CPI announces roll to roll slot die/screen printing and encapsulation capability

The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) has recently installed a specialist roll to roll line for the printing, coating and patterning of a range organic and inorganic solution based coatings. The pilot production line is available on an open access basis and will aid the commercialisation of printable electronics applications including photovoltaics, OTFT and printed batteries amongst others.

The bespoke system consists of two pieces of equipment. The first toolset is currently configured for both roll to roll slot die coating and roll to roll rotary screen printing. A unique feature of this tool is that there is no active surface contact during the coating process, eliminating the potential for contact roller damage and defect generation. The second toolset is configured for roll to roll encapsulation utilising bake and lamination techniques.

The coating toolset is configured with web cleaning capability, two interchangeable print stations, and two convection drying ovens, each 2m long. The print stations are upgradeable for other coating techniques such as flexographic and gravure coating. The machine processes polymeric substrates ranging from 25 to 250µm thick and can accommodate a web width of between 200 and 410mm. Web tension can be controlled in the range 50 to 350N. The slot dies are capable of coating over a width of up to 280mm, blanket or stripe pattern coating can be achieved by utilising dedicated shims. The slot die heads are compatible with both aqueous and solvent based fluids with a viscosity in the range of 5 to 10,000cP, and typically produce dried film thicknesses from nanometre scale to 100µm depending on the application. The slot-die heads are also compatible with low pH fluids.

The roll to roll coating line is complemented by a supporting roll to roll encapsulation line designed to laminate films in an oxygen and moisture free environment. This tool builds upon existing batch capability at CPI, providing clients with a flexible environment to scale up their encapsulation process from feasibility right through to cost effective pilot production operations.

Mike Clausen programme manager at CPI says: “This added capability will allow users to investigate and solve the many challenges in moving from batch capability to roll to roll prototyping and pilot production. CPI looks forward to working with clients to accelerate the commercialisation of coating and lamination processes for printed electronics applications.”

Tom Austin-Morgan

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