Fraunhofer FEP and VON ARDENNE introduce solution for coating flexible glass in a roll-to-roll process

08.03.2017

FOSA LabX 330 Glass: a coating system for flexible glass (photo: VON ARDENNE)
FOSA LabX 330 Glass: a coating system for flexible glass (photo: VON ARDENNE)

The Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP, which is based in Dresden, Germany, and the machinery company VON ARDENNE, also based in Dresden, will intensify their cooperation in the field of the coating of flexible glass. Due to its properties, this new material is ideally suited as a substrate for various applications in flexible electronics. Since October 2016, the two partners have been operating the roll-to-roll coating system FOSA LabX 330 Glass together.

This new, innovative machine was especially developed for processing flexible glass by the equipment manufacturer VON ARDENNE, which is based in Dresden, Germany. It is the first of its kind worldwide. As all the components of the system are working very precisely, the sensitive glass can be wound, heated and coated. As the material is thinner than one-tenth of a millimetre, enormous technological expertise is required to guarantee the reliability of the process.

Within the KONFEKT project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the two partners seek to open up new fields of application and to demonstrate the efficiency of the system. SCHOTT AG and TESA SE, who are also involved in this project, provide, optimise and ensure the further processing of the substrate material.

At LOPEC 2017, which will take place on 29 and 30 March 2017 in Munich, Fraunhofer FEP will present coating samples of the FOSA LabX 330 Glass for the first time. VON ARDENNE will introduce the machine at its own booth.

“We have achieved excellent results on this system already during the first tests with transparent electrodes”, enthused Dr Matthias Fahland, deputy manager of the business area Flat and Flexible Products at the Fraunhofer FEP. “The system offers our customers a high potential for the development of innovative layer systems on flexible substrates”, he continued.

The exceptionally high quality of the coatings reached with the FOSA LabX 330 Glass is the basis for high-quality electrodes for organic light emitting diodes (OLED). These electrodes power organic light emitting diodes (OLED) with a size of up to 30x30cm in a steady manner. This is only one example for the numerous possible applications for the machine – be it for coatings or for layer developments in optoelectronics.

“Because of its outstanding properties, flexible glass will play a vital role as material of the future”, said Dr Andreas Nilsson, vice president Web Coating at VON ARDENNE. “We are looking forward to the new possibilities that this material offers. In the joint project with our long-term partner Fraunhofer FEP, we are transferring the necessary roll-to-roll vacuum coating process of flexible glass from a laboratory to an industrial scale. From this, we expect important cost benefits for everyone involved in the value chain.”

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