Flat and flexible products

“Flat and Flexible Products” means for us flat and flexible materials like float glass, plastic film & sheet, thin metallic foil, flexible ultra-thin glass, and membranes. The goal of our work is to provide the surfaces of these materials with custom-designed functionality.

We are continuously expanding the palette of substrate materials we work with and the coating technologies we use, thereby moving into new application areas.

Our Services

Our services encompass all of the necessary steps in a development project – from the conceptualization phase to transfer of the technology:

  • Feasibility studies
  • Conceptualization and planning of R&D projects using work packages, milestones, and costing
  • Developing systems of layers and coating technologies
  • Scale-up of coating technologies for large substrate surfaces, in-line facilities, and roll-to-roll installations
  • Pilot-scale production during the pilot phase of the product
  • Training for client staff at our pilot plants
  • Development and installation of key components (magnetrons, plasma sources, reactive-gas systems, product- and process monitoring equipment)
  • Technology transfer to the client’s own coating facilities or to an equipment manufacturer

This development work is supplemented and assisted by:

  • Acquisition and coordination of state, federal, and EU-funded projects
  • Economic viability studies
  • Studies of state-of-the-art engineering and technology, such as literature and patent searches

Technologies

Our technology platform is the main tool for our work and is continuously being improved. We have a series of thin-film technologies at our disposal, such as magnetron sputtering, vapor deposition, plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD), and liquid-phase application by slot dies under atmospheric pressure. Besides these coating processes, we also develop surface treatments using electron beams, plasmas, ions, and flash-lamp annealing.

All of the technologies mentioned are realized as both roll-to-roll facilities and in-line equipment.

Roll-to-roll coating

Roll-to-roll coating of flexible products:

  • polymer films
  • thin metal foils
  • flexible glass
  • membranes
  • textiles
  • paper

Sheet-to-sheet coating

Sheet-to-sheet coating of flexible and rigid materials

  • glass
  • polymers
  • ceramics
  • (metals)
 

Sputtering

Magnetron Sputtering:

  • reactive and non-reactive
  • DC
  • pulsed
  • MF
  • RF
 

High-rate deposition

  • Electron beam evaporation
  • Boat evaporation
  • Evaporation from induction heated crucibles
  • Plasma-activated evaporation
  • Reactive evaporationng
 

High-rate PECVD

  • magPECVD
  • arcPECVD

More technologies

In addition to these coating technologies we are using and developing further technologies, such as:

  • methods for process monitoring
  • flash-lamp-annealing (FLA)
  • in-line plasma treatment

The layer and surface functionalities that can be achieved with our technologies are very diverse in character. The number of applications is even more versatile – only a few examples can therefore be mentioned here. We address mass markets, niche applications, and emergent applications with our development work.

Typical layer- and surface functionalities and applications are:

  • Barriers against permeation by steam and oxygen
    • Transparent barrier films for packaging foodstuffs
    • Transparent high barrier films for encapsulating flexible electronic components and solar cells
  • Electrical conductivity
    • Transparent electrodes for flexible electronic components (solar cells, electro-optical displays, OLED lighting sources, etc.)
    • Metallization for flexible printed circuit boards or back contacts for flexible solar cells
  • Filters for visual effects, total reflection, and anti-reflection applications
  • Visual color effects
    • Holographic elements as anti-counterfeiting measures
    • Laser-scribable labels
  • Ion conductivity, ion storage media
    • Electrochemical energy storage media (batteries)
  • Corrosion and wear protection
    • Current collectors for electrochemical energy storage media (batteries)
  • Decorative effects and haptic perception
    • Decorative films

Applications

 

Flexible Glass

Ultra-thin glass, also known as ultra-slim or flexible glass, is a relatively novel material with a superior surface quality and low substrate roughness.

Development of thin-film coating processes for ultra-thin glass and its integration into organic and hybrid electronic devices are current research areas at Fraunhofer FEP.

Fraunhofer FEP offers investigation of sheet-to-sheet and roll-to-roll deposition processes to enable application of ultra-thin glass in advanced electronic devices.

 

Smart building and
architecture

In architecture the coating of flat glass with energy-efficient layers for low-energy homes or for renovation of historical buildings is growing in importance. Developments at the Fraunhofer FEP on transparent heat-reflection, sun protection, and diffusion barrier layers on flat glas and flexible polymer substrates ...

 

Packaging

The packaging sector is under enormous cost pressure: Packaging materials must not be too costly, but are enormously important for the quality and storage life of the end products. The technologies of the Fraunhofer FEP in the area of vacuum coating and surface modification with electrons are ideal for this task due to their high productivity and the excellent surface properties that can be achieved.

