ProtoFab - Flexible Circuits – Printing and Assembly
The integration of electronics with flexible form factors increases the freedom for product designers to embed technology and functionality into their designs, creating the opportunity for innovative products that are connected, lightweight and conformable. A whole range of novel applications become possible — such as smart bandages, conformable lighting and intelligent packaging, which can utilize the Internet of Things to provide users with real time information.
This three day course combines a theory day on functional printing and emerging electronic technologies with two days of high-value practical sessions, which teach attendees how to produce their own products. The theory will be hosted at CPI’s Printable Electronics Centre in Sedgefield and the practical session will be hosted at CPI’s facility in Newton Aycliffe. The hands-on sessions will allow the attendees to experience printing and circuit assembly, and include demonstrations of full-scale production tools. The course is delivered by experienced operators and technical experts, and will also cover process development, scale up and troubleshooting.
Attendees will learn how to design, print and produce their own prototype electronic devices, making it ideal for early career researchers and engineers, or those wishing to understand more about functional printable electronic circuits.
Highlights include the opportunities to:
- Screen print conductive circuits
- Pick and place components to produce a functional device
- See a demonstration of a full scale printing press and CPI’s new component integration line
Upon completion participants will be able to:
- Identify and employ different printing techniques to produce circuits
- Design and assemble electronic devices
- Propose routes to scale up, from prototype production to full scale manufacturing, and assess the challenges involved
- Identify and troubleshoot common printing and assembly issues
Registration is now closed. To register your interest in participating in this course, please contact David Bird.
In this course, learning is split between classrooms and practical sessions. The classroom sessions will provide the background knowledge necessary to make the most of the hands on sessions. The whole course is structured to cover the elements needed to produce a working device, from electronic design, ink formulation, printing and assembly. We also encourage attendees to tap into the knowledge and ‘know-how’ our specialists have as all sessions are designed to be interactive.
Theory Day — 19th March
Five sessions will be delivered in CPI’s Printable Electronics Centre. Each session will last approximate one hour and will be delivered by our Technology Managers.
Introduction to Printable Electronics (1 x 1 hour)
This session will introduce the technology area including the Internet of Things, and how it can be applied to a wide range of industries.
Print Training (2 x 1 hour)
There are two sessions in this area starting, with Printing and Coating for Electronic Devices, outlining the techniques and equipment such as flexography and screen printing commonly used to create flexible, large area circuits. This is followed by Materials and Formulation for Printable Electronics, looking at the materials required, including paper and plastic substrates, and the formulation of functional inks.
Electronic Devices (2 x 1 hour)
This section starts with Electronic Design for Printable Electronics, considering the possibilities and design tools available. Component Integration follows, examining the practical considerations of flexible electronics, combined with Electronic Product Development, looking at product development from concept to prototype production.
Practical Course — 20th, 21st March
After an initial site induction participants will work through a process to produce their own functional electronic device and see how this production process could be scaled up to manufacturing volumes.
The day starts with the basics of screen printing, starting at a small scale and then moving to work with a larger scale semi-automatic printer. Participants will learn all they need to produce their own printed circuits and work with our trainers to understand common print quality issues and the reasons for them. It’s an opportunity to pick up some of the experience of our operators and understand printing beyond the theory.
Production Scale Printing Press
Attendees will see how a printing process can be transferred to a large scale, roll to roll printing press, which is required to produce the high volume, low cost products of printable electronics. This session will also allow attendees to use flexographic printing equipment to produce test prints.
With their finished printed tracks, attendees will move on to the challenge of handling tiny electronic components. They will pick up tips and tricks from our electronic engineers and learn how to use adhesives, check alignment and circuit functionality so that they can produce their own functional devices.
Automation of Pick and Place
To show how device assembly can be automated some of CPI’s equipment will be demonstrated including the new Integration Line. The routes to upscale production will be discussed, including the advantages and challenges involved.