Breakthrough Improvements in Touchscreen Production
A new manufacturing process allows touchscreens to be flexible, curved, 3-D or wearable.
Heraeus recently announced that, in collaboration with the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI), it has developed an improved mass-manufacturing process for its Clevios™-based films used in touch panels and sensors for a variety of electronics devices. This process will reportedly enable companies to use Clevios-based films to produce touchscreens with greater functionality, including the ability to be flexible, curved, 3-D or wearable.
The collaboration involved researching the application of Clevios PEDOT conductive polymer-coated films (provided by EOC/Nanya Plastics and Eternal Materials Co.) to fully functional 7-in. touch panels. Optimum parameter sets with wide process windows were determined for all of the processing steps, including sensor patterning, silver trace printing, FPC bonding, and touch sensor film lamination. Process run cards and quality control steps were implemented, and statistical analysis was performed to characterize the process. The touch panels produced were fully functional; five-point multi-touch and pilot production suggested high yields. In addition, a new fine-line low-temperature silver paste, LT Silver® P optimized for Clevios touch sensors, was used for the silver trace screen-printing.
“After presenting the world-first foldable 7-in. Clevios touch panel integrated with a flexible AMOLED display at Touch Taiwan in August, this is another milestone of our successful cooperation with Heraeus in the field of conductive polymer touch panel technology,” said Janglin Chen, Ph.D., vice president of ITRI and general director of ITRI’s Display Technology Center.
According to Ralf Droste, Ph.D., head of the display and semiconductor business line at Heraeus, the new stable manufacturing process will provide immediate and long-term benefits for touch panel companies from lower costs to the ability to incorporate greater features and functionality. “We’ve developed a clear roadmap to enable companies to quickly implement Clevios technology into their manufacturing processes,” he said. “It allows companies to offer the next generation of foldable touch devices, where Clevios exceeds the performance and functionality of all other transparent conductors.”