MetallographTech authorized global distributor and technical support for iimak’s Metallograph® thermal ribbon for flexible printed electronics .
We offer technical data on Metallograph® conductive ribbon, printer systems and substrates. At Metallograph Tech we offer you expert consulting. This allows you to learn first hand which projects can make the switch to Metallograph® to start making your printed electronics simpler, faster and more cost effective. And in some cases we can even help your printed electronics become more GREEN!
Metallograph® conductive ribbon can be used to make RFID tags, radiant heaters, LED circuits, switches, sensors, and a wide, variety of other flexible printed electronics. You can read about our various applications on our Applications Page.
To learn more specifically how we can support you with Metallograph and your flexible electronic printing go to our Services page. We are discovering new ways to use Metallograph® all the time.
At Metallograph Tech we are happy to work with you to discover new innovative ways to make Metallograph® thermal ribbon work for your next printed electronics project.
Metallograph® conductive ribbon for flexible printed electronics (FPE) is a family of thermal transfer ribbons developed by IIMAK specifically for printed electronics.
It is pure continuous aluminum and copper used for conductives, and polymer resin for insulating and dielectrics. Thermal transfer is simple, fast and economical, and there are both digital and analog printers.
It is especially suitable for producing flexible electrical circuits, sensor and LED mounts, RFID antennas & tags, radiant heaters, and more.
Materials for Transfer
The pure continuous aluminum ribbons for conductors represent our flagship product family. The resin ribbons function as insulators for conductor bridging in multilayer circuits, or as the dielectric for printed capacitors. There are clear protective overcoats, and resin ribbons of all colors for serialization and graphics. There is also a special purpose copper ribbon, currently only for experimental applications. Metallograph® conductive ribbon for flexible printed electronics transfers to films such as PET, PLA and polyimide, as well as to labels, tag, and graphic arts papers. Direct to paper or tag eliminates the inlay, and also meets the demand for eliminating plastic from RFID and recycle streams. Ribbons are primarily intended for digital thermal transfer printing (TTP), but they are also functional for hot stamping and cold foiling.
Thermal transfer conductors and dielectrics are factory made, under comprehensive quality assurance, so consistency is inherent.
In use there are no liquids, so printing is dry and requires no sintering. Transfer is immediate – the designer can have product to test within seconds, and the manufacturer has no set up or changeover time. The printers are industrial quality from the label and graphics arts industry, so they are reliable, precise and economical.
The foundation for reliably producing quality printed matter, comes from careful selection and optimization of the print system. That includes, the printer, substrates, inks & coatings, process control, software and finishing. We will help you identify an appropriate system for Metallograph® conductive ribbon and guide you through the learning stage.
Should your needs be unusual and complicated we can refer you to our expert consulting.
We have, for example, included laminations, multi-layer printing, screen printing of other electronic materials, and computer-driven die-cutting with Metallograph® printers. All of this is listed over on our Applications Page.
Common Print Systems for Metallograph®
The Gerber Edge
The Gerber Edge is the Industrial Precision Wide Benchtop for Metallograph®. It prints 12 inches wide, optionally applying multiple layers with high precision. It is immediately suitable for integration with traditional screen print and assembly lines. A precision CNC die cutter that matches the Edge makes part separation and transfer simple. Preferred Edge® print systems are assembled for you by Graphic Marking Systems.
Industrial Color Label Printer
This printer was designed to print premium process color labels, an application requiring high reliability and precision. It is ideal for multi-layer circuits where separate conductive traces are to be insulated where they cross, or must be separated by dielectrics to form capacitive structures It also can add concurrent text for identification and serialization.
Zebra Industrial Printers
The Zebra ZT600 and earlier model industrial printers have proven to us to be trouble-free for Metallograph® development, demonstration, prototyping and production. Printers of this type from other manufacturers are believed to be satisfactory, provided they offer high print heat.
DSM Rotary use a Patrón Tequila label tool for print demonstrations – we couldn’t think of anything better for our cross section of users.
For the highest volume production of identical items, like labels and packaging, analog print systems are more cost effective than digital.
Hot stamping is the appropriate technology for thermal transfer – a variant of the Metallograph® ribbon is manufactured and proven for this process.
We have proven it at 30 fpm, and it appears feasible at 100 fpm. Hot stamping is advantageous also because it is more tolerant of paper surface quality.
As an example, we expect to print RFID antennas on the inner surfaces of folding cartons. With a chip attach machine, and over-coating or laminating with paper in series, plastic inlays become obsolete as a result meeting an environmental goal for many brands.
Ribbon can also be transferred by foiling. The conductor pattern is printed on the substrate by flexography (or inkjet), dried of cured, with the ribbon pressed against the adhesive in a laminator or calendar. The ribbon is stripped away with the conductor bonded to the substrate.
Please contact us directly if you are interested in examples from our testing, or want to sample our ribbon.
MetallographTech Authorized Global Distributor
Substrates & Bases
Substrate selection is vital to print quality – savings by selecting a cheap alternative cannot be matched when scrap and lost time are realized.
Metallograph® conductive ribbon prints best by digital thermal transfer onto premium quality, high smoothness print receptive surfaces. Smoothness on paper means both microscopic and macroscopic scales. Microscopic means roughness from fibers and pigments, whether protrusions or voids.
Macroscopic refers to fiber clumps or in the trade, formation. Unless smooth on both scales ribbon contact with the surface will be uneven. Print receptivity is related to surface energy, itself a measure of wettability which is needed for bonding.
Most polymers have low surface energy so need a primer coating, or corona treatment. As TT is used extensively for adding variable data to labels and packages, there are a very large number of films, papers, label stocks and others useful for Metallograph®.
In our free sample portfolio we offer you receive a variety of substrate samples. Information on these substrates is provided in the ATTACHED BROCHURE.
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