The Path to Matching Ink Recipe and Substrate
Joaneo is a Luxembourg-based brand dedicated to the manufacturing of printed electronics on paper and other substrates. Part of Victor Buck Services, a company with 22 years of experience in the printing business, Joaneo embraces an ecofriendly philosophy in which environmental responsibility is taken seriously.
On the Way Towards the Right Kind of Ink
Although the notion to start an RFID business within Victor Buck Services goes back to 2018, Joaneo truly built up its business during the pandemic. Back then, Joachim Priem, Business Development Manager at Joaneo remembers, “a lot of time was spent waiting for components.”
The Joaneo team used that time to investigate different inks and substrates. “We knew we could print antennas, but we needed to make sure that the ink recipe matches the different substrates to ensure a stable resistance of the antenna and thus performance of the inlays”, Joachim Priem explains. Many experiments with different inks and substrates were conducted. Drying time also was a concern. In the end, silver was identified as the best conductor for Joaneo’s inks and eco-friendly printing process.
Silver Ink for RFID/NFC Antennas and Inlays
Silver is a common conductor in inks. Silver is superior to copper, showing better conductivity and stable performance over time, even with eventual oxidation. Silver also offers environmental advantages, as it can be applied in a dry printing process and no wet chemicals are required. This makes the printing process lean and clean compared to traditional techniques. The silver ink is applied to the substrate in a rotary screen-printing unit in combination with infrared- and UV-curing of the printed antennas.
Steep Learning Curve and Creation of a Database on Inks and Substrates
Another point requiring experimentation was the volume of ink applied to the substrate. “It was a steep learning curve for us, but we came out with a process which is stable and provides a very good performance on different types of paper and other substrates”, says Joachim Priem. Joaneo built up a database of knowledge on inks, substrates and processes during their phase of research. This knowledge offers a range of new and exciting possibilities in the future, Joachim Priem believes.
The ultimate match ink/substrate depends on each client application. In order to facilitate discussions with clients and keep exploring new possibilities, Joaneo’s team is looking for new talent who would be eager to be part of the evolution to print electronics on paper.