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VI. Process: From Concept to Completion

An exceptional strength of II-VI Marlow is our ability to provide both low-cost standard products and cost-effective customized products. Our ability to provide customized products for a multitude of applications spanning all markets is founded in a unique process chain:

  • Through our Dallas and international sales offices and partners, our sales engineers gather customer requirements and work with our Design Center in Dallas to develop an optimized solution.
  • Our Design Center has more than 150 years of combined experience designing components, sub-assemblies, and heat exchangers for automotive, defense, industrial, laser, medical, space and telecom applications.
  • Market-specific engineering teams optimize the product and processes to meet customer requirements.
  • An optimized product gives the best overall value in volume production by balancing the combination of performance, cost and size.
  • Products are developed at our Design Center in Dallas, where prototypes are tooled, built and tested, and in most cases, manufacturing of the product is transitioned to our low-cost, ISO 9001:2000-certified facility in Vietnam.
  • Quality products, on-time delivery and customer service combine to gain and maintain fully satisfied customers.

 

Capabilities
Product Concept Design System Design Manufacturing Customer Support


A. From Concept to Prototyping


 

Product concepts are based on our extensive experience and thorough understanding of all the issues involved in designing reliable custom thermoelectric products, whether modules or systems. State-of-the-art tools are used to move along the path from concept to preliminary design to final design and prototype:

  • Solidworks 3-D® for creating a detailed mechanical model
  • Ansys® for thermal and mechanical stress analysis of the 3-D model
  • Stereolithography (selective sintering of plastic materials) for rapid prototyping of system components


Thermal imaging for measuring actual temperature differences across the device and other system components, this infrared imaging system is used for both diagnostic and product acceptance purposes.

 

B. System Design


 

When II-VI Marlow designs a system, we optimize its performance based upon the requirements most important to the customer. Our design engineers help prioritize system attributes and work with the customer to understand the application in detail and the range of possible operating conditions. This approach fosters long-term customer satisfaction. We analyze a multitude of system attributes:

  • Performance – Efficiency, temperature required, heat load
  • Cost – As a primary or secondary constraint
  • Power Budget – AC source, DC source, battery-operated, power factor correction required
  • Noise – Fan selection and control, noise abatement tools, system configuration
  • Weight – Portable, stationary, space application
  • Physical Envelope – Space constraints, packing density, modular design for multiple locations
  • Environment – Temperature range, humidity range, outdoor/indoor, earthquake rating, submergible, vacuum, dust
  • Reliability  – Thermoelectric, fan, power supply
  • Lead Time – Design time, standard versus custom thermoelectrics, modular approach, tooling, agency listings, air/ocean freight
  • Regulatory – UL, CE, FDA, EU, RoHS

 

C. Manufacturing Capability


 

When II-VI Marlow designs a system, we optimize its performance based upon the requirements most important to the customer. Our design engineers help prioritize system attributes and work with the customer to understand the application in detail and the range of possible operating conditions. This approach fosters long-term customer satisfaction. We analyze a multitude of system attributes:

  •  Performance – Efficiency, temperature required, heat load
  •  Cost – As a primary or secondary constraint
  •  Power Budget – AC source, DC source, battery-operated, power factor correction required
  •  Noise – Fan selection and control, noise abatement tools, system configuration
  •  Weight – Portable, stationary, space application
  •  Physical Envelope – Space constraints, packing density, modular design for multiple locations
  •  Environment – Temperature range, humidity range, outdoor/indoor, earthquake rating, submergible, vacuum, dust
  • Reliability – Thermoelectric, fan, power supply
  • Lead Time – Design time, standard versus custom thermoelectrics, modular approach, tooling, agency listings, air/ocean freight
  • Regulatory – UL, CE, FDA, EU, RoHS


1. Thermoelectric Materials

Production thermoelectric materials made at II-VI Marlow are alloys of bismuth telluride. These alloys are made by two different processes, which impart different characteristics to the materials, making them suitable for different applications. The Bridgman growth process is used to make materials for our industrial, medical, automotive and defense/space/photonics markets.

