Plastic films serve many purposes in everyday life. They are used for packaging food, as substrates for flexible solar cells, even as decorative films for furniture. To meet the requirements of various applications, films must be processed and coated.
There are several different procedures for the vacuum coating of plastic films that are suitable for specific cases of application, but there are also challenges, such as with coating larger film surfaces. Electron beam evaporation is a very complex and therefore expensive process that requires a significant investment; the boat evaporation process mainly involves the evaporation of aluminum and sputtering is time-consuming.
The multiTask project lays the foundation for an innovative, modular and highly flexible vacuum coating process.
“The innovation of this costing process resides in its tremendous flexibility,” said Steffen Straach, project head of the Flexible Products Division at Fraunhofer FEP. “In addition to aluminum, many other materials can be used, such as copper, silver and oxides, can be applied on any film width.”
The process can also be used as a plasma-supported procedure. The high coating rates and automated operations greatly increase the overall process.
As a result of the work carried out under the project, the groundwork had been laid for the partners, jointly with the operators or owner of foil coating plants, to develop customized technologies, bring new products to the market or optimize existing processes.