Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
VACUUM PUMPING AND/OR ABATEMENT SYSTEM
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2019/092427
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A vacuum pumping or abatement system comprising: a first apparatus (32) and a second apparatus (31), each of the first and second apparatuses (32, 31) being either a vacuum pumping apparatus or an abatement apparatus, the first apparatus (32) comprising a first fluid inlet and the second apparatus (31) comprising a second fluid inlet; wherein the system has a first system dimension and a second system dimension (22) perpendicular to the first system dimension; the first and second apparatuses (31, 32) are arranged such that: they are adjacent in a first direction along the first system dimension; the first inlet and the second inlet each face in a direction along the first dimension; and the first apparatus (32) only partially overlaps the second apparatus (31) in the second system dimension (22).

Inventors:
DEO, Hammond (Edwards Limited, Innovation Drive, Burgess Hill Sussex RH15 9TW, RH15 9TW, GB)
BAILEY, Christopher Mark (Edwards Limited, Innovation Drive, Burgess Hill Sussex RH15 9TW, RH15 9TW, GB)
PUTTICK, Stuart Martin (Edwards Limited, Innovation Drive, Burgess Hill Sussex RH15 9TW, RH15 9TW, GB)
Application Number:
GB2018/053241
Publication Date:
May 16, 2019
Filing Date:
November 08, 2018
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
EDWARDS LIMITED (Innovation Drive, Burgess HillSussex, RH15 9TW, RH15 9TW, GB)
International Classes:
F04B37/14; F04B41/00; F04C25/02
Domestic Patent References:
WO2008143442A12008-11-27
Foreign References:
EP2815800A22014-12-24
DE202015005199U12015-08-18
EP1109204A22001-06-20
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
RAWLINS, Kate (Edwards Limited, Innovation Drive, Burgess Hill Sussex RH15 9TW, RH15 9TW, GB)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS

1 . A vacuum pumping or abatement system comprising: a first apparatus, the first apparatus being either a vacuum pumping apparatus or an abatement apparatus, the first apparatus comprising a first fluid inlet; and a second apparatus, the second apparatus being either a vacuum pumping apparatus or an abatement apparatus, the second apparatus comprising a second fluid inlet; wherein the system has a first system dimension and a second system dimension perpendicular to the first system dimension; the first and second apparatuses are arranged such that: the first apparatus is adjacent to the second apparatus in a first direction along the first system dimension; the first inlet and the second inlet each face in a direction parallel with the first direction; and the first apparatus only partially overlaps the second apparatus in the second system dimension such that the second inlet of the second apparatus is not overlapped in the second system dimension by the first apparatus to any extent.

2. The vacuum pumping or abatement system of claim 1 , wherein the first apparatus abuts the second apparatus in the first direction.

3. The vacuum pumping or abatement system of claim 1 or 2, further

comprising: a first pipe coupled to the first fluid inlet; and a second pipe coupled to the second fluid inlet.

4. The vacuum pumping or abatement system of claim 3, wherein at least one of the first pipe and the second pipe is a straight pipe.

5. The vacuum pumping or abatement system of claim 4, wherein both of the first pipe and the second pipe are straight pipes.

6. The vacuum pumping or abatement system of any of claims 3 to 5,

wherein the first apparatus is arranged such that a distance between the first apparatus and the second pipe in a second direction along the second system dimension is minimised.

7. The vacuum pumping or abatement system of claim 6, wherein the first apparatus abuts the second pipe in the second direction.

8. The vacuum pumping or abatement system of any of claims 1 to 7,

wherein the first apparatus and the second apparatus have substantially the same dimensions.

9. The vacuum pumping or abatement system of any of claims 1 to 8,

wherein the first apparatus and the second apparatus are the same type of apparatus.

10. The vacuum pumping or abatement system of any of claims 1 to 9,

wherein the first apparatus and the second apparatus are vacuum pumping apparatuses.

1 1 . The vacuum pumping or abatement system of any of claims 1 to 10, further comprising a frame, wherein the first apparatus and the second apparatus are both wholly located within a volume defined by the frame.

The vacuum pumping or abatement system of any of claims 1 to 1 1 , wherein the first system dimension is a dimension in a substantially vertical direction and the second system dimension is a dimension in a substantially horizontal direction.

