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Evaluating a Facility Based on a Unique Vibration Specification and Other Requirements

Most electron microscopes, high-end analytical equipment, and sensitive manufacturing tools have a vibration specification and often an acoustic noise and a magnetic field specification.  Site evaluations are a method to determine whether your current facility or a proposed facility meets the manufacturer’s vibration specification and other requirements for a specific tool or a set of tools.  These site evaluations are critical to the selection of facility and tool locations and to prepare facilities for installations. A detailed site evaluation is a minimal time and resource investment to prevent down-the-line performance problems and high remediation costs. 

At VEC, we strive to provide you the data needed to make informed decisions about your facility and equipment.   We have significant experience conducting extensive site evaluations across a wide range of equipment and facilities.  We have conducted pre-construction site evaluations for state-of-the-art electron microscope suites with dozens of microscopes, more routine tool moves and facility renovations, and everything in between.

At VEC, our site evaluations will provide you with a complete picture of your facility and actionable recommendations so that you can complete your critical work.  

The Site Evaluation Process

Site evaluations have many complexities, including multiple location options, numerous pieces of equipment that each has a unique specification, and workflow and administrative considerations.  It is essential to follow a defined process to ensure that all required data is collected and no critical requirements are missed.  Below is a little more about what that process looks like on your site.  

  • Identify Requirements

    We first conduct a project briefing to verify we understand your goals, scope, current equipment, future equipment, and budgetary considerations.

  • Develop Data Collection Plan

    We collaborate with you to develop a data collection plan based on the identified requirements to ensure that we provide you with the best-in-class data needed to make informed decisions.   In the data collection plan, we will determine the best strategies to identify the optimal location for your equipment.  Considerations include the number and location of data points, specifications used, and the time horizon of data collection.

  • Baseline Data Collection

    We record the vibration, acoustic noise, and magnetic field measurements at defined locations depending on requirements. VEC employs a variety of different types of surveys to collect the required data.  Our spot surveys provide a baseline understanding of the steady-state factors that impact microscope and tool performance at a single location for a short period in time. Multi-day studies help customers to understand variations throughout the day and differences between days.

  • Source Identification

    If VEC identifies problems during data collection, we attempt to determine the sources that cause a location to fail the vibration specification or other requirements.  For electron microscopes and analytical tools, we correlate an interference in an image or other issues identified during production to known or potential sources of vibration, acoustic noise, and magnetic fields.

  • Remediation and Recommendations

    Next, we will work to correct the problem so that the equipment can achieve optimal performance. We will walk you through the data, explaining the results of your survey along with detailed recommendations specific to your equipment and facility. We strive to provide you with the level of detail that you need to make informed decisions, and we don’t finish until we are confident that you understand all of the data and recommendations about your site.

  • Design Consulting

    VEC offers design consulting services for end customers and architects to provide a higher level of support for new facility construction and renovations.  With our design consulting services, we provide detailed design and remediation recommendations for wall and ceiling construction, equipment selection, and placement (vacuum pumps, chillers, compressors, etc.), and tool layout.  We also can perform acoustic modeling in the room to predict influences or disturbances.

Different Types of Site Evaluations Include

Not customers require a full site evaluation across multiple rooms with multiple specifications.  VEC provides several site surveys and testing services tailored for customers with more specific requirements.

  • Point Site Survey

    VEC conducts point vibration, acoustic noise, and magnetic field site surveys at the proposed location of a single tool.  Measurements take a few hours and provide a good understanding of the steady-state sources impacting a space.  Point site surveys are sufficient for most manufacturing and imaging equipment.

  • Multi-Day Site Survey

    A 48-72 hour site survey provides a more robust data set and increases the chances of measuring transient vibration, acoustic noise, and magnetic field sources.  VEC uses the Spicer SC-11 Auto Survey System for these longer duration surveys.  The SC-11 conducts measurements in series at a specified interval for a pre-defined period.  The Spicer SC-11 is used to identify fluctuations in the vibration, acoustic noise, or magnetic field over the survey duration.  Multi-day site surveys are ideal for higher-end electron microscopes that conduct longer duration imaging or tools that will be installed in a dynamic environment with many transient sources.

  • Vibration Survey

    Many tools only have vibration requirements, or the customer is only concerned about vibration in their facility.  In this case, VEC can conduct a vibration site survey and either compare the results to a specific tool specification or the standard Vibration Criteria or VC-Curves.

  • Acoustic Noise Survey

    For laboratory and other locations with sensitivity to acoustic noise, VEC will conduct a detailed acoustic noise survey.  Often VEC conducts acoustic noise surveys in conjunction with acoustic noise modeling and design consulting services.

  • Electro-Magnetic Interference Site Survey

    Magnetic fields easily impact the performance of electron microscopes and e-beam lithography tools.  VEC can conduct a magnetic field, electric field, and RF testing as required based on customer requirements.

  • Advanced Image Problem Solving – Spot Mode Video

    For electron microscopes with existing image problems, VEC will use raw image data to diagnose a disturbance on an electron microscope.  VEC then directly correlates this data to sources in the environment using a technique called Spot Mode Video.  Spot Mode Video is a highly effective way of diagnosing complex image problems.

The Advantages of Working With VEC

VEC is a trusted name within the microscopy, research, and high-tech manufacturing communities. We have provided site evaluations since 1983 and continue to provide exemplary service. Below is a little more about our capabilities.

  • VEC conducts site evaluations across a wide variety of tools and microscopes.
  • We have a robust database and the experience required to identify issues and provide recommendations to optimize tool performance quickly.
  • VEC goes beyond a simple “PASS” or “FAIL”.  We spend time with you to ensure that you understand the data and provide specific, actionable recommendations based on the data collected and your goals.
  • VEC does not use site evaluations as a mechanism to sell products, but we do sell active vibration isolation platforms and magnetic field cancellation systems if required.
  • Our focus is on tool performance and addressing the priority issues impacting your space.

Make Sure Your Lab Environment Meets the Vibration Specification

Lab equipment is a significant investment. It’s essential to make sure that your environment supports the intended results, and falls within manufacturer vibration specifications. VEC is a trusted name in the industry, and we can help with your next site evaluation. Contact us today!

Vibration Reduction for Sensitive Instruments