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Nuevo equipo modular para manipular sustratos, materiales y herramientas en entornos en los que se utilizan cajas de guantes


Oferta Tecnológica
Una agencia de investigación italiana ha desarrollado un equipo modular de manipulación para aplicaciones dentro de entornos en los que se utilizan cajas de guantes que facilita la transferencia de sustratos, materiales y herramientas. La invención simplifica los pasos de aquellos procesos que implican la presencia de un operario que trabaja en un entorno controlado y utiliza uno o más guantes. Todo el equipo funciona con componentes mecánicos, materiales e infraestructuras diseñados e integrados específicamente para evitar la contaminación en la atmósfera controlada. La agencia busca socios industriales interesados en establecer acuerdos de licencia y cooperación para continuar con el desarrollo.


Novel modular technology to ease the transfer of substrates, materials and tools in glove-boxes environments.
An Italian Research Agency has developed a modular handling equipment suitable for applications inside glove-boxes environments to ease the transfer of substrates, materials and tools. The invention simplifies process steps involving the presence of a human operator who operates the controlled environment by the means of one or more gloves. The agency is looking for industrial partners interested in license agreements and in cooperation for further development.
Among the most critical issues in electronic devices lab-scale processing (in particular in the case of organic or hybrid devices) there is the level of contamination unintentionally introduced by the presence of a humidity/solvents/oxygen-contaminated environment. Such contaminations are responsible of electric performance's decay from expected/theoretical values, both in the fabrication process and during the characterization procedure, since no effective packaging is provided in this phase. To manage the complexity of the abovementioned steps, it is common practice to embed the processing environment and the end-of-line characterization probes inside purified glove-box environments, which are able to provide a contaminant-free environment. The drawback of such approach is the limitation of the physical interaction between a human operator and the purified environment, which is accessed through impermeable gloves fixed to circular windows. In particular, when the extension of the processing area exceeds the range of the Operator's arm, devices and materials handling would become slow and prone to accidental errors, reducing the process yield and productivity..
The technology offered addresses samples and materials handling issues, by applying a modular and scalable equipment to pre-existent glove-boxes topologies. The handling equipment can be laid on the floor of the glove-box, avoiding the presence of fixed obstacles (i.e.: cables and tools) and arranged in arbitrary topologies by connecting the correct combinations of its modules. The whole equipment is operated through mechanical components, materials and infrastructures which are designed and integrated specifically to prevent contaminations of the controlled atmosphere. Possible applications of the technology are related to lab-scale environments requiring handling in extended purified atmosphere environments. Chemical processing lines, small semiconductor processing and characterization facilities, biologic samples preparation and inspection equipments, pharmaceutical products preparation infrastructures can also take advantage from such technology.
Advantages and Innovations:
Design flexibility, ease of customization and simplicity of operation, joined to cost-effective modules production are key innovative points of the proposed technology.

· Low customization costs. The equipment can be fitted virtually to any glove-box system, then no expensive full-custom solutions are required for the handling purposes
o No specific expertise is required for a basic solution deployment
· Low cost of deployment of production plants (suitable for SMEs)
o The typical cost of a production plant is contained: (a) for small volumes, cost is about 37000 Euro by 3D printing; (b) for large volumes, a pilot line made by 8 thermoplastic molds can cost about 70000 Euro
· Low production cost of an instance of a typical equipment
o The typical cost of production of a small-scale equipment (made by 4 linear modules, 1 motor module, 1 connection line, 1 curve module, 21 pillars, 1 carrier, 1 winder module - length: about 1.5m) obtained from the previously described plants would be:
- (a) 1200/1300 Euro
- (b) about 200 Euro
· Increase in the process productivity
o On a lab-scale implementation (path length: about 1.5m) typical transfer times drop from 180s (full manual) to 40s (equipment-aided).
o Upscaling benefits: The time savings can increase on larger-scale solutions because a higher number of glove-touches is avoided
· Increase in process yield
o On a lab-scale implementation (path length: about 1.5m) the number of glove-touches is reduced from 4 to 2, then the handling error probability is roughly reduced to the half.
o Upscaling benefits: as the transfer equipment scales up, the number of glove touches can be reduced from a linearly increasing amount ( O(n) - where n is the number of glove windows which is proportional to the transfer path's length) to a fixed amount ( O(1) - the glove touches are reduced to the operation of loading and unloading the carrier).
Stage of Development:
Available for demonstration
Patent(s) applied for but not yet granted

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
· Type of partner sought:
o industry having the specific interest in adding value to its own glove-boxes by providing semi-automated handling equipments
o maintenance/processing equipments industry interested in integrating lab-scale processing lines with glove-boxes and efficient handling facilities
· Specific area of activity: manufacturing of glove-boxes or processing system integrator
· Tasks to be performed:
o Commercial agreement with technical assistance. Technical cooperation agreement to finalize the patent transfer.


Type and Size of Client:
R&D Institution
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
Languages Spoken:


Technology Keywords:
02007005 Materiales compuestos
02007014 Plásticos, polímeros