Cambridge Technology Development
(CTD), working alongside a large multi-national client, has successfully developed a large scale industrial process for plating copper onto one metre wide, thin polyester web.
The process uses low cost, printed seed layers to define the antenna circuit. Bulk copper is then plated onto the seed layer to produce a reliable, high conductivity antenna.
Throughput is dependent on required thickness but the company says that several metres per minute are achievable.
Copper quality is similar to traditional print and etch manufacture because both are electro-deposited copper. However, print and etch is expensive and wasteful because 75% of the product is removed and disposed of. Plating by contrast adds only the required copper and can operate with no waste at all because the wash water and spent electrolyte can be recycled.
Fully operating RFID tags have now been created by potential licensees of the process by adding proprietary chips either using a strap or by bonding. Other licensees for the process are being actively sort.