HEATERS FOR SEMICONDUCTORS

For over a half-century, Backer Hotwatt has been working with engineers from the most important semiconductor and electronics assembly companies in the world. Precision heating, tight tolerances, and extreme reliability are all characteristics that need to be designed into solutions for these critical applications. You have our assurance that Backer Hotwatt engineers will work hand-in-hand with your team to meet all performance, physical, and regulatory requirements to ensure a successful product launch and commercialization. We solve challenging problems with unique precision heating solutions that our competitors won’t or can’t provide.


This discussion offers a look at some of the applications that we provide to the semiconductor industry. We build both standard and custom heaters—though note that the images on this page are unique designs and builds for custom heaters. There is a link in each section below that will take you to the corresponding standard heaters generally used for the semiconductor applications highlighted on this page. If you are looking for a custom solution, contact us to begin the discussion with an engineer. You can click on a product group that interests you to be taken directly to that topic or read through to learn about our comprehensive product line serving OEMs in the electronics and semiconductor market.


Tight Tolerance Tubular Element

Backer Hotwatt manufactures tubular elements to very tight tolerances for heated pedestal and platen applications.

TEST SOCKETS

Rigorous testing allows engineers to reliably gauge the design, material, functional efficiency, and to predict the life-of-product time span for semiconductors. Burn-in testing requires exacting parameters along with precise and dependable temperature control. Protocols, components, and systems differ vastly, and heating elements need to be uniquely designed and produced to allow for unique products and testing protocols, including temperature extremes that may require high heat and voltage and long duration cycles.


Testing may evaluate a variety of benchmarks, some being:

  • Durability of materials
  • Material ability to withstand mating and unmating cycles
  • Signal integrity
  • Regulatory compliance


Parts and components undergoing burn-in testing are exposed to extreme operating conditions, including:

  • Temperature extremes
  • High-use cycles
  • High voltages



MicroCartridge Heaters

Backer Hotwatt is the leading provider of micro-sized cartridge heaters for test sockets.

Burn-in testing allows the detection of early failures, and with accelerated testing protocols, can also provide assurance that the product will perform as intended, alleviating potential problems with end-use of the product.


There are three potential failure points in the lifecycle of a component:

  • Early failure is caused by design or specification misalignments or manufacturing errors
  • The next failure phase can occur during use, and might be the result of material malfunction or an operational anomaly—perhaps caused by a usage pattern change or a power surge
  • Lifecycle exhaustion—predictable wear and tear—is the last phase of a part or component


Backer Hotwatt Superwatt and SunRod cartridge heaters work exceptionally well for test socket applications. Backer Hotwatt products are made in the USA and provide durable, dependable performance.


The Superwatt heating elements are designed for maximum watt density, temperature, heat transfer, and heater life. They are suited for various applications, including dies, heat sealing, hot melt adhesive, plastic molding, platens, shoe machinery.


The useful life of a cartridge heating element is determined by how quickly the heat generated in the resistance wire can be dissipated to the outside sheath. With low and moderate watt density elements, such as Backer Hotwatt’s standard line, the conventional method of inserting helical coils in formed ceramics is a proven method of construction because the wire temperature relative to sheath temperature, even though considerably higher, is still well within safe long-life operating temperatures.


The Superwatt cartridge heater accelerates the transfer of heat from the resistance wire to the sheath. By improving the heat transfer rate, it is possible to manufacture elements of higher densities because the differential between the wire temperature and the sheath temperature has been minimized.


The SunRod mini cartridge socket heaters provide benefits that include:


  • Split-sheathing that allows secure placement and easy removal
  • Longer life
  • Unique hot tip
  • Rapid and uniform heating
  • Easy installation


Backer Hotwatt provides the industry’s most reliable line of burn-in test socket heater cartridges. Computer designed, some of the SunRod socket heater’s remarkable features include:


  • The SunRod’s patented split-sheath design expands to lock into contact with the surrounding bore, allowing for rapid heat up.
  • The split-sheath design maximizes heat transfer and uniform heating, resulting in lower operating temperatures for the heater, assuring heater life of 25,000 hours or more.
  • Split sheath contracts when de-energized for easy cartridge slide-out removal; guaranteed never to seize in the bore.
  • High flexibility lead wires permit free motion of floating spring-loaded heater assemblies, simplifying wire management within the test socket.
  • The size, sheath, leads, terminals, wattage, and voltage can be customized to meet your heating requirements.
  • Every unit undergoes stringent in-process testing and multi-point quality assurance tests.


This downloadable eBook provides a deeper discussion about SunRod cartridge heaters.