The vacuum pumping or abatement system of any of claims 1 to 12, wherein the first apparatus is positioned on top of the second apparatus.

14. The vacuum pumping or abatement system of any of claims 1 to 13, wherein: the first apparatus has a top side and a bottom side opposite to its top side; the first fluid inlet is located at the top side of the first apparatus; the second apparatus has a top side and a bottom side opposite to its top side; the second fluid inlet is located at the top side of the second apparatus; and the first and second apparatus are arranged such that the bottom side of the first apparatus opposes the top side of the second apparatus.

15. A modular vacuum pumping or abatement system comprising: a plurality of modules; wherein a module of the plurality of modules comprises: a first apparatus, the first apparatus being either a vacuum pumping apparatus or an abatement apparatus, the first apparatus comprising a first fluid inlet; and a second apparatus, the second apparatus being either a vacuum pumping apparatus or an abatement apparatus, the second apparatus comprising a second fluid inlet; wherein the system has a first system dimension and a second system dimension perpendicular to the first system dimension; the first and second apparatuses are arranged such that: the first apparatus is adjacent to the second apparatus in a first direction along the first system dimension; the first inlet and the second inlet each face in a direction parallel with the first direction; and the first apparatus only partially overlaps the second apparatus in the second system dimension such that the second inlet of the second apparatus is not overlapped in the second system dimension by the first apparatus to any extent; the plurality of modules are arranged adjacent to one another in the second system dimension; and each of the modules has a maximum size in the second system dimension that is a respective integer multiple of a common fixed system value.

Description:
VACUUM PUMPING AND/OR ABATEMENT SYSTEM

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to vacuum pumping and/or abatement systems.

BACKGROUND

Vacuum pumping and abatement systems are used in varied and different technological fields, for example semiconductor fabrication. Typically, in said systems, vacuum pumping equipment is used to pump gas (e.g. gas from an industrial process) out of a particular location, and abatement equipment is used to abate (e.g. destroy or dispose of) undesirable substances (e.g. exhaust gas) which have been produced.

Depending on the processes involved, there may be different criteria for vacuum pumping and abatement. For example, it is typically desirable to use different vacuum pumping equipment for different processes involving different process gases, different gas pressures, and different gas flow. Also, it is typically desirable to use different abatement equipment to destroy or dispose of different undesirable substances, or deal with different gas flows.

Vacuum pumping and abatement systems are typically designed bespoke according to the particular processes with which they will be used. However, the amount of time spent designing, manufacturing and installing such a bespoke system is typically prolonged because different processes require different vacuum pumping and abatement system solutions.

SUMMARY OF INVENTION

In a first aspect, the present invention provides a vacuum pumping or abatement system. The system comprises a first apparatus, the first apparatus being either a vacuum pumping apparatus or an abatement apparatus, the first apparatus comprising a first fluid inlet, and a second apparatus, the second apparatus being either a vacuum pumping apparatus or an abatement apparatus, the second apparatus comprising a second fluid inlet. The system has a first system dimension and a second system dimension perpendicular to the first system dimension. The first and second apparatuses are arranged such that: the first apparatus is adjacent to the second apparatus in a first direction along the first system dimension, the first inlet and the second inlet each face in a direction parallel with the first direction, and the first apparatus only partially overlaps the second apparatus in the second system dimension such that the second inlet of the second apparatus is not overlapped in the second system dimension by the first apparatus to any extent. The first and second apparatuses may be offset in the second system dimension.

The first apparatus may abut the second apparatus in the first direction.

The vacuum pumping or abatement system may further comprise a first pipe coupled to the first fluid inlet, and a second pipe coupled to the second fluid inlet. At least one of the first pipe and the second pipe may be a straight pipe. For example, both of the first pipe and the second pipe may be straight pipes. The first apparatus may be arranged such that a distance between the first apparatus and the second pipe in a second direction along the second system dimension is minimised. For example, the first apparatus may abut the second pipe in the second direction.

The first apparatus and the second apparatus may have substantially the same dimensions. The first apparatus and the second apparatus may be the same type of apparatus. For example, the first and second apparatuses may both be vacuum pumping apparatuses. The vacuum pumping or abatement system may further comprise a frame.

