From mid October to the end of November, Bosch in Stuttgart helped us with design optimization (DFMA). A team of engineers with different areas of expertise dismantled and documented a Nanocap, and did testing based on the company’s knowledge. They suggested a number of improvements regarding the product itself and the production. Their work gave very good results. By some 50 small adjustments in construction and internal design, the assembly time has been cut by more than 50%. Also, making smart choices when it comes to components, and finding a serial manufacturer that has the right purchase channels will help cut the cost of manufacturing by some 50% as well.
-“We are really happy with the service performed by Bosch. We have learnt a lot, and we have ensured that the design is robust enough to ensure that the Nanocap can be manufactured to very high quality”, says Andreas Tornblom CEO of Type1water.
Based on the work by Bosch we are currently searching for the right partner to manufacture the Nanocap. We started broad and have now shortlisted a handful potential partners for the task. We are comparing the partners on many different parameters such as production capacity, quality, distribution network, current framework agreements with suppliers and similar.
Keeping the Nanocap’s clean when sending it to different places for testing has proven to be quite challenging. We have strict requirements on what a user can do with the Nanocap and especially what the feedwater can contain. As it is built to polish already ultrapure water or create very pure water from drinking water, the Nanocap is built to work with a broad range of water qualities. Still, we need to ensure that it is absolutely pure inside before sending it off again. On its return, the Nanocap will be installed in our lab in Bromma where it’ll be thoroughly rinsed with water from another machine. The rinsing will run for days so that bacteria and as many particles as possible are flushed out before sending it to a new place for testing. Currently the “Bosch” machine will undergo cleaning over Christmas in order to be sent to Brussels in the beginning of next year.
After successfully completing the long-term testing at our lab in Bromma, Stockholm, one of the Nanocaps were packed down and prepared for shipping to the US. During early spring the Nancoap documentation were finished to a level so that it could be incorporated in the legal documents that has been set up to support the usage of the Nanocap in the US.
“But I believe we underestimated the legal work involved in sending the Nanocap overseas, why it has taken longer than expected to sort it out” says Andreas. “This work has been going on all summer. We have good legal representation in the US so we will get there sooner rather than later I hope. Obviously we want to be 100% sure on what we are doing and who owns what, and who has the right to information, results, technology etc. One also has to specify everything that can go wrong and what will happen if it does, so it is a lot of work.”
More progress has been accomplished in the manufacturing field. Any day now we go into collaboration with a German high quality technology provider to optimize the Nanocap as a product.
“The purpose of the prototypes was to prove that our technology can be packaged into a desktop instrument that works and looks good, is user friendly and can produce the quality that we are known for. That is now accomplished.” Now it is time for professionals in serial manufacturing to optimize the product to cut cost, maximize robustness, and make sure that it is simple to manufacture. This is called DFMA (Design for Manufacturing and Assembly) in product development language.
The word is spreading
Even without marketing we are receiving interest in the Nanocap from different parts of the world. We have received a handful of emails from businesses in both Asia and from the US asking about price, delivery time and other details. “This is very encouraging and indicates that there is a need in the market for the Nanocap”, says Andreas.
Samples drawn from long term testing of the Nanocap has been confirmed to be 1000 times better than the competition.
It is true, however, the quality of the analyses can be discussed. At the moment, only off-line analyses are easily available to us. Off-line analyses means bottling water at the source and sending it off to 3rd party for analyses. This method has the obvious drawback that any organic pollutant can grow uncontrollably before the time of measuring. (The standard for Ultrapure water states that water should be measured “on-line“, meaning measuring water at the source inside the process machinery.)
Still, the Nanocap water measured 1,35 µg/ litre after shipping to the US. The most stringent level for the semiconductor industry called “type1water” (where we got our name) specifies not more than 1,0 µg/l (on-line)! So we are almost reaching on-line levels with water stored in glass containers for weeks! – “That is remarkable!” – says Andreas Tornblom, CEO
Typical numbers for offline measurements by our competitors are around 1000 times higher – around 1mg/l.
Long term testing has proved that we can reach the anticipated performance. Smaller re-design of the clean chamber outlet has contributed to a simpler layout and a more stable quality of the produced water. As the core module is producing 100% pure water, great effort is taken to distribute the water from inside the Nanocap and out to the user without polluting it. This is harder than it seems. Any interference with the water, such as measuring its temperature or pumping it might cause particles to be released from pipe walls or from any of the components present. Even exposing the water to air will instantly cause carbon dioxide to dissolve and cause Ions in the water. Early measurement of the quality of the water produced, indicates that we are in the same region as our reference installations.
With most of the subsystems in place and tested, long-term testing was supposed to take place during Christmas/ Newyears 2020/2021. The test was started and the Nanocap is producing water of expected quality, slowly approaching the target quality. However, it turns out that performing a long-term test according to the set specification was a very labor intensive task. Small adjustments to enable automated testing will be performed in the first weeks of 2021
Market interest is high. We have long standing relationship with key people, companies and organisations on the market. With a few of them we have performed tests whit dedicated purpose built equipment, but this time we are creating a small “standard” unit for interested parties to test themselves. The unit, or Nanocap, will harness the full power and simplicity of our technology and will enable companies to try themselves at their own premises. “There is no better marketing than letting them use the Nanocap and compare the result with what they are using today.” says Andreas, the CEO of Type1water. “It is better to let the technology speak for itself, rater than we telling them how good it is…”
The prototypes will be shipped out as soon as they are ready. There is a list of companies wanting to use them so they will need to stand in line. Feedback will be collected so that all the user experience will be incorporated in the coming generation. Serial production based on feedback from the market will start during 2021. We are communicating to companies testing the prototypes that the Nanocap will be commercially available during 2021.
Development of the three first prototypes is going well. We will start testing components and subsystems as soon as they can be delivered to to the Xzero lab. When all the subsystems has been tested and possibly adjusted, long term testing will follow. “We have complete knowledge and experience of our own technology, but dressing it up as commercial product by adding new components, parts and software, one have to be very careful not to introduce too many problems” says Alexander, Production Manager at Xzero. “If eveything works well, we will be able to finish the sub-system testing and start long term testing by Christmas.”
In order to demonstrate the power and simplicity of the Xzero technology, a decision has been taken to develop a desktop unit using only one (1) Xzero cassette. The unit will produce 1 litre of nanoparticle free water per hour and will be primarily destined for labs in the semiconductor industry. The unit will be ready for long term testing by our partners in the end of 2020 and commercially available during 2021. The unit will harness the full benefit of the Xzero module, and through it small format serve as a possibility for potential customers to “touch and feel” before investing in the process industry version of the Xzero technology.
Xzero now has three regular customers for Type1Water. It’s been word of mouth. We are updating the manufacturing facility and will start regular marketing of Type1water in September 2017.
Handling of nanoparticles is becoming increasingly important in the advanced nanoelectronics industry. Xzero has developed equipment that is especially efficient in separating nanoparticles.
We have therefore begun selling Ultrapure Water in bottles for reference use. Our first customer is Manta Instruments in San Diego, California. Manta develops new technology for measuring nanoparticles and has assessed Xzeros water as the best on the market
Xzero has launched this special domain (Type1water.com) for the sale of small quantities of reference water.