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ULTRASONIC Technology for machining precise components in the semiconductor industry

André Pisch Process Engineering CNC Berliner Glas KGaA Herbert Kubatz GmbH & Co.
André Pisch Process Engineering CNC Berliner Glas KGaA Herbert Kubatz GmbH & Co.

Since its foundation in 1952, Berliner Glas KGaA Herbert Kubatz GmbH & Co. has grown into a group of companies with 1,500 employees and locations in Germany, Switzerland and China, as well as a sales office in the USA. As an expert for the development and production of optical components, assemblies and systems, the company supplies leading customers worldwide in the semiconductor industry, laser and space technology sectors as well as medical technology. Berliner Glas has been working with CNC technology from DMG MORI in its production department for over 20 years. 23 of the 38 models are ULTRASONIC machining centers, which provide Berliner Glas with the world's largest installed base of ULTRASONIC models from DMG MORI. The team uses them to ULTRASONIC TECHNOLOGY FOR MACHINING PRECISE COMPONENTS IN THE SEMICONDUCTOR INDUSTRY machine high-precision components made of hard, brittle materials like silicon carbide and Zerodur©.

23 ULTRASONIC machines from DMG MORI
Berliner Glas uses a total of 23 ULTRASONIC machines from DMG MORI.

With a comprehensive range of services from development up to series production, including installation of complete assemblies, Berliner Glas makes a major contribution to the value-added chain of its customers. “Today, almost one-third of the order volume is from the semiconductor industry”, states André Pisch, who is responsible for process technology, providing an insight into his portfolio. More than 400 of the 1,000 employees at the Berlin headquarters are responsible for leading companies in this industry. “The component range includes vacuum and electrostatic chucks, reference mirrors and stage modules for highly precise movement and measurement in lithography systems.” The highest yield can be achieved in chip production with these high-quality components. “ULTRASONIC technology is the optimum machining method for this.”

ULTRASONIC for process-reliable machining of brittle, hard materials  

Cost-efficient ULTRASONIC grinding of lightweight structures
Cost-efficient ULTRASONIC grinding of lightweight structures made of SiC or Zerodur for supporting mirror substrates and complete machining of quartz glass rings and SiC wafer chucks for the semiconductor industry.

Complex brittle, hard materials pose a great challenge in production. “In the machining of high-performance ceramics and glass ceramics like silicon carbide and Zerodur, tool wear is extremely high and cracked edges can easily occur on the workpieces”, says André Pisch. For this reason, ULTRASONIC machines from DMG MORI have been used from an early stage. In ULTRASONIC machining, the rotary movement of the tool is superimposed, by inductive transmission, with an oscillation in the longitudinal direction, reducing the process forces by up to 50 percent. Randolph Hennig, responsible group leader for the CNC production area, describes the positive effect of the ultrasound technology: “It minimizes tool wear as well as the depth of micro-cracks and break-outs on the material.” Feed rates and infeed can be increased for improved productivity.

Up to 3 times higher productivity through development in partnership

7 ULTRASONIC 50 machines and 4 ULTRASONIC 85s
These include 7 ULTRASONIC 50 machines and 4 ULTRASONIC 85s.

Both partners benefit from the long-standing cooperation: “Our know-how with regard to the machining of ceramics can also be used for the development of new ULTRASONIC actuators”, says Randolph Hennig. DMG MORI has optimized the latest ULTRASONIC actuator once again with regard to rigidity. A stronger ULTRASONIC booster enables two to three times higher amplitudes to a maximum of 15µm. “This means we can increase productivity up to 3 times, while at the same time reducing tool wear and micro-cracks.”

The range of features of the ULTRASONIC machines also includes DMG MORI technology cycles, including for automatic frequency and amplitude optimization as well as feed adjustment. There is also a well-established cooperation at service level thanks to concrete agreements. “This reduces machine downtime to a minimum”, Randolph Hennig adds.

67% shorter throughput times thanks to milling-turning & ULTRASONIC technology

ULTRASONIC 85s with mill-turning table
One of the four ULTRASONIC 85s has a mill-turning table, reducing the machining time by up to 67%.

The ULTRASONIC machines at Berliner Glas include amongst others a highly dynamic ULTRASONIC 20 linear for hand-sized parts, seven compact ULTRASONIC 50 with 650 × 520 × 475mm travels as well as four ULTRASONIC 85 monoBLOCKs and two ULTRASONIC 125 monoBLOCKs for larger parts. Travels are 935 × 850 × 650 mm and 1,335 × 1,250 × 900mm respectively. One of the ULTRASONIC 85 monoBLOCKs is equipped with a mill-turning table. Randolph Hennig refers to the numerous rotationally symmetrical components: “On a normal milling machine, circular interpolation by simultaneous control of three linear axes is extremely complex.” Thanks to integrated turning in one set-up, there is now the option to include external and internal cylindrical BERLINER GLAS KGaA HERBERT KUBATZ GMBH & COcan be reduced by more than 67 percent to 30 minutes. “This alone makes the milling-turn technology an important criterion for us in the future”, André Pisch adds.

In view of the successful business development of Berliner Glas, it is certain that further investments in machinery as well as in personnel – just over 50 employees currently work in machining – will follow. “On one hand we must meet the demand for skilled employees”, says André Pisch. Part of the young talent comes from in-house training. “On the other hand, we are increasing our production capacities with further investments in new ULTRASONIC machines and continuous process optimization.”

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