Coatema and SALD announce partnership for spatial atomic layer deposition at CES 2022


Technology start-up SALD BV (Eindhoven, The Netherlands) and machinery and equipment manufacturer Coatema Coating Machinery GmbH (Dormagen, Germany) have announced a far-reaching development partnership at the CES innovation trade show in Las Vegas. The common goal is to use the technology "Spatial Atomic Layer Deposition" (SALD) in industrial roll-to-roll production plants.

In the R2R process ("roll-to-roll"), a flexible starting material is unrolled, a structure is printed or imprinted and then rolled up again. In combination with SALD technology, it is possible to print nano-thin coatings with specific properties and functions onto the roll. R2R mass printing production is used for flexible electronic components, packaging films, textiles, solar and battery coatings, among others. SALD and Coatema plan to focus on battery technology, electrolytes and fuel cells as a first step. The R2R process is particularly well suited for low-cost mass production on a large scale.

SALD technology allows several layers to be applied on top of each other, each of which is as thin as a single atom. Nine layers on top of each other are just one nanometre thick. Different materials can be used to trigger specific chemical processes depending on the order in which they are printed, resulting in coatings with properties and functions previously thought unthinkable. The challenge is to transfer this technology, which is well known in materials research, to industrial mass production with flexible substrates such as plastic or metal foils. SALD BV is providing the nanoprocess technology for this, and Coatema is contributing the necessary machinery.

"For decades, manufacturing engineers have dreamed of using SALD in production. Now we are crossing this threshold and, together with Coatema, we are bringing atomic coating technology from the lab to industry, i.e. from lab to fab," explains Frank Verhage, CEO of SALD BV, proudly. Thomas Kolbusch, VP Coatema Coating Machinery, explains: "Coatema has been developing customised machines and systems based on the latest technologies for over 40 years. SALD brings us expertise in Spatial Atomic Layer Deposition, one of the most promising enabling technologies for broad industrial use, which can significantly improve many manufacturing processes in various industries." Erik Kremers, CTO of SALD BV, added: "We are experiencing strong demand from industry to bring SALD technology into mass production. We can satisfy this growing demand through the cooperation with Coatema."

In the SALD process, numerous different surface materials, such as metal oxide or metal nitride, can be applied to different substrate materials. The multitude of possible combinations results in an almost infinite spectrum of functions, depending on which materials are layered on top of each other, in which order and in how many layers. This makes it possible to create functionally completely different substances and complex compounds on almost any surface.

This results in the extremely broad industrial field of application of SALD technology, from chip production to battery cells, fuel cells, solar panels and textiles to ultra-thin tear-resistant films for packaging in the food and consumer goods industries. The cooperation between Coatema and SALD extends in perspective to all areas of application in which the roll-to-roll production process is used.

Caption: SALD and Coatema announced their partnership during CES 2022 in Las Vegas (photo: CTA)

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