AIMCAL Sustains Technology-Hungry

Myrtle Beach, SC | The Assn. of Industrial Metallizers, Coaters & Laminators featured two short courses preceding the official opening day's sessions on troubleshooting the vacuum coating process and practical defect reduction. Held October 19-22 at the Marriott Resort at Grand Dunes, an appetizer portion on sustainability followed the kick-off short courses prior to the following morning's six healthy helpings of presentations on Environmental Responsiveness.

Keynoter Dr. Kenneth Marsh of Kenneth S. Marsh & Assoc. provided an overview addressing “Packaging & the Environment: Debunking the Myths.” Listing ten popular packaging myths in contrast to their more accurate counterparts, Marsh demonstrated how he sees packaging becoming key to future economic development, that it's necessary for maintaining a healthy environment, and it even can reduce municipal solid waste by securing product integrity and freshness.

The program began and ended with two joint sessions that served to unify the diverse but similarly discriminating tastes of both vacuum and web coaters/laminators alike. The first joint session featured six presentations focused on Environmental Responsiveness, while the concluding seven joint sessions concentrated on advances in web coating technology, including such subjects as nanoparticles, functional polymers, conductive polymer dispersions, production of advanced microelectronics, and covert markers for anticounterfeit brand management. The intervening subject matter pleased the 200+ attendees with high-tech coverage on coating, measurement/rheology, substrate technology and treatment, vacuum web barrier, vacuum web processing, and vacuum web performance. I personally found this last session especially interesting on the potential of photovoltaics and solar power. Here lay the potential for true growth as research and development uncovers cost effective, efficient means to develop these products for massive consumer use in the future.

Two papers were honored with the coveted John Matteucci Technical Excellence Award. On the vacuum web coating side, Don McClure of Acuity Consulting and Training won for his coverage of “Roll-to-Roll Processing of ZnO Flexible Active Matrix Display Backplanes and Integrated Circuits.” His presentation detailed how to fabricate arrays of thin film transistors into complex integrated circuits, such as active matrix display backplanes, on low-cost, flexible substrates in a roll-to-roll format. McClure felt this new method would be critical to reducing production costs that can compete with what he considers an already well-established amorphous silicon industry, particularly for low-cost applications.

From the web coating/laminating side, Dave Rumson of Sigmala USA won the John Matteucci Technical Excellence Award for his presentation titled, “A Paradigm Shift for Converting Shear Slitting Technologies.” His paper provided the advantages of electronic, servo-motor driven shear knife holders over mechanical/pneumatic devices, including a broad list of operational rules of thumb that contribute to best shear-slit materials. He explored the superior results obtained from electric control that eliminates negative aspects and maximizes slitting efficiency and profitability.

Social and networking events included a reception and tabletop exhibition (held throughout the event) sponsored by Intral; a 5K run to raise scholarship funding through AIMCAL and the Society of Vacuum Coaters in honor of Bernard Henry; a scramble golf tournament; a murder mystery dinner theatre; and a farewell reception sponsored by CMM Intl.

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