SMART labels have the ability to sense and measure their local environment and wirelessly send measurements to a receiver such as a mobile phone or RFID reader. They need a number of discrete components in addition to the silicon integrated circuits, to create electronic systems which function correctly. In general, the discretes are passive components such as resistors, capacitors and inductors.
Our new manufacturing approach for SMART labels is to use offset lithographic printing rather than flexographic, gravure or screen printing. All of the SMART label products require placement of discrete packaged capacitors. This is not technically difficult with the latest assembly systems, but having to place individual capacitors on each label reduces throughput and yield, increases manufacturing costs and increases the capital investment needed to meet market demand and production targets.
Offset lithographic printing of nanocomposite barium titanate capacitors (OPCAP) project will remove the need for many, if not all, of the discrete capacitors. This will be achieved by offset lithographic printing of parallel plate capacitors onto the same flexible plastic substrate which makes up the label. We propose to investigate a new nanoparticle loaded ink made from barium titanate nanoparticles. To maximise the capacitance per unit area, photonic sintering, a low temperature technique using intense flashes of light will be investigated to remove polymers in the ink, fuse particles together, densify the dielectric layer and crystallise the BaTiO3 nanoparticles.
Photo courtesy of Nano Products