September 2019

Optix – increase the productivity of vacuum based processing

Vacuum processed parts can be subject to high levels of waste as a result of the problems in maintaining a 'good' vacuum environment. Outgassing of parts and chamber walls, high moisture levels, leaks and process variables all lead to reduced profitability and lower efficiencies. Whilst a vacuum can be contaminated relatively easily, the nature of a vacuum means that the presence of such problems can be easily detected by analysis of the gas species present.

Optix from Gencoa is a very sensitive and industrially-robust device for doing just that. It will monitor and detect any abnormal gases which are always present if a vacuum process is contaminated. This means that failure rates can be drastically reduced. Additionally, Optix provides stored key process data which can be called upon to check the process quality for parts that may fail in the field.

Optix was introduced to the market in late 2016 and the first unit was shipped to a US-based architectural glass manufacturer in February 2017. Since that time, Gencoa have been actively promoting and demonstrating the benefits to interested customers around the globe.

Whilst over 100 units have been manufactured already, the wide range of customer types has been the most pleasing aspect for the team behind the product.

Optix is very easy to use and impossible to break, so the take-up by users has been rapid and in particular sectors such as heat treatment and vacuum metallurgy have needed little convincing. Some positive feedback from one such customer is highlighted in this newsletter.

If you are not already aware of Optix, please take the time to look at the webpage to gain some insight into the product benefits. It is clear that virtually any vacuum-based process is a strong candidate. As it uses light from a remote plasma in the sensor head, the detector is located outside the vacuum environment, hence there is an inherent protection of the device which means operators can't break the device and sensing is guaranteed.

Some of you may have 'detected' a potential problem in that if volatile chemicals are present in a vacuum plasma, there will be a reaction and coating created in the plasma zone. This is indeed a potential problem, hence we have different sensor power modes in the case of CVD and ALD type processes. These have been shown to avoid contamination and opened up vacuum gas sensing for processes that are notoriously difficult.

As we have been working very closely with special application customers, two other aspects that became a strong market pull were a partial pressure calculation and enhanced sensitivity. Both of these aspects are now being built into the unit as a standard feature.

We have developed a product that is a pleasure to sell and is delighting customers around the world who can now 'use the light' to remove the guesswork and discover what is really happening in their chambers.

"Optix is easier to use than a helium leak detector and can present diagnostic information that you cannot get with an He leak detector. The Optix sensor seems robust with regard to pressure transients and can operate successfully in a pressure range (millitorr range) that is of interest for different types of diagnostics and atmospheric sampling in the sintering and heat treating realm.

The spectral information available in the Optix data also offers a more expandable palette of options for acquiring even more data on processes of interest, making the unit potentially more flexible and useful than an RGA."
CTO, US-based PVD and vacuum metallurgy company

Rectangular plasma

Gencoa Optix

Optix pressure range
Joel Smolka appointed to manage US Operations

Gencoa Ltd has recently hired Joel Smolka of Technical Component Sales to manage Gencoa's Sales Operations in North America.

Joel has extensive experience providing sales leadership and business development to vacuum technology organizations across a diverse range of products including vacuum hardware, electrical feedthroughs, chambers, pumps, valves, electron beam, magnetrons and complete thin film deposition systems.

Based out of Pittsburgh, PA, USA, Joel can be contacted using the following details:

Office: 724-691-0936
Cell: 339-788-0470

Joel Smolka
Upcoming events

After recent attendances at conferences held in Japan and France, the latter of which included a presentation on Optix by Bimal Kurian, Gencoa will be represented at a series of exhibitions and conferences during October.

Dermot Monaghan is scheduled to present at AIMCAL's annual R2R Conference USA in Myrtle Beach, which begins on October 6. During the same week, the V2019 Vacuum & Plasma Conference is being held in Dresden, where Gencoa's Florian Meyer will accompany local agents Avaluxe at stand 2 for a demo of Optix.

Finally, local agents Rooks Vac will be at booth 4BJ02 during Lab Asia 2019 in Kuala Lumpur on October 15-17.

For a full listing of events and conferences, visit

SVC TechCon
Further information

For product information or support, contact or visit to find contact details of international support staff and sales agents.

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