Teknek introduces new method of cleaning rollers in plastic electronic production
An innovative method of removing contamination from process rollers has been devised by Teknek Ltd, a leading provider of contact cleaning equipment with headquarters in Renfrewshire, UK. The new process has been developed in cooperation with the research institution Holst Centre in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, in order to enable the upscaling of plastic electronics production.
The process rollers used in a production line can be a major source of particulate contamination which can lead to defects such as scratches and dents on the film. The traditional method of cleaning these rollers is to use wet chemicals and wipe them down manually. However, often the process rollers are in hard to access places such as an oven, which makes them almost impossible to clean.
Teknek’s new Line Cleaner overcomes the problem by attaching a 1mm thick sheet of elastomer material to the top and bottom of the web (using splicing tape) at the unwind stage. This elastomer material has a unique chemical composition which attracts particles down to one micron in size. As the sheet moves through the process line it makes contact with each roller surface thus removing any dry unattached particles present. At the rewind stage, the “Line Cleaner” is removed and then disposed of, taking with it the contamination it has collected.
Sheila Hamilton, technical director at Teknek, said: “Considerable attention has been given to protecting coating lines from environmental contamination and in cleaning the substrate. However, little research has been done on the contribution that individual components within the coating line make to defect levels.” She added: “Our research demonstrated that rollers are a significant source of contamination leading to defects. Our novel solution provides an easy and quicky way for manufacturers to ensure that particles are effectively removed from all the rollers in the production line.”