Fraunhofer and Von Ardenne GmbH Announce Coating Tool for Flexible Glass

The Fraunhofer Institute together with the Von Ardenne GmbH announced their successful development of the FOSA LabX 330 Glass coater. The tool is capable to coat flexible glass in a roll to roll process. While R2R coating processes for plastic substrates are quite common, the same could not been said for flexible thin glass. Glass has an intrinsic low permeation for oxygen and water, which makes it an optimal substrate for OLED, LCD and other display technologies.

The machine was build under a development contract from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, with Schott AG and Tesa SE also involved in the program. With the first results exceeding expectations, the firms have agreed to continue and intensify their cooperation. Both, Fraunhofer and Von Ardenne GmbH will be exhibiting samples of coated glass as well as the tool itself at the upcoming LOPE-C 2017 exhibition in Munich, Germany in the end of March.

If this topic is of interest for you, please check out the ‘Vision, Flexible Glass‘ conference hosted by Fraunhofer-Institut für Organische Elektronik, Elektronenstrahl- und Plasmatechnik FEP in Dresden, Germany in the beginning of April.

Analyst Comment

At the beginning of flexible display development, very thin glass was an interesting alternative for the display industry (especially the OLED developers) that never could get a foothold in the industry. With government investments pushing for encapsulation coatings of plastic substrates instead of the development of coating technology for thin glass, the development went into the known direction. Meanwhile flexible OLED displays are being used in consumer products, so the question is what this coated flexible thin glass can offer that the current solutions for flexible OLEDs cannot. A few years back there was another push by several glass companies to introduce thin glass form a roll as an available product, without much success so far. The real question is if this equipment opens new applications based on a cost and performance advantage or if it will just become a proof of technology. (NH)