- November 05, 2013, Yolanda Simonsis
FORT MILL, SC | The Assn. of Intl. Metallizers, Coaters & Laminators (AIMCAL), wound up this year's technical conference on October 27–30 with a record-setting attendance of about 315 people at the Marriott Hotel, Charleston, SC. With over 75 sessions plus four bonus short courses complemented by two keynote sessions, there certainly was nothing lacking from a technical perspective.
An early morning Bernard Henry 5K run/walk and afternoon golf outing on the second day of presentations served to break up the program's intensity along with evening table-top networking receptions.
Each year the organization judges each of the presenters for content and delivery by naming the best paper(s) with the John Matteucci Technical Excellence Award. This year's honorees reflect the increasing international representation within the organization by awarding Marcio Carvalho of Pontifica Universidade Catolica do Rio de Janeiro for his presentation titled "Fundamentals of Slot Die Process," and Sheila Hamilton of Teknek (Scotland, UK) for her presentation named "Substrate Cleaning in a High Vacuum Environment."
On a lighter side, a vendor session encourages commercial "sales pitches" (the more entertaining, the better) from the podium with this year's winner humorously delivered by Amaury de Laforcade, NSC USC USA, Inc. for a video on precision web control.
From the Web Coating Laminating track, Prof. Marcio Carvalho's session addressed the fundamentals of slot coating process and its operability limits. As well, Carvalho provided a description of some aspects of advanced research that PUC-Rio is pursuing. He detailed some of the challenges of current coating fundamentals:
- Minimization of film thickness variation for more uniform films due to ongoing disturbances of process conditions and die lip geometry
- Better understanding of coating of particulate suspensions for more complex film structures
- Better understanding of multilayer coating process for more complex film structures
- Discrete and patch coating
Hamilton's presentation on "Substrate Cleaning in a High Vacuum Environment" from the Vacuum Web Coating track identified the challenges of a system if it was successful. Such a cleaning system must fulfill the following criteria:
- Must operate under a vacuum
- Must remove very small particles
- Cannot use air or liquid for cleaning
- Must not alter the surface
- Must not outgas
Hamilton then enumerated the battery of tests measuring the success of a new cleaning system now available through Teknek, noting the participation of third-party organizations in collecting the data, including European Funding Programme FP7 Clean4Yield project and the Holst Inst., Eindhoven. Testing results found the following:
- Removal of particles down to 100 nm
- All types of substrates can be accommodated as thin as 15 microns in sheet and roll format
- Speeds from 1 m/min to 300 m/min are possible
- Performance in a high vacuum environment and without silicone is possible to provide significant yield improvements
The next Web Coating & Handling Conference is planned for Portugal on June 8–10 2014, at Hotel Cascais Miragem in Cascais. The next US-based technical meeting is planned for October 19–22, 2014, at the Marriott Resort in Myrtle Beach, SC.