SVC Holds Ambitious Technical Conference

CHICAGO, IL | The Society of Vacuum Coaters held an ambitious TechCon Technical Conference April 16-21 at the Hyatt Regency on the Riverwalk. This year, in addition to traditional sessions, TechCon featured two symposia: “Manufacturing and Technology for Thin Film Photovoltaics” and “Coating Advances and its Impact on the Future of the Vacuum Coating Industry.”

Günter Bräuer, Fraunhofer Inst. for Surface Engineering and Thin Films IST, Braunschweig, Germany, gave the keynote presentation for the latter symposium. Bräuer tackled the topic of magnetron sputtering, a field in which he's been involved since 1976. He covered milestones that have been achieved in the area of sputtering over the last decades, explaining why pulsed dual magnetron sputtering results in better films.

Predicting 2010 will begin the “decade of higher efficiency,” areas for future exploration include High Power Impulse Magnetron Sputtering (HIPIMS) for thin films for applications such as photovoltaics.

In a technical session on Vacuum Web Coating, Klaus Schmidegg, head of research and development at Hueck Folien, a film converter in Baumgartenberg, Austria, presented a paper on “Optical and Magneto-Optical Properties of Thin Metallic Films and Clusters on PET Substrates.” His talk included information on “touchskin,” a proximity and touch-sensitive intelligent surface that replaces mechanical switches, sliders, and wheels with capacitive electronics. This human machine interface was created in a network of R&D partners.

The metallized PET fully integrates the capacitive controls in molded parts. As a result, the product is dirt- and water-resistant. Advantages include freedom of design with new shapes including seamless 3D surfaces; it can be backlit also. Schmidegg says the film offers robustness and cost efficiency.

More than 180 tabletops filled the exhibit hall, offering attendees an opportunity to learn about suppliers' latest products and services. SVC also held a 5K Fun Run/Walk and a Lake Michigan Cruise for participants to network.

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