Northfield, Minn. – Northfield Automation Systems recently published its periodic “News and Notes” company highlights for the end of the first quarter of 2012.
“We had a strong start to 2012,” said Darin Stotz, director of sales and marketing. “The strength in the display industry – driven in many ways by the push for tablet computers in public education – has meant that we’ve had more opportunities to talk with manufacturers about how our equipment and our approach can help them produce their products more efficiently, more quickly and more precisely.”
Stotz continued, “As in past months, we’re busy with teams all over the world performing installations and consulting with customers on everything from the implementation of vision systems to software integration projects.”
WORLD’S FIRST FLEXIBLE GLASS PROCESS LINE: Working in partnership with a California-based firm, NAS has developed the world’s first process line to run roll-to-roll flexible glass. The system, which will be fully installed and operational by this summer, is for a client in the electronics industry.
Stotz said, “This is a cutting-edge system for use with a truly transformative substrate – flexible glass. For years, clients have been looking for thin films that can act as moisture barriers and that can survive harsh processing environments while retaining favorable dimensional characteristics. Additionally, electronics manufacturers in particular are looking for substrates that can survive long-term use in a myriad of products and in conditions ranging from tropical to arctic. Flexible glass delivers on all fronts.”
He continued, “Sectors utilizing a substrate like flexible glass might include lighting, mobile electronics, photovoltaics, automotive and a host of others. Those making use of our technology include customers like CIGS PV manufacturers, who can now process the CIGS roll-to-roll but at the end product stage protect them with heavy glass coverage. Sure, these manufacturers have always had glass available, but only in sheet processing – never in a roll-to-roll high-volume processing environment. With this line, complete roll-to-roll is now possible. This is a game changer.”
WELCOME ABOARD! We recently brought on board two new team members to help us as we continue to work diligently to achieve complete customer satisfaction. Paul Vandergon is a new field service engineer and Joann Wellbrock joins our computer drafting department. Both bring a wealth of knowledge, extensive experience and an absolute commitment to helping our customers achieve their business objectives.
LASER PROCESSING LINES: NAS engineering teams have been back and forth between Northfield, Korea and central Europe performing installations of more than 50 laser processing lines for a client in the display industry. Like many projects, these installations have been driven in part by the explosion of tablets, smartphones and mobile communications in general.
GET TO MARKET FASTER: NAS recently got up and running the first roll-to-roll system for a European equipment maker focused on competing in the semi-conductor and energy markets. Tasked to provide the web handling system components for the company’s equipment offerings, NAS enabled the manufacturer to boost its ability to produce product faster, cheaper and more precisely.
AROUND THE WORLD… AND BACK HOME AGAIN: Closer to home, NAS recently wrapped up multiple installations for a Minnesota glass producer. Providing electrical testing, vision inspection and software integration for the company’s products, NAS delivered “test houses” that made it possible to test sheets of multi-layer glass prior to release.
LASER BAR CODING: Looking to ramp up your product traceability and characterization efforts? Talk to us. We’ve installed a number of laser bar coding components to help our customers collect detailed intel from the production process. Coding a product in-line makes it possible to capture key process feedback – speed, temperature, tension and other crucial information on system conditions – which can then be utilized in product characterization decisions. Want to see more? Watch NAS principal engineer and co-founder Doug Hall in this video.
STILL SLITTING: Even with our expansion into multiple emerging markets, NAS continues to manufacture top-of-the-line process components for addition to existing lines or as the foundation for new lines. For example, we were recently on-site installing a slitter addition for an Oregon-based client in the energy industry.
FROM OUR PRESIDENT, Mark Wegner:
“We recently participated in the 2012 Flexible Electronics and Display Conference. As part of a presentation there, I spoke about roll-to-roll production and about the many advantages that are a part of a well-planned, well-executed system.
Afterwards, I was asked what specific value we at NAS bring to the equation. It’s a good, fair question. Why not just find someone who can crank out the equipment, leaving the customer to hook it all together and get it running? We take it to the next step and provides the customer with a turnkey process ready to run when the customer takes ownership.
While there are many good reasons to engage with a partner like NAS, for me it all boils down to this: ROI. With a partner like Northfield Automation Systems, you’re taking a step toward ensuring you’ll maximize your return on your investment. Successful process systems don’t just happen… they require in-depth planning and a deep and broad understanding of R2R equipment, process, interactions, materials and interfaces. At NAS, we’re experts in all of the above. So if it’s important to you to maximize your investment of time and resources, you’ll find no better partner to help you achieve that goal than Northfield Automation Systems.”
Founded in 1992, Northfield Automation Systems, Inc., designs, engineers and fabricates automation machinery for OEMs and high-volume, custom manufacturers. Our engineers provide consultative support for streamlined manufacturing processes with turnkey, integrated equipment. Our vision is to be the global leader in web-based, high-precision, roll-to-roll processing of thin-film applications, including flexible electronics, display, solar, flexible battery and organic electronics. Northfield Automation Systems has nearly 75 years of combined experience in roll-to-roll thin material handling, and can work from lab scale to high-volume production. The company is located in Northfield, Minn., which is 35 minutes south of the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area.