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New Way™ Air Turns Revolutionize Flat Panel Display Manufacturing


Flat panel displays are a mainstream technology that made the first commercially available flat screen for TV.

Other popular consumer products that use flat panel displays include computers and digital cameras. As industries increasingly begin to use flexible flat panel displays, the manufacture of the glass is difficult as any contact can result in scratches or glass fracture, decreasing yield. New Way porous carbon Air Turn technology offers a non-contacting conveying solution for glass substrates as part of flexible flat panel display (FPD) manufacturing.

Broadening the capabilities of New Way air bars and air bearings that enable contact-free positioning of glass during FPD processing and inspection operations, the air turns provide complete non-contact passive conveyance and sub-micron control of glass in a roll-to-roll process. A porous carbon surface featuring millions of submicron sized holes, enable air turns to maintain a thin, but robust, air film on a cylindrical surface that supports a smooth and friction-free movement of substrates and allows for bending angles up to 180°. The flexible glass substrates float over the non-turning “Air Turns” without touching, unlike conventional contact rollers. The absence of mechanical contact eliminates defects and contamination in the production process.

According to Solid State Technology’s article on display manufacturing, managing contaminants in the processing environment can determine increases or decreases in their yield. Incorporating New Way porous media technology, the air turns virtually eliminate disruptive airflow sources, acting as a stop-gap filter in trapping particles that may have escaped the filter system. Lower air consumption reduces the amount of external air and possible contaminants introduced into the manufacturing process.

Other benefits of New Way® Porous Media TechnologyTM include:

  • Greater stiffness results in a more consistent fly height with very small deviations. Other designers try to reduce or eliminate damage caused by substrate contact by increasing fly height, but the large air gap acts as an undamped spring, causing waves to propagate and increase the probability of surface contact that results in glass scratches.
  • Uniform and robust air film supports fragile glass substrates of varying sizes and weight
  • Higher process velocity, reliability, and control for greater throughput

Watch the video that demonstrates the operation and features of New Way Air Turn technology including its complete non-contact control of a web over rollers that do not turn or touch as well as control of web tension to a fraction of a gram for multiple areas. Or refer to the website to find out about New Way range of products and capabilities for flat panel display types and other web handling applications.

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