- This partnership is expected to boost the development of domestic industry in the field of printable electronics
- RK PrintCoat’s Versatile Converting Machine (VCM) will be installed at the National Centre of Flexible Electronics Centre (FlexE), IIT-Kanpur
RK PrintCoat Instruments, a UK-based manufacturer of sample preparation equipment/ print testing equipment, has entered into a partnership with the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K) for development of printed and flexible electronics.
The company will work together with the National Centre of Flexible Electronics Centre (FlexE) at IIT-K to design, manufacture and supply a bespoke roll-to-roll pilot line for its latest R&D and prototyping projects.
The R-2-R pilot coating line will have applications such as flexo, rotary screen, slot die, inkjet and direct gravure as well as the integration of plasma treatment and flash sintering.
RK specialises in the design and manufacture of equipment used to produce repeatable samples of most surface coatings.
The company’s Reel-to-Reel (R2R) machines include the Rotary Koater, VCML Lab/Pilot Coater and Versatile Converting Machine (VCM). Since 2004, VCM equipment has been installed at many locations worldwide for development of high-tech coatings such as printed/plastic electronics.
Darren Ellis, project manager at RK Print, is managing and overseeing the design and build of the versatile converting machine for FlexE Centre.
“This long-term project is an exciting one for RK Print to be involved with, developing and adding to our knowledge of the emerging printed electronics market,” Ellis said.
First-of-its-kind in India
This R-2-R coating line will be the first in India and it will mimic industrial scale processing on R&D level.
Enabling access to a R-2-R processing facility in India will provide a boost to the development of domestic industry in the field of printable electronics, noted Professor Monica Katiyar, coordinator of FlexE Centre.
Dr Juliane Tripathi, team leader at FlexE Centre, is overseeing the project from FlexE Centre’s site. According to her, the FlexE Centre’s line has been designed to be extremely versatile and modular with state-of-the-art printing and sintering technologies that can be combined for broad range of applications in the field of printed electronics.
This R-2-R line will be the link between translational research and industrial process development, said professor Deepak Gupta, one of the initiators of FlexE Centre.
He added, “The FlexE Centre’s line will potentially be open to industrial partners to test low-volume manufacturing of new products before they put capital investment in equipment.”
About FlexE Centre
The National Centre for Flexible Electronics was set up at the Indian Institute of Technology-Kanpur (IIT-K) under the Digital India programme in 2014. This centre functions as a nodal point in India to bring academia, industry and public research organizations under one umbrella for research and development of large area and flexible electronics.
The Centre was established jointly by the department of electronics and information and IT-Kanpur with a sum of Rs 133 crore, of which the institute contributed Rs 20 crore.