UV/EB technology enables new manufacturing processes.
adTech recently honored innovative companies that use fast emerging industrial processes. UV and EB technology offers fast throughput, superior product performance, energy efficiency and environmentally proactive processes that exemplify the enabling and paradigm shifting use of the technology in manufacturing and research and development.
The RadTech Emerging Technology Committee recognized these companies at RadTech 2012, the biennial UV and EB Technology Conference and Exhibition, which took place April 30-May 2 in Chicago. Award winners include:
Conductive Film Manufactured Using a Low-Cost UV-Curable Transparent, Roll-to-Roll Process by Micro and Nano-Embossing
UniPixel Inc., The Woodlands, TX
Today’s electronic devices can be thought of as a complex stack of layers or films. One of the most critical functions of a film in an electronic device is that of conductivity. The dominant technology used for transparent conductive films are thin films of indium tin oxide (ITO). However, ITO has several major problems, including cost, future availability, brittleness and flexibility.
UniPixelhas taken a novel approach in solving these problems, reportedly offering a significant advantage over the production of most other conductive films. In addition to the conductive film solution, the company has taken the concept of micro- or nano-embossing UV-curable films to develop anti-fingerprint and security films. In addition, the company has also developed a high-performance, hard but flexible coating now being targeted as a protective layer for devices such as touch screens. UniPixel’s films are being tested in a large range of products, including touch screens, cell phones, 2-D and 3-D televisions, and PVs. The key is that all of these products have been enabled by using UV-curable materials and coatings.
EB Coatings for Decorative Laminates on Film Substrates
Interprint NA, Pittsfield, MA
Interprint is a worldwide leading designer and printer of decorative papers used as the design layer in laminate surfaces, such as kitchen countertops, flooring, furniture, and retail fixtures. To supplement this paper-based business, the company recently invested in equipment that cures coatings applied to a printed oriented polypropylene (OPP) with an electron beam. The resultant product reportedly provides excellent moisture and scratch/abrasion resistance. It also offers exceptional print fidelity, mitre foldability and gloss with low energy consumption, carbon footprint, and cost.
UV Used to Make the World’s Lightest Structure
HRL Laboratories LLC, Malibu, CA
A new UV photopolymerization technique has been developed to create or “architect” microlattice materials in a rapid, scalable fashion. The microlattice materials are formed by using a self-propagating waveguide phenomenon that can occur under certain exposure conditions. Because the waveguides propagate from a single exposure plane and can interconnect during formation, thick 3-D polymer microlattice materials can be formed in less than one minute with features ranging from tens of microns to millimeters.
The inherent flexibility of this new approach can enable precise control of the microlattice material architecture, which ultimately allows for the design of a material to achieve a particular property or function. These new materials can be used in applications ranging from lightweight energy absorbing structures to thermal management materials to bio-scaffolds. These materials have also been used to create the world’s lightest structure enabled by UV technology.
RadTech is the non-profit trade association for ultraviolet (UV) and electron beam (EB) technologies. For more information, visit www.radtech2012.com.