Thinfilm’s Printed Electronics Fab awarded by IDTechEx
Thin Film Electronics ASA (Oslo, Norway), a leader in NFC mobile marketing solutions, has recently received the IDTechEx Technical Development in Manufacturing award in recognition of its pioneering roll-to-roll printed electronics fab in San José, California.
The IDTechEx Awards, presented as part of the Printed Electronics USA 2018 conference, recognise company development and success in the field of printed electronics. The Technical Development in Manufacturing award recognises the most significant development of a manufacturing device, process, or production plant in the industry over the last 24 months. Award recipients must demonstrate the optimisation of a lab-scale or mass-scale production process by improving productivity, quality, reliability, uniformity, or scale.
Thinfilm’s Junction Avenue facility features a 22 000 sq-ft printed electronics factory, the world’s first production roll-to-roll (R2R) printed electronics line using stainless steel substrates. The fab, designed for an annual production capacity of up to seven billion units, is optimised to enable production of low-cost, mechanically robust devices enabling high-volume applications, including NFC (near field communication) for mobile marketing, authentication, and supply chain services. Based on capital expenditures of approximately $36 million, the production equipment cost is multiple orders of magnitude below that of a conventional silicon fab.
The Junction Avenue project represents a significant technical achievement on multiple levels. Together with a global network of equipment manufacturers, Thinfilm developed a complete line of capital equipment capable of volume production based on a unique roll-to-roll process. Installation of the line commenced in late 2017, and Thinfilm recently announced the successful completion of the first fully roll-processed lots, featuring Thinfilm’s Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) anti-shoplifting technology. Beyond EAS, the factory is designed to roll-process mixed-signal ICs for the Near Field Communication (NFC) market, with initial lots expected to be complete in the first half of 2019.
“Thinfilm is honoured to receive the Technical Development in Manufacturing award in recognition of the successful bring-up of our San Jose fab, a best-in-class facility for billion-scale volume production of roll-to-roll printed ICs,” said Dr Davor Sutija, CEO, Thinfilm. “By combining the scalability, cost effectiveness, and robustness of printed electronics with the flexibility of pre-integrated cloud-based software, Thinfilm is focused on NFC mobile marketing and supply chain solutions enabling the Internet of Everything for brands, retailers, and industrial users.”
Caption: Thinfilm’s Electronic Article Surveillance (EAS) technology (photo: Thin Film Electronics)