Holst Centre extends Roll-to-Roll line with new sintering tool


Holst Centre, an open-innovation initiative by imec (B) and TNO (NL), has released a new proprietary roll-to-roll (R2R) sintering platform for fast and low-temperature curing of printed conductive structures. This new tool is a next step in the creation of a complete tool set for R2R manufacturing. It enables Holst Centre and its industrial partners to further advance technologies for R2R manufacturing of plastic electronics, such as flexible OLEDs, organic PV and smart packaging.

High web speeds and low temperatures are key elements for R2R manufacturing of plastic electronics. The sintering platform uses a new photonic sintering process, developed by Holst Centre, which heats only the printed target material rather than the whole carrier substrate. The tool can sinter printed conductive structures in less than a second, which is already enabling a fast throughput speed of over 5 meters/minute. It also works at significantly lower temperatures than traditional sintering techniques, preventing distortion of the carrier substrates and reducing energy costs.

“Initial results from the sintering platform have been very good,” said Erwin Meinders, program manager Printed Conductive Structures at Holst Centre. “The sintering platform is an important step towards fast R2R manufacturing of flexible OLED and OPV devices. The tool will be used to further advance the developed photonic sintering technology and to investigate new low-temperature sintering techniques and materials, such as next generation copper inks.”

Holst Centre started development of a complete R2R testing line two years ago. The line now includes printing, coating, drying and lamination stages in addition to the new sintering unit. A vacuum deposition stage is currently in development.

About Holst Centre
Holst Centre is an independent open-innovation R&D centre that develops generic technologies for Wireless Autonomous Transducer Solutions and for Systems-in-Foil. A key feature of Holst Centre is its partnership model with industry and academia around shared roadmaps and programs. It is this kind of cross-fertilization that enables Holst Centre to tune its scientific strategy to industrial needs.
Holst Centre was set up in 2005 by imec (Flanders, Belgium) and TNO (The Netherlands) with support from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Government of Flanders. It is named after Gilles Holst, a Dutch pioneer in Research and Development and first director of Philips Research.
Located on High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Holst Centre benefits from the state-of-the-art on-site facilities. Holst Centre has over 160 employees from around 25 nationalities and a commitment from over 20 industrial partners.