If the pen is mightier than the sword, then the paper that pen is scribed upon is empowered in some fashion. But what about a specialized paper that's intended to be, literally, powered?
Arjowiggins Creative Papers' PowerCoat (www.powercoatpaper.com) is a specially engineered cellulosic paper formulation and coating process that facilitates the seamless integration of printed electronics and printed graphics.
The thermally-stable, sustainable substrate has polymer-like smoothness that offers excellent printability and ink adhesion properties. Its surface reduces the consumption of expensive silver inks and supports high-resolution fine patterning (down to 5µm) of any solution-based electronic layer. A 5- to 10-time reduction in silver ink consumption has been demonstrated compared to conventional screen printing technology when using PowerCoat in radio-frequency identification (RFID) antenna inkjet printing.
The material can be made using conventional pressroom environments and printing processes and is 100 percent recyclable, biodegradable and FSC certified.
In July 2013, PowerCoat was recognized with an InterTech Technology Award from the Printing Industries of America (www.printing.org).
We asked Arjowiggins Creative Papers to respond to a few of our questions about this intriguing technology; here are the responses from Jose-Anne d'Auvergne, brand manager:
Please describe the product and technology.
Powercoat is a patented technology that turns paper into a flexible substrate for printed electronics. This revolutionary new paper substrate makes it possible to print electronic devices directly on paper. Powercoat doesn't contain any plastic; it's recyclable and biodegradable and dramatically reduces the consumption of inks. The raw pulp material for Powercoat is SFC certified, making it an environmentally responsible choice.
This printed electronics paper has an excellent smoothness (comparable to PET/PEN plastics) and boasts high thermal stability. It can endure a sintering cycle set at 200°C for 5 minutes without any noticeable change in physical characteristics. It's ideal for roll-to-roll processing because of its high dimensional stability under mechanical tension. It also enables high-resolution printing of fine patterns with fewer registration issues. This paper also enables information to be stored and emitted, and when used for packaging, it enables interaction between the package and the consumer and between the package and the producer.
What are the targeted end-use markets for this technology?
Powercoat is ideal for all packaging needs across a wide range of industries, including, food, beverages, textiles, pharmaceuticals.
What are the most relevant packaging-related attributes or options?
Powercoat makes it possible for packaging to interact directly with the consumer, whether on the shelf or at home. When Powercoat is is printed directly on a package, the package can transmit data to the consumer via the consumer's smartphone or cellphone. The consumer would then be informed when the package was moved or opened, when its contents were depleted or when the product expired.
A standard PowerCoat product exists (Product: PowercoatTM 230 - 220 g/m2, thickness 230µ ). However, depending on the end uses, the Arjowiggins Creative Papers technical team can work alongside clients to adapt the product to their specific needs.
What kind of activity are you seeing for the technology?
There a quite a few project in progress at that moment, but we are not able to disclose much information on these. At the various trade shows that we exhibit at, we always demonstrate various interesting applications e.g. Interaction between circuits (/chips) printed on our substrate and mobile telephones using near field communication.