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FlexTech Alliance today announced the successful conclusion to its Large-Area Roll-to-Roll In-Line Surface Metrology Program with 4D Technology Corporation of Tucson, Arizona. The product, the FlexCamTM Defect and Roughness Metrology Module, was launched to substantial interest in February at 2015FLEX in Monterey and will be featured in several upcoming events. This project was started in 2012 with the intent of developing high-speed inspection and measurement — two important measures of success in roll-to-roll manufacturing of electronics.
The project started with a request from FlexTech members for an inspection system which could provide insight into the characteristics of a web in motion. 4D Technology proposed, and was accepted to complete, the project. Important characteristics included: freedom from vibration of the rest of the system, detection of surface roughness in the 1 nanometer range, web speeds up to 1 meter per minute, and a field of view of 4 millimeters. The company's final product has exceeded several of the original technical targets and has demonstrated the expectation for further improvement. Originally intended for barrier film manufacturers, the FlexCam is also gaining interest for characterizing substrates and intermediate layers. Interest has also been seen in other market areas, including non-roll-to-roll applications, precision optics manufacturing, and in place measurement of roughness on polished metal parts in precision machining centers.
"The quick entrance to the industry and commercial interest in this unit is indicative of a successful FlexTech project," states Malcolm Thompson, chief technology officer at FlexTech Alliance. "4D Technology is delivering an advanced and easily-customizable tool to an industry that is re-writing the way electronics are built. It is supply chain advancements like this one that will enable a fully-realized Internet-of-Everything."
Dr. Erik Novak, Director of Business Development for 4D Technology, notes, "The product has been well received by the flexible electronics industry and we are actively negotiating with many companies for purchase of modules for in-line inspection. We are very pleased and express our appreciation to FlexTech, the Center for Advanced Microelectronics Manufacturing (CAMM), Vitriflex, and DuPont Teijin for their support in funding, testing and materials. FlexTech's Technical Council, and the broad range of expertise on the Council, was extremely helpful in creating useful specifications and interim feedback."
For more details on the 4D Technology FlexCam, visit www.4DTechnology.com.
About FlexTech Alliance
FlexTech Alliance is a leading industry association focused on growth, profitability, and success throughout the manufacturing and distribution chain of flexible, printed electronics and displays. By facilitating collaboration between and among industry, government and academia, FlexTech Alliance develops solutions for advancing these technologies from R&D to commercialization. For more information on FlexTech Alliance, visit www.flextech.org.