We use a proprietary process to make our MAM+ materials, which are used in our telecom and defense/space/photonics markets. The advantages of MAM+ are better performance, temperature tuning and compatibility with very small element dimensions. Temperature tuned MAM+ greatly enhances the capability of our multi-stage modules relative to those of competitors, who use only materials with peak Z near room temperature.

The advantages of Bridgman materials are lower cost and compatibility with our TAN (Thermally Applied Nickel) diffusion barrier. Our TAN  barrier is used to make the most mechanically robust modules that are designed to survive mechanical shock or extensive thermal cycling.


2. Ceramics

II-VI Marlow provides TE modules with three different types of ceramics depending on customer and application needs. The three ceramic types are aluminum oxide (alumina or AlO), beryllium oxide (BeO) and aluminum nitride (AlN). These different options for ceramics provide cost/performance advantages. AlO is the most common and lowest cost ceramic and can be provided with direct bond copper (DBC) for larger, higher current TE coolers for medical or industrial applications, or thick-film copper with nickel and gold plating for smaller telecom and defense applications. AlN is a high-performance (high thermal conductivity) substrate that can be provided with copper metallization and nickel and gold plating for telecom applications. BeO is also a high-performance ceramic that is sometimes used in telecom and defense applications that can be provided with thick-film copper with nickel and gold plating.


3. TE Modules

II-VI Marlow has extensive experience in building TE modules, sub-assemblies and heat exchanger assemblies for automotive, consumer, defense, industrial, medical, space and telecom markets. Depending on the market and customer requirements, these modules and assemblies may be built in our Dallas, Texas, USA, manufacturing facility or our Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, manufacturing facility. Our modules are built with different solders depending on customer needs, which might include RoHS compliance, high operating temperature, low-cost thermal cycling applications and high mechanical stress environments. Our TE module products range from small MIcroTEC modules (2mm x 3mm) to large single-stage modules (40mm x 80mm) to large six-stage TECs. II-VI Marlow provides heat exchanger assemblies used in medical, industrial, telecom and consumer-cooling applications. With this extensive manufacturing experience, II-VI Marlow adds tremendous value to our customers‘ development processes.

 

4. Manufacturing Capability of Systems

II-VI Marlow Industries is an experienced, high-volume manufacturer of systems with a well-established, low-cost supply chain and optimized solutions. These solutions combine all the aspects of thermoelectric systems to provide a balanced design to meet performance at the desired tradeoffs. Efficiency, acoustical noise, power budget, desired life and cost are all balanced for specific applications to tune a system to the customer’s needs. This balance is achieved by the expertise in the following areas:

  • Thermoelectric modules
  •  Interface materials
  •  Heat sinks
  •  Cold plates
  •  Heat sink/TEC assemblies
  •  Power supplies
  •  Pumps
  •  Fans
  •  Controllers
  •  Integrated power supply controllers
  •  Condensate management and sealing
  •  Packaging
  •  Noise abatement
  •  Energy management
  •  Commercial development
    •  Concept
    •  Design
    •  Verification/validation
    •  Listings
    •  Low-cost manufacturing

 

5. Manufacturing/Design Locations

II-VI Marlow has its Center of Technical Excellence located at its company headquarters in Dallas, Texas, USA, where all product and process development is completed and where prototype TE coolers and assemblies are developed and manufactured. Due to our commitment to the U.S. defense industry, II-VI Marlow will maintain a manufacturing presence in Dallas for the foreseeable future.

II-VI Marlow has its main manufacturing facility just north of Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. This ISO9001:2000-certified facility supports all of II-VI Marlow’s products will be the home of our future Asian Design Center.

Our European sales office provides applications engineering support along with sales and customer support. II-VI Marlow also has sales offices in Tokyo, Beijing and Singapore as well as distributors in Europe, Asia, Israel and South Africa.

 

D. Customer Support


 

II-VI Marlow provides application engineering support through our Dallas and Germany offices. Additionally, sales support can be provided through our Singapore, Tokyo, and Beijing offices. II-VI Marlow has additional sales representatives located throughout the world. Please contact us at marlow.sales@ii-vi.com