FlexTech Alliance Announces Contract Award to New Way® Air Bearings for Improved Vacuum Processing and Coating of Flexible Webs
New Process Provides Significant Advantage for Continuous R2R Processing
San Jose, California, USA, December 15, 2009 – The FlexTech Alliance, focused on developing the electronic display and the flexible, printed electronics industry supply chain, today announced a contract award to New Way® Air Bearings (Aston, PA) to develop a non-contact vacuum seal allowing for small, but potentially wide vacuum chambers appropriate for chemical vapor deposition (CVD), physical vapor deposition (PVD) or other processes requiring deep vacuum. Vacuum assisted deposition achieves the highest quality films and the best barrier performance, a critical component in manufacturing flexible, printed electronics.
Current vacuum coating equipment is large and expensive, and consumes time during processing. By eliminating the requirement to put a roll in a vacuum chamber, and pump it down for processing, continuous processing becomes possible, reducing expense and processing time. The web may then flow through one or many vacuum chambers, with other ambient processes inserted between, and may do so continuously.
New Way’s development will result in small modular process/vacuum chamber, which offer greater flexibility for in-line positioning and use. Evaporation sources may be easily switched out and the consumption of process gases will be much less due to the small volume of the chamber, and with no need to purge.
“The success of this project will enable small, low-cost vacuum or gas process modules for speeding the development and manufacturing of web-based displays, photovoltaics, LED lighting, printed batteries, and more,” noted Drew Devitt, chairman and chief technology officer of New Way Air Bearings. “Once commercialized, FlexTech members and the industry as a whole will realize a huge benefit from this technology.”
New Way has partnered with NovaCentrix to develop this new technology in order to prove its commercial viability in existing production equipment. “We are very pleased to have been chosen as a partner for commercial trials with New Way Air Bearings,” stated Stan Farnsworth, vice president of marketing for NovaCentrix. “Our pulse forge curing system is intended for product innovators and manufacturers in printed electronics who need options to traditional use of materials and processing techniques.”
“This funding helps the U.S. stay ahead in developing manufacturing technology for the next generation of electronic circuits,” observed Rep. Robert Brady (D-PA/1). “It is one of the few opportunities we have to address renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy storage in a single project.”
The FlexTech Alliance program is a collaborative effort of private industry and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, located in Adelphi, MD.
About the FlexTech Alliance
The FlexTech Alliance is the only organization headquartered in North America exclusively devoted to fostering the growth, profitability and success of the electronic display and the flexible, printed electronics supply chain. Leveraging its rich history in promoting the display industry as the U.S. Display Consortium, the FlexTech Alliance offers expanded collaboration between and among industry, academia, government, and research organizations for advancing displays and flexible, printed electronics from R&D to commercialization. To this end, the FlexTech Alliance, based in San Jose, California, will help foster development of the supply chain required to support a world-class, manufacturing capability for displays and flexible, printed electronics. More information about the FlexTech Alliance can be found at the industry portal: www.flextech.org.
About New Way Air Bearings
New Way® Air Bearings, Inc. of Aston, PA, is the world’s leading independent manufacturer of modular air bearing products and the recognized provider of porous media air bearing solutions. Founded in 1994, the company manufactures a standard line of modular, off-the-shelf components including: flat, round and rectangular air bearings; vacuum preloaded air bearings; radial air bearings; air bushings; air slides; conveyor air bearings and precision chucks. The company achieved ISO 9001:2000 Certification for its quality management system in November, 2008; and achieved ISO 9001:2008 Certification in October, 2009.
New Way has now been included on Inc. Magazine‘s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing, private companies in America for 2007, 2008, and 2009. In November of 2007, The Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce named New Way recipient of its Technological Excellence of the Year Award for 2008. In both 2008 and 2009, New Way was named a Deloitte Fast 50 Technology company for the Philadelphia, PA, USA Region. Visit New Way Air Bearings online at www.newwayairbearings.com.
new way press release 2009-12-15 flextech alliance contract release