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Infra-red system prints on electronics without changeover

Hevacomp : 11 September, 2013  (New Product)
Heraeus Noblelight has developed an innovative infra-red module which can significantly increase productivity in the printing of electronic products by eliminating the need to change over the curing/drying/sintering module whenever the printing technique, printing ink or base material is changed.
Infra-red system prints on electronics without changeover
Printed electronic components and products are very much on the increase, providing RFID (radio frequency identification), as integral features of telephone and credit cards (smart cards), providing protection against copying or as security features in identity cards and passes. To produce such printed electronic components, organic or metallised inks are applied to plastic foils, paper or glass. By curing, drying and sintering, the required conductive properties are achieved and at the same time the coating is firmly joined to the base material.
All conventional printing processes, such as screen printing, inkjet, gravure and Flexo, can be used to produce printed electronic components. The inks used are organic or metallised inks and these can be used with many materials such as paper, plastic foil or glass. Curing, drying and sintering are processes necessary to obtain the required conductivity or the semi-conducting or dielectric properties. These processes can be carried out by UV emitters, LEDs, flash lamps, warm air ovens or infra-red systems. According to which type of ink and base material is used, and which type of printing is employed (sheet-fed or offset), the manufacturer must generally replace the curing/drying/sintering source module, or install several different modules, after each change.
The new custom-built module from Heraeus features an intelligent control system and minimizes this time-wasting effort, as several different drying and sintering processes can be carried with the aid of a single, custom-built infra-red system. This new infra-red solution is available in two versions, to allow an individual matching of the system with the ink, material, printing process and feed speed.
Version 1 employs an infra-red module which is fitted with only one type of emitter. Here the requirements for the different applications are realized by means of an intelligent control unit.
Version 2 features a single infra-red module fitted with various types of emitter matched to the heating zones of several drying and sintering zones. Both versions provide controllable infra-red power density in the range 20 to 220kW/m2 . Emitter filament temperatures are from 1200 to 3000C, so that the infra-red spectrum can be optimally matched with the reflection and absorption characteristics of the inks and the substrates. The optimum distance between emitter and product is also important. With tests, feed speeds of up to 60 meters per minute can be achieved.
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