Burn-in ovens can be simple, or complex and custom made. Whatever design of testing oven you need, your heating element must also have the ability to be custom built—small or large—to provide reliable temperature control for all intended uses.


Most oven applications require stainless steel strip or tubular heaters. Backer Hotwatt provides clean, dependable heat with sheath temperatures up to 1200°F and watt densities up to 40 watts per square inch. Because of the seamless stainless-steel sheath, Backer Hotwatt Ceramic Insulated Strip Heaters are dimensionally stable in milled slots. They are also great for use in dies, molds, plastic forming and sealing, tank, and kettle heating. For specific applications, correctly rated elements should be used to prevent overheating and to ensure long life. A guide to correct watt densities for specific applications is shown here.

Spiral Heater

Backer Hotwatt’s strip and tubular elements are used in everything from burn-in ovens to test chambers.


CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENTS

The nature of a controlled environment requires that all facets of the design, form, and function of the enclosure maintain precise levels of air quality, which include temperature and relative humidity. Fluctuations, if allowed, also must calibrate and perform without exception and on demand/on command. Types of controlled environment systems that require heating elements include gas management systems, vacuum systems, gas & fluid chillers/cryogenics, and reactivation air/desiccant dehumidification systems.


Gas Management Systems

Gas management systems typically require tubular heating elements that assist in the regeneration of gas purification columns in glove boxes or enclosures. Gas purification systems possess hermetic integrity and specify maintenance of an inert atmosphere, free of oxygen and moisture, necessitating stringent parameters that recirculate and analyze the purified atmosphere. A close-looped gas management system allows for the control, monitoring, and recycling of your gaseous environment. Precise heat is needed for the regeneration of purifier columns to restore the function of purifiers, which involves restoring the power of oxygen- and moisture-absorbing materials used in the purifier columns of gas management systems.


Backer Hotwatt tubular heaters are available in many forms and are UL and C-UL recognized. They provide the following features:

  • Built-in resistance to shock, vibration, corrosion, and temperature extremes
  • The heater is swaged, reducing the diameter of the metal sheath, and compacting the insulation; this ensures rapid heat transfer and holds the coil in position for forming



Gas Purification Column

Backer Hotwatt fabricates regenerative gas columns with integrated heaters to equipment manufacturers working in controlled environments.

Vacuum Systems

Vacuum systems are used for vast purposes across industries—some for the transfer of liquids, other for solids, and others to condition or dry the air. Industrial transfer systems use vacuum and pressure to complete their tasks. A compressor is an example of a vacuum system. Within that closed system, the oil and refrigerant are transferred under pressure. When not in use, the two elements need to be kept from mixing and maintained at specific temperatures utilizing a crankcase heater for compressors.


Rope heaters and cartridge heaters are used to condition or dry air in vacuum systems. Baker Hotwatt’s Glasrope® heaters work in pipes, tubes, and similar applications where specific locations need temperatures to be maintained. Given their flexible nature, rope heaters work exceptionally well for odd shapes, such as laboratory beakers, valves, piping, appliances, drier units for blueprint machines, incubators, and tracers for pipelines. Insulated tape heaters offer high temperature, flexible electric heating elements in tape form. They can be designed to provide the convenience of leads on the same end. Click here for more information on features, construction, and specifications of Glasrope® heaters.


Closed System Air Drying

Backer Hotwatt provides many different styles of cartridge heaters to dry air in closed loop systems.

Cartridge heaters consist of a heated wire packed with inorganic powder and packed tightly into a metal tube. The size, sheath, leads, terminals, wattage, and voltage can be adapted to meet your heating requirement needs.

 

Cartridge Heaters are our most popular product. We make low and high watt density cartridge heaters. Cartridge heaters provide localized heat to restricted work areas requiring close thermal control. Dies, platens, and a variety of other types of processing equipment are efficiently heated. Closely controlled work temperatures up to 1400° F (760 C) are obtained by a combination of heater location and proper wattage output.

 

Backer Hotwatt is a leading electric heating manufacture and can provide heating solutions to your specifications to accommodate your application and heating needs. Backer Hotwatt stocks all material for the different diameter units listed in the catalog. Your order, specifying the wattage, voltage, diameter, length, and lead type is readily and quickly fabricated from our inventory. In addition, many standard sizes are available from our in-stock cartridge heaters for immediate delivery.

