Following thorough preparation, the engineers from Adenso have successfully processed pure (!) ultra-thin glass off the roll under high-vacuum conditions – without limitations or damage. And the rear laminates and transport support that were once necessary are no longer needed.
Thanks to the Adenso ultra-thin glass winding system, neither the process length, temperature nor winding direction have any impact on the substrate material. The gentle handling and treatment means that all process variants can be repeated as often as required in any combination.
Since the ultra-thin-glass substrates are currently extremely valuable and so available only in very limited quantities, the fact that Adenso UTG modules can reliably process even the very smallest process units of less than 1 m (!) is highly significant. This also ensures very short process times. The customer has a usable product after just 40 minutes, whereby more than 30 (!) samples possessing different process parameters can be taken from a 30-metre roll.
This is a milestone in many respects: firstly, it demonstrates the process reliability of Adenso ultra-thin glass winding systems for vacuum processes (as well as for atmospheric and protective gas environments). The Adenso ultra-thin glass modules form a compact system (installation area: approx. 1 m2) suitable for industrial use. It is based on the Adenso R2R platform, which, as a technologically proven system, can be adjusted to requirements solely by means of customer-specific configurations, which saves valuable resources and, above all, ensures process reliability.
And in addition, from a single, highly valuable substrate web, it is now possible to test not just one parameter configuration as used to be the case, but numerous parameter variants in different configurations – and faster than ever before, too. The system can also be quickly and easily converted for other processes. Thanks to the repeat accuracy of the system, test series can be split as required and seamlessly continued after days, weeks or even months.
The future aim is to standardize the UTG processing, because the winding system configurations currently have to be adapted for different ultra-thin-glass substrates from different manufacturers. This is not a problem as things stand, because Adenso helps its customers to find the right set-ups. The Adenso UTG platform could make a major contribution to developing this standard.
A central role is played by the substrate materials: as a system manufacturer, Adenso has to find the right solutions for processing customer substrates. This early technological stage offers potential for helping to define the parameters of the manufacturing process for ultra-thin glass, which would prove extremely useful for any future standardisation.
Adenso UTG winding systems offer more than ultra-thin glass winding: Ultra-thin glass is “merely” the principal field of activity. Thanks to their exceptional precision and dynamics, Adenso’s winding systems are suitable for all kinds of substrates such as plastic (e.g. with 0.9 µm), metal (e.g. with 5 µm) or membrane films. Fabrics, textiles, fibres, hollow fibres and lots more are also possible.
Process times – sample calculation:
- Pumpdown: 30 min / 5 × 10–5 mbar
- Process cycle: 1 m – approx. 0.1 … 5 min
- Ventilation: 5 min
= Total: 40 minutes for 1 m of ultra-thin glass, i.e. the customer has a usable product!
- The Adenso ultra-thin glass winding systems represent the optimum level of technological feasibility when it comes to ultra-thin glass processing from the roll and form the basis for a new industry standard.
- Adenso UTG process modules are an attractive and economical proposition for start-ups, universities, research institutes and production plants that are interested in ultra-thin glass processing and looking to set up their own facilities with technological support.
- As an established network partner, Adenso supports start-ups and spin-offs with high-quality technological concepts, offering ultra-thin glass technology, equipment, know-how, capital and so on.
Outlook for Adenso:
For Adenso, this milestone is in no way the end of the development process. On the contrary, thanks to this demonstration of proven process reliability, we can now embark headlong on a journey of extensive and broad-based technological research, a process already initiated by the numerous partnerships with universities, research institutes and industry partners.