CPI gains Ink Validation Capability

CPI enhances its speciality ink validation capability with the installation of a 32.4kW Heraeus Short Wave Infrared Sintering Unit onto its Nilpeter printing press. The unit, incorporated into CPI’s pilot-scale printable electronics facility, enables clients to improve ink conductivity by as much as 70% as well as allowing them to evaluate ink sintering levels at a pre-industrial scale.

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The near field infrared (NIR) unit can be used to evaluate a wide range of silver flake and nano conductive inks and builds upon CPI’s existing capability in the field of ink validation. CPI is the UK’s National Centre for Printable Electronics, focused on the commercialisation and scale-up of printable electronics. CPI is equipped with an extensive range of assets specifically chosen and developed to allow clients to understand how their products and processes perform under pilot manufacturing conditions.

CPI’s open access facilities allow clients to print electronically interactive items in a standard printing press environment alongside the ability to trial, validate and optimise specialty inks. The centre includes a reel to reel Nilpeter printing press, which has the capability to perform flexo, gravure, offset litho, rotary screen printing processes alongside cut/​crease operations and pick and place technology. CPI also has extensive scientific formulations capability allowing clients to develop products and processes quickly and cost effectively with minimal risk under one roof before moving towards manufacturing scale. The assets at CPI also allow the pilot production of development products and samples enabling customers to produce a volume of product for consumer evaluation, market testing and investment purposes.

CPI is involved in a number of commercial projects in regards to the pilot line. One of which is with Peratech, who is using CPI’s ink facilities to work on new ink formulations for pressure sensitive switches and sensors. Another is PragmatIC Printing Limited, who is utilising CPI’s pilot scale production facilities for their printed logic circuits that introduce intelligence and interactivity into a wide range of products and applications, in form factors that are not possible using silicon chips.

The flexible and conformable nature of printable electronics means that future intelligent and innovative applications are endless. Examples include embedding sensing and switching capabilities into products without wires, near-field communication devices, interactive packaging, toys, games and novelty items. The technology can also be used to create low cost, thin, flexible and interactive printed displays.