The first apparatus and the second apparatus may both be wholly located within a volume defined by the frame.

The first system dimension may be a dimension in a substantially vertical direction and the second system dimension is a dimension in a substantially horizontal direction. The first apparatus may be positioned at a first side (e.g. on top) of the second apparatus. The first apparatus may have a first side (e.g. top side) and a second side (e.g. a bottom side) opposite to its first side. The first fluid inlet may be located at the first side of the first apparatus. The second apparatus may have a first side (e.g. a top side) and a second side (e.g. a bottom side) opposite to its first side. The second fluid inlet may be located at the first side of the second apparatus. The first and second apparatuses may be arranged such that the second side of the first apparatus opposes the first side of the second apparatus.

In a further aspect, the present invention provides a modular vacuum pumping or abatement system. The modular system comprises a plurality of modules. A module of the plurality of modules comprises a first apparatus, the first apparatus being either a vacuum pumping apparatus or an abatement apparatus, the first apparatus comprising a first fluid inlet, and a second apparatus, the second apparatus being either a vacuum pumping apparatus or an abatement apparatus, the second apparatus comprising a second fluid inlet. The system has a first system dimension and a second system dimension perpendicular to the first system dimension. The first and second apparatuses are arranged such that the first apparatus is adjacent to the second apparatus in a first direction along the first system dimension, the first inlet and the second inlet each face in a direction parallel with the first direction, and the first apparatus only partially overlaps the second apparatus in the second system dimension such that the second inlet of the second apparatus is not overlapped in the second system dimension by the first apparatus to any extent. The plurality of modules are arranged adjacent to one another in the second system dimension, and each of the modules has a maximum size in the second system dimension that is a respective integer multiple of a common fixed system value.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

Figure 1 is a schematic illustration (not to scale) showing a vacuum pumping and/or abatement system; Figure 2 is a schematic illustration (not to scale) showing a perspective view of the vacuum pumping and/or abatement system;

Figure 3 is a schematic illustration (not to scale) showing a perspective view of a module of the vacuum pumping and/or abatement system; and

Figure 4 is a schematic illustration (not to scale) showing a front view of the module of the vacuum pumping and/or abatement system.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In the following description, it will be appreciated that relative terms such as horizontal and vertical, top and bottom, above and below, front and rear, and so on, are used below merely for ease of reference to the Figures, and these terms are not limiting as such, and any two differing directions or positions and so on may be implemented rather than truly horizontal and vertical, top and bottom, and so on. Figure 1 is a schematic illustration (not to scale) showing a modular vacuum pumping and/or abatement system 2. The system 2 is fluidly connected to an entity 4 via a plurality of fluid input lines 6, commonly referred to as "forelines", between the system 2 and the entity 4. Although, for ease of depiction, four fluid input lines 6 are shown in Figure 1 , it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that in practice any number of fluid input lines 6 may be present, e.g. 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5, etc. The entity 4 may, for example, be a chamber or room used in an industrial process such as semiconductor fabrication. The system 2 is also fluidly connected to an exhaust line 8. Although, for ease of depiction, a single exhaust line 8 is shown in Figure 1 , it will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that in practice any number of exhaust lines 8 may be present, e.g. 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5, etc.

The system 2 is also connected to a facilities supply 14 via a plurality of facilities input lines 16. The facilities supply 14 is configured to supply facilities to the system 2 via the plurality of facilities input lines 16. The term "facilities" is used herein to refer to resources which are used by the system 2 to support the main pumping/abatement function of the system 2. These facilities allow the system 2 to operate properly during use. Examples of facilities include facilities fluids (e.g. liquid coolant, city water, de-ionised water, clean dry air, methane, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen), electrical power and/or electrical signals carried by electrical connections, and optical signals carried by optical connections (e.g. optical fibres). In operation, the system 2 pumps gas out of the entity 4 via the fluid input lines 6 and/or abates (e.g. destroys or disposes of) undesirable substances produced by the entity 4 which may be present in the pumped gas. The system 2 also pumps exhaust gas (which may be gas which has undergone an abatement process) out of the system 2 via the exhaust line 8, thereby to remove the exhaust gas from the system 2.

