How is it Done? — How Do We Actually Manufacture Balls at the Nanometer Quality Level?

In the refined environment of our ultra precise ball lapping department, we work and measure at the 2.5 nanometer level. The machines used to produce this quality are simply finely tuned versions of the 150 year old basic ball grinding machines.

The temperature of the entire ultra precise department is held at exactly 20 degrees Celsius, ( 68 degrees Fahrenheit ), which is the international standard temperature for dimensional measurement. Effectively we have eliminated the presence of any dirt in this department. The room is a class 200 clean room, with labyrinth walk in and external vacuum cleaning system. Then there are laminar flow hoods with high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration over each of the individual machines. Using the best accelerometer sensing equipment, there is no measurable vibration of these ball grinding machines

The ball lapping tools used simply don’t run out at all. The total error in the axis of rotation is less than one micro inch ( 25 nanometers ), which is the limit of measurability of the machine in operation. The chemistry and the metallurgy of the lapping tools used in this department are controlled by our own foundry. We use a 900 watt cavitron to control agglomeration and vacuum desiccation equipment, to control the final mixed abrasive. We use the most sophisticated Zeiss Opton® optical microscope to evaluate and control the quality of the abrasives used in this department.

Add to this an in department Talyrond, for sphericity evaluation, and laser scale diameter measuring equipment. This extremely accurate, very expensive equipment and facility, allows our operators to evaluate the final quality of their product without having to go outside their department.

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