition systems, evaporation sources and materials, sputtering targets, plasma etching equipment, ion implanters, vacuum furnaces and specialized vacuum pumps, flanges, fittings and valves. Vacuum equipment is used for degassing, welding and the manufacturing of thin films, semiconductors, microelectronics / wafers, optics and specialty materials.
Vacuum ranges for vacuum chambers and components can be rough or low, (< 760, > 1 torr), medium (< 1, >10-3 torr), high vacuum (< 10-3, >10-8 torr), ultra-high vacuum (< 10-8 torr), and elevated pressures (> 760 torr). The nominal size, width or outer diameter of the chamber is the most important dimension specification. Standard diameters for bell jars and cylindrical chambers are 12″, 14″, 18″ and 24″.
Features common to vacuum chambers and components are flange and fitting choices, polished or electro-polished surfaces, openings or feedthrough ports, heaters, and cooling options.
Here is a list of resources and organizations that offer more information about manufacturing in a vacuum, and the vacuum proccess:
The American Vacuum Society (AVS) is a national organization. There are also 17 regional chapters throughout the United States. The AVS hosts meetings, provides educational programs and more.
The Society of Vacuum Coaters (SVC) is a national organization. The SVC hosts meetings, provides educational programs and more.