As the electronics industry looks to increase mass production capabilities, high throughput printing on large rolls or webs is replacing batch processing to fabricate substrates on a larger scale.
As a result, roll-to-roll (R2R) manufacturing, also known as web processing, is going mainstream as an efficient and scalable method of producing high yields of flexible and printed electronics in roll form. New Way® Air Turns for web handling allow passive conveyance of flexible substrates in roll-to-roll processes. Eliminating the friction and wear associated with conventional “contact” web handling rollers, air turns avoid any mechanical contact with the substrate, substantially reducing defects and contamination in the roll-to-roll production cycle.
With no rotating components, the air turns provide full contactless web conveyance. Film floats over and around the air turns without touching them. New Way Porous Media™ Technology provides a thin and stiff air layer on the cylindrical surface that supports the moving substrate and allows any bending angle up to 180º. With a porous surface containing millions of submicron-sized holes, the air turns maintain high air layer stiffness and uniform air pressure to ensure proper web handling tension control that avoids overstretching or wrinkling. The web essentially finds its path over an air film.
Other benefits of using air turns in web handling include:
In addition to air turns, New Way offers radial air bearings, spherical air bearings, and thrust bearings for web handling machinery. These non-contacting bearings feature zero-maintenance, high-speed, zero-friction, and smooth operation. Most important, all New Way Air Bearings incorporate Porous Media Technology that results in a new level of accuracy and control.
New Way is already developing new web handling concepts and invites partners to collaborate on developing solutions that can only be addressed using Porous Media Technology to contact them today. To find out more about New Way Air Turns for web handling, visit the website or contact us if you’re interested in talking about your web handling application or future venture.