In recent years, much research has been done to explore direct printing methods, such as screen and inkjet printing, as alternatives to the traditional lithographic process. The primary motivation is reduction of the material costs associated with producing common electronic devices. Much of this research has focused on developing inkjet or screen paste formulations that can be printed on a variety of substrates, and which have similar conductivity performance to the materials currently used in the manufacturing of circuit boards and other electronic devices. Very little research has been done to develop a process that would use direct printing methods to manufacture electronic devices in high volumes.
This study focuses on developing and optimizing a drying process for conductive copper ink in a high volume manufacturing setting. Using an infrared (IR) dryer, it was determined that conductive copper prints could be dried in seconds or minutes as opposed to tens of minutes or hours that it would take with other drying devices, such as a vacuum oven. In addition, this study also identifies significant parameters that can affect the conductivity of IR dried prints. Using designed experiments and statistical analysis; the dryer parameters were optimized to produce the best conductivity performance for a specific ink formulation and substrate combination. It was determined that for an ethylene glycol, butanol, 1-methoxy 2- propanol ink formulation printed on Kapton, the optimal drying parameters consisted of a dryer height of 4 inches, a temperature setting between 190 - 200°C, and a dry time of 50-65 seconds depending on the printed film thickness as determined by the number of print passes.
It is important to note that these parameters are optimized specifically for the ink formulation and substrate used in this study. There is still much research that needs to be done into optimizing the IR dryer for different ink substrate combinations, as well as developing a control system to ensure that prints continuously dry the same way. In addition to the repeatability study, experimenting with the feasibility of using single pass prints with repeatable performance would also be a worthwhile study. A single print pass will reduce cycle time, and will reduce ink consumption when compared with double pass prints.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Printing ink--Drying; Infrared equipment
Industrial and Systems Engineering (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
Industrial and Systems Engineering (KGCOE)
Jackson, Matthew R., "Infrared Drying Parameter Optimization" (2015). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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