A first time InPrint exhibitor is Sensor Films and we talked with Peter Hessney about the technology, what makes this inkjet technology so unique.
First, tell me more about the business, how did you get started?
Sensor Films was founded 4 years ago, to develop high-throughput production processes for very low cost touch sensors. Our process incorporated inkjet as a key step, it brought all the efficiencies of a digital workflow to processes that were faster and used less energy than traditional screen printing methods. We developed competitive solutions to both resistive and procap touch modules, and along the way learned more about the value inkjet can bring to masking and pattern deposition of decorative and functional inks. We see that industrial inkjet will significantly impact the future of more cost effective printing processes.
What is the aim of the business?
Our aim is to create a digital manufacturing platform that provides amodular, scalable architecture enabling manufacturers to achieve their production goals.
Sensor Films is developing additive manufacturing processes focused on industrial inkjet deposition of decorative and functional inks on a variety of substrates. Our technologies bring production efficiencies to established industries and provide enabling processes for emerging markets such as flexible hybrid electronics, biosensors and related applications.
So the focus is on functional materials?
Yes. While there is a very large industrial inkjet sector printing decorative inks on textiles, ceramics and other surfaces, we are focused on printing functional materials such as masking agents, etchants or electrically important materials on a range of substrates that includes plastics, glass and metals.
What are the industries wherethe technology has been picked up?
Our customers make products that serve the health and wellness markets, appliance and automotive markets and increasingly the emerging wearable electronics and sensing markets. These all offer great potential for high growth provided economic production solutions can be commercialized.
Tell us more about the Starlight machine, which you will be exhibiting for the first time at InPrint USA?
SFI launched the Starlight Digital Manufacturing Platform just over a year ago, and has received very positive reviews from industry experts. Over the past 12 months, we have met with hundreds of prospective customers from across the US, Europe and Asia. We are working hard to build a global reputation for addressing their critical manufacturing needs.
In March of last year we received the 2016 Flexi Award for innovation in flexible electronics equipment. Since then we have met with some of the largest manufacturers in the world to explore how they can adopt SFI’s Starlight digital manufacturing solution and change how they make their products. We believe the adoption of our new processes will enable creation of new devices with exciting new features.
What kind of printhead do you use?
While we believe the end-user application dictates the choice of printhead, the Starlight Digital Manufacturing Platform uses the Xerox M-Series inkjet printhead. This printhead has been proven in the commercial print market and offers features that we find useful in broader industrial print applications. The M-Series head has a reputation for being able to print more fluid per unit time than any other head on the market. Also, the nozzle architecture and printhead design allows this printhead to print functional inks that may clog, corrode or destroy other printheads.
So how does this technology compare to screen printing?
Today, the majority of printable electronics components are produced on a screen printer. So the same device that prints T-shirts can be used to make elements for sophisticated medical devices. The companies in this industry are looking to make the transition from the analog world of the screen press to the dynamic world of digital manufacturing and this is what SFI is delivering today. Industrial scale digital manufacturing technology using inkjet deposition devices that are configured to address the needs of companies looking for rapid prototyping, economical short run production and scalable technical solutions to grow seamlessly as their new markets grow in importance.
For more information on Sensor Films check out their website http://sensorfilmsinc.com/
For specific enquiries contact Peter Hessney here: email@example.com