Conductive Thermal Transfer Ribbons for Printed Electronics and RFID Antennas – Available from SPF-Inc
iimak’s Metallograph® thermal transfer conductive technology is a simple, fast and economical digital printing method for electronic circuits, sensors and RFID tag antennas. Aluminum and copper conductors are solid continuous metal, not printed particles. For UHF antennas the print direct to tag stock, bypassing the delays and costs of etching, and eliminating the need for inlays.
Ease of Use To a development or design engineer, a thermal transfer printer is as easy to use as a laser printer. It takes seconds from completing a design to having a printed product in hand. And as the print exits the device without the need for drying, curing or sintering, it can be tested immediately, or fed straight into a secondary operation, including thermal transfer printing of dielectric layers, or text.
Reliability Thermal transfer label printers are extremely reliable production printers, operating 24/7 in thousands of factories. Metallograph® is printed at 2 ips (50 mm/s). Antenna production is measured in thousands per hour. Inline die cutting is all that is needed to produce finished antennas, as tag stock, or wet/dry inlay. As the metal is very similar, Metallograph® complements etching well, and is cost effective for batches to about 100,000 identical parts.
Small Footprint: Benchtop thermal transfer printers are compact – not more than 20 inches (600 mm) long and itself is compact – not more than 20 x 16 inches (600 x 400 mm) L x H. And the space allowed for other printers in full RFID tag printing & assembly lines is more than sufficient for at least one thermal transfer printer. Similarly, it adds little to the size of any die cutting machine.
Materials for Transfer: Copper and aluminum continuous metal conductors, dielectric (insulating) resins, clear protective overcoats, and resin ribbons of all colors for text.
Applications: UHF RFID Antenna, blister packs with dosing records, low power printed circuits, environmental sensors and indicators, chipless RFID, printed electroluminescent displays. (If you wish to buy any of these products made with Metallograph® contact us for referrals.)
Printers: Most thermal transfer OEM’s have suitable devices. Zebra, Datamax-O’Neill, and Sato label printers, and Gerber and Matan graphics printers have been proven. Contact us for details.
Substrates & Bases: Most thermal transfer receptive materials as label or tag stock accepts first generation Metallograph. These include polyester, polypropylene, polyimide, polycarbonate, and polylactic acid, as well as smooth paper. The primary manufacturers have extensive distributor and dealer networks. Contact us for details.
Printing in Action: Printing of common UHF RFID with copper ribbon at 2 ips (50 mm.sec).
Print Service: Print samples are available on request. A limited number of your designs will also be printed at no charge.
Print-for-Pay: Many people do not have access to a thermal transfer printer, or do not wish to learn the intricacies of printing Metallograph®. SPF-Inc will print your graphics on your choice of substrate for a fee. There is a minimum fee for small orders, and currently no maximum. Drawings copyrighted by other parties will not be reproduced. Contact us for details.
Learning about Metallograph®: Although thermal transfer printing is straight forward, Metallograph® needs some extra attention, and an appreciation of its strengths and limitations. There is general information posted here, but many people have unique interests. Therefore prior to investing in the technology we recommend contacting us for an online tutorial for your group. And from time to time we will give introductory webinars. On-site instruction can be arranged at modest expense.