Vacuum Thin Film Coating Supports Nanotechnology.
There a growing number of fields requiring thin film coating of metals, polymers and ceramics due to added functionality such as conductivity and optical membranes to film and other sheet materials and thread-like materials.
Amid these conditions, HIRANO K&E has combined the roller control technologies and vacuum technologies it has accumulated over many years to engage in the development of film coating device technologies that include not only wet coating used up to now, but also dry coating that enables denser film formation with thinner particles.
This coating can be deployed in numerous applications using a variety technologies including vapor deposition, sputtering and plasma. Recently, coatings used for COF and touch panel materials utilize this unique dry coating technology. This has great potential as a technology able to advance nanotechnology.
Wet or dry, HIRANO K&E is able to offer optimized methods.
At present, we are collaborating with our parent company, wet coating film equipment manufacturer HIRANO TECSEED Co., Ltd., on research into a wet and dry coater system.
The wet method and dry method have different characteristics when forming film. Combining both technologies into one membrane formation device will significantly expand the potential for thin film coating even further.
Combining these two technologies will resolve issues affecting film at present, namely, low gas barrier and transparency characteristics. This can lead, for example, to the creation of a film that can be used as an alternative to glass—this is the type of research we are conducting.
There are a variety of thin film applications compatible in combination with HIRANO TECSEED technologies
Realizing Optimal Low-Tension, Stable Transport in Accordance with Base Materials
Most Roll to Roll film formation equipment are the Roll to Roll type, which have an unwinding component, a Coating component, and a winding component in one vacuum chamber. To achieve heat resistance and crystallization when film is formed by the Coating component, the film is transported along the surface of cooling/heating rollers.
In the latest film formation technologies, we have diversified cooling/heating systems and film forming power sources. We are promoting developments aimed at realizing new technologies including low-temperature film formation and low resistance transparent conductive film (ITO) technologies, high-speed film formation and film formation sources with improved usage efficiency.
One of our core technologies is low-tension, stable roller. If there is high tension on the film when it is forming, the coating will be uneven and the membrane may be damaged. To address this issue, we established a proprietary technology that transports film across the rollers stably with low tension, realizing a thin film coating with a high degree of precision.
HIRANO K&E not only develops film formation devices using the standard horizontal Roller method, but also the vertical (patented) and spiral (patent pending) Roller methods. We were the first company in the industry to apply these technologies.
Vertical Roller is a method in which the width direction of the film or other sheet material runs at a right angle (perpendicular) to the horizontal line. This resolves problems associated with falling or peeling sediment and removes limitations on the configuration of film formation sources, enabling the easy formation of film on both sides of the base material surface. In addition, the horizontal method enables space saving as it reduces the footprint of motors and other equipment that take up space.
At the same time, with spiral roller, where the base material is spirally wound between the guide roll and the driving roll, the film forming source can be repeatedly passed in front of the rollers, making it suitable for forming a thick film on a narrow strip of material.