A fine-coating process that protects conductive surfaces from oxidisation has been developed by chemists at Datum Developments.
The coating process, similar to electroforming and dubbed Polcoat, deposits a fine polyimide sheet film directly onto the surfaces of micro-scale products manufactured in a range of industries.
Datum Developments, the Devon-based creator of Polcoat, claims the deposition process is finely controllable and represents the first time that polyimide films can be tailored in thinness to meet precision requirements.
Peter Jeffries, chief technologist at Datum Developments, said: ‘At the moment you can’t get films below 25 microns and we have developed a new film that can go down to below a micron using our new process.’
The company claims the coating process is suitable for advanced precision engineering products for energy generation, plastic electronics, and composites.
‘Our target audience has been the electronics sector because that’s what we’re familiar with. However, it’s equally applicable to the likes of the biomedical and aerospace industries,’ said Jeffries.
He added that the film would fit into high-end wet processing facilities but would not be of use to those who use ‘bucket-plating’ techniques.
‘Our target is to offer coatings at under £1 per square foot at a thickness of 10µ for volume applications,’ said Jeffries, who believes this will be significantly cheaper than current techniques.
The life of the product is claimed to be similar to other commercially available polyimide films, which is typically about 25 years. However, The Engineer was informed this time would vary depending on the environment the product works in.