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R&D Focus

Revolutionary Self-Guided System for R2R Printing

Video of SAMMCERS.

ITRI’s Self-guided Additive Manufacturing for Minimum Carbon Emission with Roll-to-roll-production Systems (SAMMCERS) is a revolution in production, featuring real-time self-guidance mechanisms based on an interactive cloud system. One of its key features is the capability of reducing by more than 50% the overall carbon emissions in the mass production of most key components used in consumer electronics, solar panels, lighting fixtures, IoT sensor networks, automotive electronics, cloud servers, and storage equipment.

SAMMCERS’s structure and key breakthroughs include device/process modeling, real-time monitoring, analytic models, and self-guidance mechanisms.

SAMMCERS’s structure and key breakthroughs include device/process modeling, real-time monitoring, analytic models, and self-guidance mechanisms.

ITRI’s SAMMCERS is accomplished by high-precision roll-to-roll additive manufacturing, ultra-fast sensors for predictive manufacturing, and interactive cloud systems. Utilizing real-time customized production in product designs and quantities, SAMMCERS reduces downgraded products to nearly zero. It also includes a self-guidance system that corrects production in real-time to maximize production yields and minimize WIP (work-in-process). The direct printing machine replaces seven machines in the conventional process. Its extremely low power consumption with direct-printing technology replaces conventional deposition-lithography-etching processes which consume enormous amounts of electricity. This improves material utilization from <10% to >90% with direct printing.

Double-side printing is important for reducing the consumption of substrates. ITRI’s SAMMCERS can print on both sides of ultra-thin substrates.

Double-side printing is important for reducing the consumption of substrates. ITRI’s SAMMCERS can print on both sides of ultra-thin substrates.

One of the important implementations from SAMMCERS is the continuously-rolling, line-based processing technique that seeks manufacturing optimization in terms of improved efficiency and reduced carbon emission. The basic idea of a roll-to-roll production line is to provide a substrate that is continuously fed from the starting end of the line. The continuous substrate serves as the carrier and allows for the successive aggregation of product elements to finally become a continuous array of components – the products that can be harvested at the pick-up end of the line. With the help of an array of ultra-fast sensors, meticulous processing conditions on the rolls can be monitored in real-time and relayed to backend via cloud computing for quick decision on immediate adjustments. This allows real-time self-learning capabilities into the entire production system. The outcome improves overall production efficiency, which translates directly into reduced carbon emission. SAMMCERS’s additive mass production techniques significantly increase raw material usage up to 95%, compared to 5% in the conventional S2S lithography process.

OLED lighting production is another critical implementation from SAMMCERS, which minimizes wasted production by automatically guiding itself for consecutive batches in production to optimize the outcomes of each batch of products. A time series operates on the pilot line to prevent the machine failure. It consists of alarm prediction, failure time estimation by machine learning and self-guidance mechanism. As shown below, before the real OLED light source chamber over-temperature happens, we can use the previous pattern to predict the subsequent temperature trends. We can divide the pattern into different time points and see how we can capture the real alarm, which also proves that we definitely can predict the real alarm right before it actually happens.

Machine learning predicts the machine failure to reduce downgraded or failed products.

Machine learning predicts the machine failure to reduce downgraded or failed products.

Today, there is significant demand for touch panels. While ITRI masters the fundamentals of roll-to-roll operation and matures production of touch panels, it is believed that SAMMCERS has the potential to be widely deployed in industries like consumer electronics, biosensors, flexible circuit boards, lighting, solar cell energy, and optical films.