The Sonoco Institute

The Sonoco Institute was created to exploit the synergies that exist between the graphic communications and packaging science departments. It is the only university program in the country with this one-of-a-kind multidisciplinary approach to packaging as a core competency.

Silver Nano Ink Conducts at 660fpm

The Sonoco Institute was awarded a contract to benchmark inks and processes for printing electronic components from FlexTech Alliance in July of 2010. Since being awarded the contract, Dr. Liam O’Hara has been heading up all necessary research and testing. Research started with hand proofing inks and baking samples in ovens in order to center the inks for conductivity. Now the research has moved to our Omet VaryFlex web press for testing. This press has the capability to run flexography, gravure, and rotary screen printing processes, which will all be used in order to find the benchmarks for printing electronic components.

Recently we have installed a FlexAir tunnel dryer on the Omet in order to create an in-line baking effect for the conductive inks to center. The dryer currently encloses 50 feet of web and can hold temperature up to 275° F. With this new capability, we were hoping to center the inks in-line to achieve resistance under 1 ohm.

The new dryer was put to the test using PChem Associates’ Conductive Flexo ink. Speeds around 400 fpm have been achieved in the past by using in line IR ovens to center this ink. While printing on a special paper from Sappi, the PChem Nano ink was printed at 660fpm (max press speed). At this speed, the ink had resistance reading at less than 1 ohm and quality was great. These same results were achieved using DuPont’s Teijen film. The next stage will be to use the tunnel dryer with the gravure unit printing the conductive ink.

Click on the link below to watch a short video of the 660fpm press run: