The Self-Guided Additive Manufacturing for Minimum
Carbon Emission with Roll-to-Roll Production System -- or
SAMMCERS – uses a high-speed lithographic process to
print conductors and some types electronic components
directly onto a flexible multi-layer substrate. In order to
maintain high levels of precision, the system incorporates
real-time self-guidance mechanisms based on an interactive
cloud system. It boasts the ability to reduce overall carbon
emissions in the mass production of most key components
of consumer electronics, solar panels, light fixtures, Internet
of Things sensor networks, automotive electronics, cloud
servers, and storage equipment by more than 50 percent.
Electronics on a Roll
Roll-to-roll printed circuit board production employs a
flexible substrate that is continuously fed from the beginning
of the line. This substrate serves as the carrier for electronic
components and allows for the successive aggregation of
product elements which are cut into discrete modules at the
end of the assembly process.
“The conventional [roll-to-roll] process involves high-voltage and high-vacuum steps, such as sputtering of metal
films, lithography, and plasma etching,” Linda Liou, director of
development for the institute, says in a recent interview with
Product Design & Development. “Such a process produces
large quantities of carbon emission,” she concluded.
In contrast, said Liou, the SAMMCERS process uses an
epoxy or acrylic-coated dielectric material with silver (Ag)
paste as the conductor material. The paste is deposited
onto the substrate in the printing process. The resulting
circuits have electrical characteristics that are as good as
conventional FR4 boards, she said.
“In the SAMMCERS, direct printing of ultra-fine metal
lines creates metal wires and metal mesh to replace
the conventional process” says Liou. She explained that
SAMMCERS’s additive mass-production techniques
significantly increase material utilization, with up to 95
percent of the raw material inputs ending up in the final
product. This compares to utilization as low as 5 percent in
the conventional S2S (sheet-to-sheet) lithography process.
“Also, processing steps are reduced from seven steps to
one” she concluded. This enables ITRI’s direct printing
system to replace seven separate machines that are typically
used in a conventional roll-to-roll process.
Printing Circuits and Components
The direct-printing process can also be used to print both
flexible and rigid circuit boards, as well as double-sided
Roll-to-roll manufacturing processes for printed circuit boards are already showing
promise for lowering the cost and
environmental impact of high-volume
electronic products. But a new roll-to-roll system, developed by the Industrial
Technology Research Institute of Taiwan
(ITRI) promises to simplify the process
while further reducing the carbon
Green Roll-to-Roll PCB
Process Aims to Cut
Carbon and Costs
ITRI’S SAMMCERS roll-to-roll electronics manufacturing system.