Intertronics supported the Advanced Textiles Research Group (ATRG) at Nottingham Trent University to produce electronic textiles that add functionality to garments and materials. After the company recommended dispensing Dymax Multi-Cure 9001-E-V3.5 encapsulating resin with the preeflow eco-PEN volumetric pump, and curing with a Dymax BlueWave QX4 UV lamp, the team at the university developed a microchip-containing pod which measures 1mm in diameter and is woven or knitted into textiles.
Recent advances in semiconductor and MEMS have decreased both size and cost. The ATRG is combining these components into the yarn-making stage to expand the opportunities for electronic textiles into areas like temperature sensing, motion sensing, medical monitoring, energy harvesting and illumination. By including the components into the yarn fibre, the fabric maintains the textile properties, such as tensile recovery, drapability and breathability.
“We visited the Advanced Textiles Research Group to discuss the challenges the researchers were facing, and to fully understand the process they wanted to achieve,” explained Matt Baseley, senior internal technical sales specialist at Intertronics. “Following our discussions, we suggested a few Dymax electronics-grade UV-curing encapsulants that were flexible and transparent. They trialled some samples and found that Dymax Multi-Cure 9001-E-V3.5 met their needs.
“Next, we discussed volumetric dispensing as an alternative to time/pressure dispensing, to remove variations from their process,” continued Baseley. “By dispensing volumetrically with the preeflow eco-PEN, they can have confidence that a consistent amount of encapsulant is dispensed every time. Once they had chosen the material and equipment, we helped them to fine-tune the micro-pod process to overcome any remaining challenges they were facing.”
“Intertronics were able to give us off-the-shelf solutions, fine-tuned to our needs,” explained Theodore Hughes-Riley, senior research fellow in Electronic Textiles at Nottingham Trent University. “This was particularly useful in helping us to set up a completely novel type of production line as quickly as possible.
“Through the course of several visits, Matthew Baseley and Paul Whitehead worked with us to refine our process, taking the time to teach us how to use the new equipment, and suggesting improvements. They were knowledgeable and approachable, which was vital to engagement with our diverse team and requirements,” added Hughes-Riley.