The system 2 comprises a plurality of modules 10, which may also be referred to as "units" or "slices". Each module 10 comprises one or more apparatuses 12. Each apparatus 12 is configured to perform a respective function within the system 2. For example, an apparatus 12 may be a vacuum pumping apparatus for pumping gas out of the entity 4, an abatement apparatus for abating undesirable substances produced by the entity 4, an inverter for converting DC electrical power into AC electrical power, an electronic controller for controlling operation of all or part of the system 2, or a facilities apparatus for providing to the modules facilities such as cooling water, clean dry air and power lines for module subsystems. However, the one or more apparatuses 12 are not limited as such. In general, each of the apparatuses 12 may be any apparatus which is used in a vacuum pumping and/or abatement system. In some embodiments, two or more of the apparatuses 12 are substantially identical and/or perform substantially the same function as each other. The vacuum pumping and/or abatement system 2 may be an integrated system. The term "integrated system" may be used to refer to two or more modules 10 integrated together into a common system, the modules 10 being selected from the group of modules consisting of: a module 10 comprising vacuum pumping apparatus, a module 10 comprising abatement apparatus, and a module 10 comprising a controller for controlling the vacuum pumping and/or abatement apparatuses. Figure 2 is a schematic illustration (not to scale) showing a perspective view of the modular vacuum pumping and/or abatement system 2. In this embodiment, the plurality of modules 10 of the system 2 are positioned in a side-by-side, contiguous arrangement and coupled together to form the system 2. Each module 10 is attached to one or more adjacent modules 10.

The system 2 comprises facilities lines 20 and vacuum pumping and/or abatement lines 21 . The facilities lines 20 may include pipes (e.g. metal pipes) configured to permit the flow of facilities fluid therethrough, and/or electrical or optical connections such as wires or optical fibres. The vacuum pumping and/or abatement lines 21 may include pipes (e.g. metal pipes) configured to permit the flow of pumped gas therethrough.

The fluid input lines 6 and exhaust line 8 are omitted from Figure 2 for the sake of ease of depiction.

In this embodiment, each module 10 has a width 22 (and/or other dimension, but for sake of convenience it shall be referred to as a lateral dimension or more simply a 'width') which is equal to an integer multiple of a common system value, hereinafter referred to as "x" (e.g. x, 2x, 3x, 4x, 8x, 12x, 15x, and so on). In this embodiment, the width 22 of a module 10 is its maximum lateral dimension, and one or more portions of a module may have a lateral size that is less than the (maximum) width of the module.

The value x may be, for example, a value in the range 10mm - 200cm, or more preferably 10mm - 100cm, or more preferably 10mm - 90cm, or more preferably 10mm - 50cm, or more preferably 10mm - 20cm, or more preferably 10mm - 10cm, or more preferably 10mm - 5cm, or more preferably 20mm - 50mm, or more preferably 30mm - 40mm. Example x values include, but are not limited to, 10mm, 1 1 mm, 22mm, 40mm, 41 mm, 42mm, 43mm, 44mm, 45mm, 46mm, 47mm, 48mm, 49mm, 50mm, 88mm, 176mm, 352mm, 704mm, 1 1 cm, 22cm, 100cm, 175cm, 200cm, etc. Preferably, x is equal to 44mm or about 44mm. The exact value chosen for 'x' tends not to be critical and any appropriate value can be chosen. Figure 3 is a schematic illustration (not to scale) showing a perspective view of a module 10 of the modular vacuum pumping and/or abatement system 2.

Figure 4 is a schematic illustration (not to scale) showing a front view of the module 10 depicted in Figure 3. The module 10 comprises a frame 30, a first vacuum pumping apparatus

31 , and a second vacuum pumping apparatus 32. Hatching has been used to indicate the first and second vacuum pumping apparatuses 31 , 32 in Figure 4. The frame 30 is coupled to a base 34. The first and second vacuum pumping apparatuses 31 , 32 are both disposed at least partially, and more preferably wholly, within the volume defined by the frame 30 and the base 34. The frame 30 comprises a plurality of interconnected bars coupled to the base 34. In some embodiments, the base 34 of the module 10 provides a support structure, or docking structure, into which the frame 30 and the rest of the module 10 may be docked. The base 34 may be adapted to be fixed to the ground. The width of the base 34 may be an integer multiple of the common system value "x".