 

Crankcase heaters for compressors are used to overcome the problem of migration and condensation of refrigerant in the crankcases of compressors used in air conditioning and heat pump systems. They are designed to keep the crankcase oil at a temperature higher than the coldest part of the system to prevent migration. Backer Hotwatt constructs crankcase heaters with the highest quality corrosion-resistant materials and are sealed against moisture. We manufacture custom-designed crankcases, and also provide EOM manufacturer crankcase heaters (and can offer variations to these units, as well):

 



Gas & Fluid Chillers/Cryogenics

Gas and fluid chillers are used in a variety of industries, including chemical, energy, semiconductor, aerospace, defense, and automotive, among others. The medical sector employs gas and fluid chillers for work in cryogenics and in applications such as MRI machines.


In these instances, helium is cooled below its critical temperature, forming a cold liquid, which is used to cool the superconducting magnets in MRI scanners. It is then exposed to very high temperatures, causing it to revert to gas (it then repeats the cooling cycle, which also re-condenses the helium and prevents the gas from burning off entirely).


Air process heaters are commonly used in these applications and provide hot air and gas up to 1000°F (540°C) with infinite control by varying the voltage and air velocity supplied. Units are fitted with a tubing “T” for convenient power lead outlet, while larger diameters can be supplied with post terminals on the sheath for direct electrical connections. Manufactured in the USA, and for easier installation, Backer Hotwatt can supply male or female NPT threaded fittings, hose adapters, flanges, or custom fittings to your specifications.

 

If a single unit is required to incorporate two or more different wattages, we will provide air heaters from 5⁄8” diameter and up with multiple circuits. Some uses of these units include:


  • Quick heat-up
  • Standby circuits for maintenance of low temperatures
  • Providing different wattages when there is a wide variation in thermal loads
  • Replacing more expensive variable powerstats for wattage control

 

Electric vaporizers are used to vaporized cryogenic liquids and liquified gases. These units can be compact in size, requiring a simple set-up. Once the liquid is vaporized, it is superheated, which warms the gas for downstream processing.

 

An adjustable controller and temperature probe automatically maintains a feedback loop. Replaceable heater cartridges allow simple maintenance of these units. Backer Hotwatt provides tubular heaters and cartridge heater elements for electric vaporizers. (More information about these heating elements is available above on this page and at the corresponding links, as provided here.)


In-Line Custom Air Heaters

Backer Hotwatt’s in-line heaters are used to reclaim helium in cryogenic systems.

Various Copper T Air Heaters

Backer Hotwatt offers the largest product line of in-line air heaters on the market.

Vaporizer Cartridge

Backer Hotwatt produces cartridge heaters up to 2.3” in diameter for electric vaporization of cryogenic gases and liquids.

Reactivation Air/Desiccant Dehumidification

Desiccant dehumidification systems are used for large-scale moisture removal and humidity control in industrial and commercial buildings. They are also used for many similar applications. The process is simple enough: the desiccant attracts and holds water vapor, and does so at low temperatures and low humidity levels. This first phase of moist air, after passing through the fluted desiccant wheel, becomes dry. The wheel, having been made moist by the air, processes to a smaller heated airstream, which warms the desiccant. This “reactivation air” carries away the moisture of the desiccant. The process then repeats itself.


All-electric desiccant systems are efficient and economical, and do not rely on natural gas to function. Finned tubular heating elements work perfectly for the reactivation air in a desiccant system. Some features of Backer Hotwatt’s finned tubular heating elements include:


  • Mechanically bonded continuous fin that assures excellent heat transfer and helps prevent fin vibration at high air velocities
  • Several standard formations and mounting bushings are available
  • Standard fin is high-temperature painted steel with steel sheath
  • Optional stainless-steel fin with stainless steel or incoloy sheath for corrosion resistance


Finned Tubular

Backer Hotwatt's finned tubular heating elements work perfectly for the reactivation air in a desiccant system, providing excellent heat transfer, among other benefits.


Precision Heating Solutions for Challenging Applications

Backer Hotwatt solves challenging problems with unique solutions that our competitors won’t or can’t provide. When it comes to controlling the environment of your application, heat and temperature are crucial to consider. Selecting the right heating element allows you to ensure the level of safety, allows you to attain optimal performance, and improves the overall efficiency of the heater’s end use.

 

Whatever your design or engineering challenge is, Backer Hotwatt has the expertise and broad technology base to develop a customized and dependable product for your unique needs. Whether you are heating air, fluids, gases, or other surfaces, our engineers can develop a solution that helps your application function most efficiently.

 

Established in 1952, Backer Hotwatt, Inc. has been a trusted source of superior quality heating elements for OEMs in the medical, industrial, semiconductor, commercial, packaging, instrumentation, aviation, transportation, refrigeration/air conditioning, and military fields for almost 70 years. We’re here to help you design and manufacture the best heater for your crucial heat control requirements. How can we help you with your next heating project? Contact an engineer today to set up an exploration consultation. We look forward to helping you soon.