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New Way Announces Clean-Dry-Coat Concept

New Way® Air Bearings Announces A Concept Enabling Immediately Sequential Cleaning, Drying and Coating of FPD Glass

Aston, Pennsylvania, USA, June 4, 2006 – New Way® Air Bearings has introduced a concept designed to enable immediately sequential ‘in-line’ cleaning, drying and coating of Flat Panel Display (FPD) glass. Not only would New Way’s new Clean-Dry-Coat (CDC) technology supplant separate cleaning machines, drying stations, and coating machines (each occupying many square meters of clean room space), it would do so with a single machine less than one meter in length.

“As glass sizes continue to increase through Gen 8 and 9, to Gen 10 and beyond, it becomes increasingly impractical to process glass in separate, non-linear stations,” said Drew Devitt, New Way Air Bearings Founder and Chief Technology Officer. “We’ve developed technology that would enable true in-line, immediately sequential cleaning, drying and coating of FPD glass.”

New Way Air Bearings has developed this technology and engineered a demonstration unit that will be introduced in Booth 1440 of the 2006 Society for Information Display (SID) International Symposium, Seminar and Exhibition in San Francisco, California, USA, June 5-8, 2006.

“This new concept would dramatically improve the quality of all three processes, while lowering cost,” said New Way Air Bearings President Nick Hackett. “…all in less than a single meter of conveyor line length.”

In New Way’s new concept, High Speed Conveyer Air Bearings feed FPD glass into the cleaning section of this 3-in-1 unit. There, cleaning solution is used as a hydrostatic bearing medium to guide the glass though a series of lands and grooves without contact. Cleaning solution is forced at high pressure and velocity, but little flow, though a narrow gap between the glass and lands, cleaning both sides of the glass simultaneously.

“Besides the fact that we’re talking about non-contact processing,” Devitt said, “one of the biggest benefits of this technology is that both the cleaning solution and the warm air used for drying are held in contained environments within the unit itself. Obviously, this is a huge plus in a clean room.”

The glass is then immediately introduced to the drying section, where grooves and lands are again used, but this time air is used to float the glass (from top and bottom). This air is driven, in a similar fashion, though the small gap between the glass and the lands at high pressure and velocity, effectively drying the glass on both sides before water marks have an opportunity to appear.

The dry, conditioned glass is then introduced to the third step in the process at the slit coating head. There, a temperature-controlled coating chuck holds the glass from the top side using vacuum-preloaded air bearing technology, which enables the glass to be introduced to the slit coater with micron precision.

“Another differential advantage of this technology is that it enables us to achieve true coating-surface flatness,” Devitt noted. “That’s because the glass is held from the surface to be coated, and the properties of the air bearings enable us to hold so tight a fly height that the surface to-be-coated is held flat, forcing any thickness deviations to be exhibited on the other side. This certainly enhances the coating quality.”

After coating, the glass is held by another coating chuck from the under side, avoiding any transcription effects. The glass then exits the precision areas by means of High Speed Conveyer Air Bearings.

“The implications of this new technology are evolutionary,” Hackett said. “Because all of the processing is immediately sequential, it can help the industry move even more toward true in-line manufacturing. The fact that it also does so with a higher standard of quality in one-third the space gives it even greater value.”

Finally, this concept uses air bearing technology to provide ‘frictionless motion,’ for non-contact handling of the FPD glass throughout the processes. In a world where wheels and rollers no longer enable world-class manufacturing operations, these air bearing building blocks allow manufacturers to meet ever-increasing yield and throughput improvement demands.

Benefits of the New Way Clean-Dry-Coat Concept

  • 3x reduction in clean room space

  • Cleaning solution and hot air are used in contained environments

  • Non-contact

  • More effective cleaning

  • Enhanced coating quality

  • No touchdown damage

  • True coating-surface flatness

  • Shorter processing time

  • Exact temperature control

  • Reduced coating chemical fouling

  • No water marks

  • Eliminates transcription

  • Lower equipment cost

  • Lower operation cost

  • 3-in-1 process

The Advantages of Porous Media

New Way’s modular air bearing products are inexpensive, robust, and easy to use. Unlike conventional orifice air bearings, New Way® Porous Media controls the airflow across the entire bearing surface through millions of holes in the material. More consistent air pressure distribution provides for superior performance, and the bearings still fly even after severe surface damage.

Porous media technology has been in use for 15 years in precision applications such as coordinate measuring machines, precision machine tools, and test equipment. One advantage is that the bearing does not damage the surface it runs on should the air supply be inadvertently lost. Having no friction or wear problems, and with no lubrication requirements, air bearings are ideal for applications in demanding environments that wreak havoc on traditional contact bearings.

For more sophisticated applications like the FPD marketplace, New Way® Air Bearings are approved for use in Class-10 Clean Rooms, where the constant flow of air helps keep the dust and particles found even in that environment away from the bearing surface.

The CDC Concept Works Just Like Standard New Way Air Bearing Products

The CDC Concept is just the latest concept from New Way that makes use of the company’s porous media air bearing technology. The operating principles are much the same as that for New Way’s Standard product Line, which includes flat air bearings, cylindrical air bushings, vacuum preloaded air bearings, radial air bearings, air bearing stages, conveyor air bearings and precision chucks.

New Way delivers total air bearing solutions starting at their website http://www.newwayairbearings.com/, which includes the specifications for the full product range, design and installation guides, mounting hardware, air specifications, technical support, and a full range of accessories.

For more information, contact Tim Claffey, VP Sales at 610.364.3454.

New Way® Air Bearings, Inc. is the market leader in the design and manufacture of modular air bearings and is the recognized provider of porous media air bearing solutions. Founded in 1994, New Way is located in Aston, Pennsylvania, USA, just fifteen minutes from Philadelphia International Airport.

An animation of the New Way Clean-Dry-Coat concept referenced in this release is available for use by the media. High-resolution images of the demonstration unit are also available. For more information, please contact Michael Wright, Director of Marketing, New Way Air Bearings at 610.364.3453 or by email at mwright@newwayairbearings.com.

Date:
Sunday, June 4, 2006