The module 10 has a front side 36, a rear side 37, a top side 38, a bottom side 39, and two opposing lateral sides 40. The base 34 is disposed at the bottom side 39.

The width 22 of the module 10 is the maximum size of the module in the lateral dimension (i.e. in the direction between the lateral sides 40 of the module 10). This width 22 is an integer multiple of the common system value x. In some embodiments, the width 22 of the base 34 defines the width of the module 20.

The height of the module 10 is the distance between the top side 38 and the bottom side 39. In this embodiment, the heights of all of the modules 10 in the modular system 2, including the module 10 depicted in Figures 3 and 4, are substantially equal to each other and may be, for example 190cm-200cm, e.g. about 198cm.

The depth of the module 10 is the distance between the front side 36 and the rear side 37. In this embodiment, the depths of all of the modules 10 in the modular system 2, including the module 10 depicted in Figures 3 and 4, are substantially equal to each other and may be, for example 130cm-140cm, e.g. about 134cm.

The module 10 is configured to be attached to one or more other modules 10 via either or both of its lateral sides 40 in order to construct the vacuum pumping and/or abatement system 2.

The first and second vacuum pumping apparatuses 31 , 32 are substantially the same as each other, and in particular have substantially the same dimensions as each other. However, in other embodiments, the first and second vacuum pumping apparatuses 31 , 32 may be different types of apparatus and/or have different dimensions to each other.

In this embodiment, the second vacuum pumping apparatus 32 is located above (i.e. on top of) the first vacuum pumping apparatus 31 . In other words, the first and second vacuum pumping apparatuses 31 , 32 are adjacent in the vertical direction. The first and second vacuum pumping apparatuses 31 , 32 may be in contact with each other, i.e. a top surface of the first vacuum pumping apparatus 31 may be in contact with a bottom surface of the second vacuum pumping apparatus 32. Alternatively, first and second vacuum pumping apparatuses 31 , 32 may be spaced apart in the vertical direction.

In this embodiment, the first and second vacuum pumping apparatuses 31 , 32 overlap in the lateral direction (i.e. the direction between the two opposing lateral sides 40), and more specifically, only overlap partially, not wholly, in the lateral direction. Thus, there is a portion of the first vacuum pumping apparatus that is not overlapped in the lateral direction by the second vacuum pumping apparatus 32, and vice versa. In other words, the first and second vacuum pumping apparatuses 31 , 32 are staggered in the horizontal direction.

In this embodiment, the module 10 further comprises a first fluid input line 21 a and a second fluid input line 21 b. The first and second fluid input lines 21 a, 21 b may form part or a whole of a respective foreline 6.

The first fluid input line 21 a is a substantially straight pipe or line arranged substantially vertically. The first fluid input line 21 a has a first (or top) end, and a second (or bottom) end opposite to the first end. In this embodiment, the first end of the first fluid input line 21 a is attached or coupled to the entity 4 (not shown in Figures 3 and 4). Also, the second end of the first fluid input line 21 a is attached or coupled to a fluid inlet 42 of the first vacuum pumping apparatus 31. The fluid inlet 42 of the first vacuum pumping apparatus 31 is located at a top (i.e. upper) surface of the first vacuum pumping apparatus 31 . Thus, the first fluid input line 21 a provides a substantially straight line, pipe, or connection between the entity 4 and the first vacuum pumping apparatus 31 .

The first fluid input line 21 a may be substantially parallel to a lateral side of the second vacuum pumping apparatus 32. A side of the first fluid input line 21 a is located near to a lateral side of the second vacuum pumping apparatus 32. For example, a side of the first fluid input line 21 a that is closest to the second vacuum pumping apparatus 32 may be within a predefined threshold distance of the closest lateral side of the second vacuum pumping apparatus 32. This threshold distance may be any appropriate distance, for example, less than or equal to 1 mm, less than or equal to 2mm, less than or equal to 3mm, less than or equal to 4mm, less than or equal to 5mm, or less than or equal to 10mm. This threshold distance may be a multiple or a fraction of the common system value x. Preferably, the lateral spacing between the first fluid input line 21 a and the second vacuum pumping apparatus 32 is minimised. More preferably, the lateral spacing between the first fluid input line 21 a and the second vacuum pumping apparatus 32 is substantially zero, i.e. preferably the side of the first fluid input line 21 a abuts the lateral side of the second vacuum pumping apparatus 32. Advantageously, this tends to reduce or minimise the size or footprint of the module 10, at least in the lateral dimension, while at the same time providing that the first vacuum pumping apparatus 31 receives a respective gas input via a substantially straight connection (i.e. the substantially straight first fluid input line 21 a).