 

Environment and energy

In order to become widely used, the production costs of environmentally friendly technologies must be lowered further. Especially for energy storage systems this is a strategically important goal. Efficient technologies developed by the Fraunhofer FEP can make an important contribution here.

 

Solar energy

Solar energy is converted into heat and electrical energy using solar heating systems and photovoltaic systems, respectively. To develop these technologies further, more efficient systems and low cost manufacturing processes are required.

Several pilot and laboratory facilities are available at Fraunhofer FEP for our development work. During development projects, our pilot plants also enable us to investigate questions from technical scale-up to pilot production. Depending on the substrate, coating technique, and material deposited, we are able to employ the following facilities to optimize your coating solution:

We endeavor to build joint experimental facilities at our site with our partners and carry on mutually beneficial strategic development work. This is the basis for establishing successful partnerships.

Fraunhofer FEP has numerous additional full-scale production-emulation facilities at its disposal for coating larger areas. You can find more information here:

Project Examples

We are involved in numerous projects. For reasons of confidentiality, we are unable to identify or describe in detail all of the projects here; this applies in particular to projects carried out under contract with industrial clients. However, the following selected list of what are mostly publicly funded projects illustrates the breadth of our application work:

Project name Discription
FLEX-G Erforschung von Rolle-zu-Rolle Technologien zur Herstellung flexibler und gebogener Fassaden- und Dachelemente mit schaltbarem Gesamtenergiedurchlassgrad
Optiperm Research on the production of functional films with optimized permeation barrier coatings
POLAR Polymer films with anti-reflective properties by plasma-etching
Flex25 Validierung einer Rolle-zur-Rolle Technologie zur Herstellung einer Verkapselungsfolie
KONFEKT Erforschung eines konfektionierbaren Dünnglas-Substratsystems für Anwendungen der Organischen Elektronik
LiScell (Sich) Abheben mit Lithium-Schwefel: Zyklenstabile und intrinsisch sichere Batteriezellen mit Energiedichten > 400 Wh/kg
R2RBattery Maßgeschneiderte Materialsysteme und Technologien für die Rolle-zu-Rolle-Fertigung elektrochemischer Energiespeicher auf flexiblen Trägern – Hochvalente Ionen für die Energiewende
SmartBarrier Innovative Prozesse für flexible Produkte
INNOCIS Kostengünstige flexible CIS Photovoltaik
ProSoLitBat Erforschung photonischer Prozess- und Anlagentechnik für die industrielle Realisierung von Lithium-Festkörperbatterien in Dünnschichttechnik

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Collaboration with our clients typically begins with a telephone call or email from the client in order to briefly describe the R&D requirement or technological problem, or to set up a meeting.

From that point onward, we work very closely with the client to develop a plan for the work, which leads to a proposal and bid, and finally to an R&D project. Confidentiality can be ensured from the beginning through a confidentiality agreement.

Please feel free to contact us. If we should not be available when you phone, then please send us a brief email and we will happily phone you back.

Contact persons

Nicolas Schiller

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Nicolas Schiller

Division director

Fraunhofer FEP
Winterbergstr. 28
01277 Dresden, Germany

Phone +49 351 2586-131

Fax +49 351 258655-131

Matthias Fahland

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Matthias Fahland

Group Leader Roll-to-roll Sputtering & PECVD

Fraunhofer FEP
Winterbergstr. 28
01277 Dresden, Germany

Phone +49 351 2586-135

Fax +49 351 258655-135

Steffen Straach

Contact Press / Media

Dipl.-Ing. Steffen Straach

Group Leader Roll-to-roll Vacuum High Rate Processes

Fraunhofer FEP
Winterbergstraße 28
01277 Dresden, Germany

Phone +49 351 2586-132

John Fahlteich

Contact Press / Media

Dr. John Fahlteich

Group Leader Encapsulation and Outdoor Applications

Fraunhofer FEP
Winterbergstraße 28
01277 Dresden, Germany

Phone +49 351 2586-136

Fax +49 351 258655-136

Steffen Günther

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Steffen Günther

Group Leader Roll-to-roll Wet Coating & Electron Beam Curing

Fraunhofer FEP
Winterbergstraße 28
01277 Dresden, Germany

Phone +49 351 2586-137

Fax +49 351 258655-137

Manuela Junghähnel

Contact Press / Media

Dr. Manuela Junghähnel

Group Leader S2S Technologies / Coordinator Flexible Glass

Fraunhofer FEP
Winterbergstraße 28
01277 Dresden, Germany

Phone +49 351 2586-128

Flat and Flexible Products