At JOANNEUM RESEARCH we run Austria's largest research group for functional printing.
For a product or application we are the one-stop-shop for the development of scalable printing processes. We cover the complete value chain ranging from ink development, surface modification, printing strategy, post processing, to characterisation. Printing on low temperature substrates is one of our key specialities. Our interdisciplinary team of highly skilled experts works to customer requirements often utilising a combination of different printing technologies.
Digital printing offers many advantages like enabling new design possibilities that can reduce system cost, size or weight as well as bringing new functions to (flexible and formable) 2D/3D surfaces allowing monolithic integration into components or products. Printing is contactless and well suited for rapid prototyping.
We work on functionalities like conductivity (self-reducing metallic inks, ionic inks, stretchable inks), isolation (dielectric), sensing (pH, gas, humidity, proximity, piezo), adhesives or biological, magnetic, fluorescent features.
For our customers we do proof of concepts, prototyping and demonstrator development, upscaling of production, sourcing of material and equipment suppliers as well as contract manufacturers and the transfer of manufacturing processes. Small production runs are available as a service. Together with industrial partners we do research in nationally or internationally funded projects.
Available printing technologies at JOANNEUM RESEARCH include screen printing, inkjet printing, aerosoljet printing, microarray spotting as well as solenoid valve printing.
Electro-static printing represents a novel deposition technique capable of applying functional inks in a viscosity range and droplet volume currently not available for classical piezo based ink jet technologies. Electro Static Printing is still in development.
We print on various substrates like polymers, glass, ceramics, FR4, metal layers, silicon wafers, 3D substrates or other customer specific materials. These substrates often require various surface modifications like coating, corona treatment, plasma, UV or nano imprint lithography. For enabling the required functionality post processing of the printed patterns is required including thermal curing, Laser curing or UV curing.
Applications and use cases can be found in packaging and assembly, manufacturing of electronic components or devices, in the energy sector (e.g. fuel cells or solar cells), sensors, wearables or security features.
One of our mature printed sensor platforms is PyzoFlex®, an affordable, printable sensor technology that can be implemented on an industrial scale. It allows the large-scale and accurate measurement of temperature and pressure changes in objects and their environment.
The technology is based on sensors based on special, ferroelectric polymers, which are applied using a cost-effective screen printing method. These films can detect localized pressure and temperature changes with high precision.
Wherever pressure / temperature changes, vibrations or shock waves occur, piezoelectric and pyroelectric generators can be used to convert mechanical deformation (changes in thickness) and temperature differences into electrical energy. Ferroelectric polymers belonging to the PVDF-Class are used as a basic material due to the fact that they exhibit strong piezoelectric and pyroelectric activity after a poling procedure. These materials are also extremely stable, UV and weather resistant, flame-retardant and have a high chemical durability.
The range of applications for such large-scale, low-cost sensors, which can be integrated into any curved or textured surface, seems almost unlimited from today's perspective. PyzoFlex® sensors could be used in all areas of daily life and industry, whereby in particular Consumer Electronics (Human-Machine-Interfaces), Security (job safety, 360° motion detection, biometrics), User-oriented, efficient housing technologies, Robotics (artificial skin), Life sciences (large-scale, medical diagnostics) and Automotive industries (energy Harvesting, security) are applications of high interest.
Benefits are the self-powered detection on large and flexible surfaces with high resistance to environmental conditions in a low cost solution.