LOPEC 2014 explores production processes in printed electronics in Munich



A battery tester the size of a credit card produced live at a trade show? The LOPEC Demo Line makes it possible. From May 27th to 28th, eleven companies and two research institutes will demonstrate all the steps that it takes to produce a fully functional printed battery tester.

The LOPEC Demo Line will give visitors a look at the entire process - from printing and post-processing to monitoring and quality control - including each individual manufacturing step. The demonstrator will be manufactured in a roll- to-roll printing machine or a flat-bed screen printer, and visitors attending the fair can follow the entire process. The machines print several layers that consist of silver ink, conductive polymers and thermochromatic ink on top of one another with high precision. When developing the various processes, individual machines are often used on a laboratory scale. To allow visitors to experience the respective printing process, this part of the process is shown in detail on the Demo Line: Individual production stations that use screen and ink-jet printing techniques show the processing steps that it takes to make the battery tester.

Special drying cabinets are used to post-process the wet printed layers when they come out of the flat-bed screen printer. They dry the printed results layer for layer after each step. This step is already integrated into the roll-to-roll printing machine. The Demo Line also shows a special sintering technique that makes it possible to produce highly conductive structures based on silver or copper on paper or film, which could be used as conductor paths for electronic circuits or antennas in RFID applications, for example.

Because the components for control technology and quality assurance are usually integrated into the machines and out of sight, the LOPEC Demo Line will feature an extra machine that depicts these components.

The LOPEC Demo Line is a collaborative effort involving OE-A members, coordinated by Fraunhofer ENAS (Baumann Printing Research), based on an idea by TU Darmstadt (IDD Printing Science Technology), and in conjunction with Messe München. Participants include adphos, Bosch Rexroth, Coatema, DuPont Microcircuit Materials, Fujifilm Dimatix, Heraeus Precious Metals, LCR Hallcrest, Novacentrix, Schoeller Technocell, Thieme and Xenon Corporation.