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Analysis of the Design Variables of Thermoforming Process on the Performance of Printed Electronic Traces

Published:

October 18, 2018

Author:

Gill M., Gruner A., Ghalib N., Sussman M., Avuthu S., Wable G, Richstein J.

Abstract:

One specific market space of interest to emerging printed electronics is In Mold Label (IML) technology. IML is used in many consumer products and white good applications. When combined with electronics, the In Mold Electronics (IME) adds compelling new product functionality. Many of these products have multi-dimensional features and therefore require thermoforming processes in order to prepare the labels before they are in-molded. While thermoforming is not a novel technique for IML, the addition of printed electronic functional traces is not well documented. There is little or no published work on printed circuit performance and design interactions in the thermoforming process that could inform improved IME product designs. A general full factorial Design of Experiments (DOE) was used to analyze the electrical performance of the conductive silver ink trace/polycarbonate substrate system. Variables of interest include trace width, height of draw, and radii of both top and bottom curvatures in the draw area. Thermoforming tooling inserts were fabricated for eight treatment combinations of these variables. Each sample has one control and two formed strips. Electrical measurements were taken of the printed traces on the polymer sheets pre- and post- forming with a custom fixture to evaluate the effect on resistance. The design parameters found to be significant were draw height and bottom radius, with increased draw and smaller bottom curvature radii both contributing to the circuits’ resistance degradation. Over the ranges evaluated, the top curvature radii had no effect on circuit resistance. Interactions were present, demonstrating that circuit and thermoforming design parameters need to be studied as a system. While significant insight impacting product development was captured further work will be executed to evaluate different ink and substrate material sets, process variables, and their role in IME....

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Company Information:

Jabil Circuit, Inc.

An electronic product solutions company providing comprehensive electronics design, manufacturing and product management services.

St. Petersburg, Florida, USA

Design, Service Provider

  • Phone (727) 577-9749

Jabil Circuit, Inc. website

Company Postings:

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