In operation, the first vacuum pumping apparatus 31 pumps gas from the entity 4 into the module 10 (in particular, into the first vacuum pumping apparatus 31 ) via the first fluid input line 21 a. The first vacuum pumping apparatus 31 then pumps the received gas through the module 10 and discharges the pumped gas out of the module 10 (e.g. to another module 10 or out of the system 2 entirely via the exhaust line 8).

The second fluid input line 21 b is a substantially straight pipe or line arranged substantially vertically. Preferably, the second fluid input line 21 b is substantially parallel with the first fluid input line 21 a. The second fluid input line 21 b has a first (or top) end, and a second (or bottom) end opposite to the first end. In this embodiment, the first end of the second fluid input line 21 b is attached or coupled to the entity 4 (not shown in Figures 3 and 4). Also, the second end of the second fluid input line 21 b is attached or coupled to a fluid inlet 44 of the second vacuum pumping apparatus 32. The fluid inlet 44 of the second vacuum pumping apparatus 32 is located at a top (i.e. upper) surface of the second vacuum pumping apparatus 32. Thus, the second fluid input line 21 b provides a substantially straight line, pipe, or connection between the entity 4 and the second vacuum pumping apparatus 32. In operation, the second vacuum pumping apparatus 32 pumps gas from the entity 4 into the module 10 (in particular, into the second vacuum pumping apparatus 32) via the second fluid input line 21 b. The second vacuum pumping apparatus 32 then pumps the received gas through the module 10 and discharges the pumped gas out of the module 10 (e.g. to another module 10 or out of the system 2 entirely via the exhaust line 8).

Advantageously, both of the first and second vacuum pumping apparatuses 31 , 32 pump gas from the entity 4 via respective substantially straight forelines (i.e. the first and second fluid input lines 21 a, 21 b). A straight foreline between the entity and a vacuum pump via which gas is pumped from the entity tends to provide for improved pump efficiency compared to, say, if a non-straight (i.e. a bent) foreline was used. Also, this tends to allow for the use of smaller vacuum pumping apparatuses (e.g. lower power and/or physically smaller vacuum pumping apparatuses) to achieve a given gas pumping rate compared to if a non-straight forelines were used. Use of straight forelines also advantageously tends to inhibit the collection of solid process material within the line. Solid process material buildup within lines may dislodge and subsequently damage the pumping mechanism. In this embodiment, the module 10 further comprises facilities lines, which have been omitted from Figures 3 and 4 for reasons of ease of depiction. The facilities lines may be attached to the first and second vacuum pumping apparatuses 31 , 32 for the purpose of providing one or more facilities to those apparatuses 31 , 32. The facilities lines may include one or more lines which are configured to receive facilities fluid from outside the module, direct the facilities fluid through the module 10 (e.g. through one or both of the vacuum pumping apparatuses 31 , 32), and discharge the facilities fluid out of the module 10 (e.g. to another module or out of the system 2 entirely). The facilities lines may include one or more lines which are configured to convey electrical power, electrical signals, or optical signals through the module 10, e.g. to and/or from one or both of the first and second vacuum pumping apparatuses 31 , 32.

Thus, a modular vacuum pumping and/or abatement system is provided.

Each module having a width that is an integer multiple of the same predetermined, common system value x advantageously tends to provide that the lengths of the connection lines (e.g. fluid lines, the pipes, conduits, power lines, or anything else that is used in the vacuum pumping and/or abatement system) used to connect together those modules may also have lengths that are an integer multiple of the same predetermined common system value x. This tends to allow for the pre-manufacture of standardised connections lines, which tends to reduce assembly/installation time and cost. Furthermore, sections of connection lines for connecting the modules can be configured in advance of system installation thereby to further reduce installation time.

