At Sensors Expo 2018, Jaye Tyler, President and CEO of Si-Cal Technologies, an industrial screen-printing operation for advanced printed electronics, discussed how his company approaches electronic printing projects. The company prints in sheets and roll to roll screen printing processes. In sheets, they perform low volume printing very cost-effectively. In the sheet process, they can determine whether a process is manufacturable. When printing needs to be performed in high volume, the process is transferred to the roll to roll technique.
To ensure a successful process, the company wants to be part of the front-end design with the client. This allows them to validate if a particular device is manufacturable and afterward determine if the device can be scaled for high volume. They focus their expertise primarily on medical devices, where they print conductive layers for end products such as defibrillator pads, EKG strips, EKG and ECG devices. However, they also provide printed electronics for other industries and applications. For RFID applications they print antennas. For the automotive industry and some consumer applications, they print heaters.
When the company has not been involved early in the front-end of design and manufacturing, they have found during the prototyping phase that the material choices often do not work properly. The materials for the conductive inks need to be designed for the film substrates on which they are printed. To keep the end product flexible and lightweight, the substrates are only from 2 to 10 mils thick. Early involvement ensures that both the prototypes and high-volume products are manufacturable.