3D Topography – Focalspec

Automated quality control of printed electronics development and manufacturing

Key challenges in printed electronics mass manufacturing

In printed electronics production, parameters such as the thickness, volume and roughness of conductors and films are critical quality factors. Traditionally, these parameters are controlled from samples by laboratory 3D topography scanners, which is time-consuming and causes longer production ramp-up times. Because of the use of expensive materials – e.g. conductive inks – faster process control also allows for savings in material costs.

Real-time topography measurement directly on manufacturing line

Our patented LCI technology provides a proven real-time 3D topographic measurement option for printed electronic production. The system based on FocalSpec LCI sensor technology tracks the microfluidic channels that are hot-embossed on the flexible polymer substrate and monitors their microscopic shape and depth in real time. Based on this, process parameters are immediately tuned in closed loop.

The first system utilizing our technology was installed in the VTT MAXI R2R pilot line in Oulu, Finland, in 2013. Improvements in product quality, ramp-up times and the control of material costs were proven and documented. The system is, among other installations in Europe, in active use.

Technology benefits

  • Very high measurement resolution capable of obtaining detailed information of printed microfluidic structures
  • FocalSpec LCI sensors have built-in signal processing power which greatly reduces the burden on other system components and makes integration work significantly faster and easier