Design & Manufacture
DEK – Reel-to-reel solution for continuous substrate manufactureOct 31 2007 - Design & Manufacture [More Design & Manufacture Articles]
A new printer incorporating a reel-to-reel handling solution has been unveiled by DEK. The system is designed to enable precision printing onto continuous substrates such as flexible printed circuits and advanced synthetic materials. Reel-to-reel printing delivers an accurate, cost-effective and versatile process solution to optimise complex and continuous assembly, says the company.
Reel-to-reel (R2R) precision screen printing enables manufacturers to deposit advanced materials onto flexible substrates directly from the reel. By combining DEK’s expertise in precision alignment and versatile clamping with tooling solutions that meet the specific demands of large, flexible substrates, the new dedicated R2R printer is able to print onto substrates typically up to 150 metres in length and 500mm wide. This ‘unique’ ability is ideal for use with flexible printed circuits (FPC), organic LED substrates, non-conductive materials, fuel cell membranes and a wide range of foils, papers and composites. Applications range from rope lights and lighting systems such as those used to illuminate airliner aisles and emergency exits, to automotive instruments, mobile phones, RFID tag technologies and laptop PCs.
Reel-to-reel replaces the conventional transport system used to drive boards in and out of the print area with three vacuum beds and a clamping system. Deploying a range of proven technologies, Reel-to-Reel is specifically designed to optimise handling efficiency and throughput of continuous substrates, featuring robust and repeatable motion-control and substrate-clamping techniques to enable step-and-repeat sequences that maximise control and minimise waste, says the company.
“As the popularity of continuous flexible substrates intensifies, we have used our unique screen printing knowhow to develop this advanced and proven reel-to-reel technology,” said DEK’s Michael Brown. “As a complete process solution, reel-to-reel not only delivers accurate positional indexing and tension management mechanisms, but also ensures the very lowest cost-of-ownership through enabling ultra-fast equipment changeover. Engineered for optimum process efficiency and throughput, reel-to-reel is further evidence of why our customers around the world expect more.”More news from DEK -2004/5