It's easy to get caught up in the obvious components of plasma-based etch and deposition equipment. Who makes the sturdiest equipment? What is this company's track record? Does this company offer the type of equipment I need to handle my projects? Those are all perfectly important questions during your vetting process.
But what about service?
The level of service a etch and deposition equipment supplier provides to you should be a make-or-break consideration. Below are five service-oriented features your supplier should absolutely provide to you as a customer.
1. Support & Service
In today's consumer-centric ecosystem, your etch and deposition equipment supplier should provide far more than simply equipment; they should be your partner. Finding an equipment provider that can help you handle your unique etching needs is critical. You want world-class customer support that's readily available, capable of fielding complex questions, and able to assist with both production and etch/deposition processes.
In a nutshell, your etch and deposition equipment provider should offer the following three buckets:
- Technical support: When you invest thousands in a piece of equipment, you should expect world-class customer service. This includes tech support for software, hardware, and processes, and you should be speaking with highly-qualified industry pros — not just another customer service agent.
- Unparalleled recipe support: Your provider should offer support for both pre-installed and custom recipes. However, at the very least, you should receive free-of-charge support for all pre-installed recipes. After all, those are pre-installed by your provider; shouldn't they help you understand, navigate, and utilize them appropriately?
- Multi-channel support: From equipment operation to maintenance and troubleshooting, you need support options. But you also need those support options across channels. Your supplier should handle on-site, online, and over-the-phone support.
When you purchase a piece of equipment this complex and this expensive, you deserve a year of hardware and software support. It should be bundled directly into your package at the date of hardware acceptance. However, you should also have the ability to purchase annual service and maintenance contracts to support you past your first year.
Reputable suppliers will leverage on-site industry experts to assist you with equipment status, compliance, maintenance, and ongoing support. You want end-to-end maintenance support with multiple layers.
We've spent years cultivating a team of the brightest minds, and our equipment is built using the highest-quality parts and expert craftsmanship. But it can still fail. User error, time, heat, and all of those vicious environmental elements can cause part issues. So, when things go south, you want a guarantee that you can purchase the right spare to repair your precious equipment.
Setting up new equipment, installing and navigating new software, and starting up processes on brand-new hardware is a learning experience. You shouldn't have to go through that experience alone. Reputable equipment providers will guide you through the entire process of onboarding your new equipment. Afterward, your new plasma partner should help you review equipment needs, establish equipment guidelines, and showcase proper operations and start-up procedures.
Having best-in-class customer support, a world-class network of spares providers, and an international reputation is great. But if your equipment doesn't come with a warranty, you should do a double-take. You're looking for a warranty that covers:
- Travel expenses
- Component failures
- Manufacturing defects
- Software (e.g., bug fixes, upgrades, etc.)
In other words, you want an end-to-end warranty. Generally, hardware will be under a 1-year free warranty. After that, you should have the option to purchase additional warranties to safeguard your equipment investment.
Plasma-based etch and deposition equipment exists in a very technical, niche, and granular space. Don't buy without research. Finding the right providers is equally (if not more) crucial than finding the right equipment.
Are you ready to work with a plasma-based etch and deposition equipment supplier that understands your needs? Download our free eBook "How to Choose a Plasma Etching and Deposition Partner."