The space (or footprint) occupied by an installed vacuum pumping and/or abatement system tends to be an important factor in system design. A reduced footprint tends to lead to greater productivity. Advantageously, the above described modular system tends to provide for reduced footprint of the overall system. Furthermore, predictability of the total footprint of the system is improved.

The size of a vacuum pumping and/or abatement arrangement tends to be at least partially dependent on the pumping and/or abatement performance that is required to be achieved and, as different arrangements are required to achieve different pumping performance, modules in the system have different constraints on module size. The modules having a width dependent on the common, predetermined value 'x' tends to provide that the modules can be configured to occupy a minimum or reduced amount of space or footprint, and also tends to provide that the system comprising those modules can be configured to occupy a minimum or reduced amount of space or footprint.

In the above embodiments, a module of the system comprises two vacuum pumping apparatuses arranged one on top of the other in a staggered manner. In some embodiments, one or more modules of the system each comprise two or more vacuum pumping apparatuses arranged one on top of the other in a staggered manner. The two or more vacuum pumping apparatuses of a module may be arranged such that respective fluid inlets of each of the vacuum pumping apparatuses are not obstructed, i.e. such that they are accessible and may be coupled to respective fluid inlet lines, and preferably to substantially straight respective fluid inlet lines.

In the above embodiments, each vacuum pumping apparatus in the staggered arrangement is coupled to the entity via a respective substantially straight fluid inlet line. However, in other embodiments, one or more of the fluid inlet lines is non-straight, i.e. inlet lines comprising one or more bends or curves may be used.

In the above embodiments, each vacuum pumping apparatus in the staggered arrangement is coupled directly to the entity via a respective fluid inlet line. However, in other embodiments, one or more of the vacuum pumping apparatuses is connected to a different object, system, or apparatus. For example, a vacuum pumping apparatus may be connected, via a respective fluid inlet line, to a different module of the system such that that vacuum pumping apparatus may pump gas from that other module via the fluid inlet line.

In the above embodiments, the apparatuses arranged in the module in the staggered arrangement are both vacuum pumping apparatuses. However, in other embodiments, one or more of the apparatuses is a different type of apparatus, for example, an abatement apparatus. ln the above embodiments, the heights of all of the modules in the modular system are substantially equal to each other and may be, for example 190cm- 200cm, e.g. about 198cm. When installed in a system, the height of a module may be greater than 198cm, for example due to connection lines extending from a top of the module to connect that module to other modules. In some embodiments, one or more of the modules has a different height to one or more of the other modules. Also, in some embodiments, one or more (e.g. all) of the modules has a height other than 190cm-200cm. Preferably, each of the modules has a height that is substantially equal to an integer multiple of some common value, e.g. the common system value x or a value y that is different to x.

In the above embodiments, the depths of all of the modules in the modular system are substantially equal to each other and may be, for example 130cm- 140cm, e.g. about 134cm. However, in other embodiments, one or more of the modules has a different depth to one or more of the other modules. Also, in some embodiments, one or more (e.g. all) of the modules has a depth other than 130cm- 140cm. Preferably, each of the modules has a depth that is substantially equal to an integer multiple of some common value, e.g. the common system value x, the value y, or a value z that is different to x and y.

In the above embodiments, the modules are arranged and connected together as described in more detail earlier above with reference to Figures 1 and 2. In particular, the modules are connected together in a side-by-side, contiguous arrangement, each module being attached to one or more adjacent modules at one or both of its lateral sides. However, in other embodiments, the modules may be positioned or arranged, and connected together in a different way. For example, in some embodiments, spaces or gaps exist between adjacent modules. Such spaces may facilitate access by a user, e.g. for performing servicing or maintenance operations. Preferably, the sizes of the spaces or gaps between adjacent modules are an integer multiple of the common system value x. This tends to facilitate connection between the spaced apart modules by the connection lines. In some embodiments, one or more modules may be attached to one or more adjacent modules at a side other than one of its lateral sides. For example, embodiments, a module is attached to a different module at its rear side.




 
Previous Patent: PHOTOSENSITIVE DEVICES

Next Patent: VACUUM SYSTEM PIPE COUPLINGS