Mark Wegner, president and chief executive officer, will be featured as a speaker on next-generation requirements at a SemiCon West workshop on flexible electronics for wearable applications. He will be speaking July 10 at the FlexTech Alliance Workshop: Flexible Hybrid Electronics for Wearable Applications at the San Francisco Marriot Marquis.
Demand for wearable electronics is exploding as developers pursue applications from tiny wearable fitness monitors to multi-function watches, multi-use glasses, and protective equipment that captures and analyzes biological data. Both miniaturization of features and maximization of screen size (think big screen video displays, televisions and larger screen space on ultra thin phones) are manufacturing requirements that will increase the need for automation, Wegner predicts.
“The demand trends for hybrid electronics give manufacturers next generation requirements to dramatically improve their accuracy to fabricate high-volume electronics using extremely thin films, flexible glass and other fragile substrate materials,” says Wegner. “To be globally competitive, manufacturers of flexible electronics must produce precision-quality, high-volume hybrid electronics that utilize novel materials requiring nanotechnology level precision. In this world, automation isn’t a luxury, it’s a requirement.”
Wegner explains that in-line vision testing is one example of a new requirement to increase the accuracy of manufacturing. This is because the human eye can’t detect microscopic defects on film or align highly fragile pins on thin materials with precision contact for testing without damage of the materials or their electronics.
To meet the changing market demands for applications such as thin screens on watches, medical or fitness devices, tablets and other devices, Northfield Automation is introducing a new automated roll-to-roll test and vision inspection system. The system includes state-of-the-art cameras, data collection, analysis and reporting and electrical testing and laser barcoding. The integrated, high-volume testing system is designed to improve product quality and increase yields for manufacturers of smartphones, tablets, touch screen monitors, televisions and wearable electronics for personal or medical use.
The vision system detects microscopic defects and then these defective components can be characterized in-line by barcoding, laser-marking or other identification systems. The identification and marking of defects is a critical step to improving yields on the ultra-thin conductive layer used on a wide variety of commercial and consumer electronics.
Wegner’s presentation will explore specific real-world process solutions related to control of sensitive substrates in web format to improve yield, process monitoring, performance trending and in-line vision feedback.
About Northfield Automation SystemsNorthfield Automation Systems, Inc. (www.northfieldautomation.com) designs, engineers and fabricates automation machinery for Original Equipment Manufacturers and high-volume manufacturers. A leader in turnkey solutions, Northfield Automation Systems’ machinery ensures product quality, maximizes efficient throughput, delivers meaningful data outputs and is user-friendly for operators. Northfield Automation Systems, a leader in sensitive material handling technology for flexible and rigid electronics, designs and builds automated in-line vision inspection systems that can be customized to work within any product manufacturing process.