National Polymer Roll to Roll Coating Development Services combines skilled product development and engineering expertise with specialized methodologies to create roll to roll coated products ranging from very straight forward applications to the most technically challenging. Our team has a successful track record of handling very complex development projects that lead to effective commercialization for our clients.
Roll to Roll coating development typically is divided into three separate phases:
- Lab Bench Evaluation
- Process Experimentation and Development
- Scale up to Volume Production
Lab Bench Evaluation
The roll to roll coating development process begins with planning and design of the formulation (or modifications thereof) and the process. The feasibility of various process options are first evaluated on a bench scale with experimental design to determine the effectiveness of a particular method vs. the coating solution properties and drying conditions.
Modifications and testing of variables also take place at this stage to optimize as much as possible before starting on the coating line. Any web handling concerns are also addressed at this phase based on substrate properties that may require special setup or machine modification to reliably handle a sensitive film. Since National Polymer Coating is experienced at handling a variety of technically difficult coating applications, we are able to put our customers well on their way down the path to success.
Process Experimentation and Development
It is critical that the experimentation phase of roll to roll coating development is handled with great attention to detail. The conclusions from the bench phase are used to design process trials. A design of experiments (DOE) is typically used to analyze even more variables such as:
- solution viscosity/rheology
- solution concentration
- coating method/deposition
- line speed
- oven conditions
- and more
This iterative but scientific process is used to shorten development time, optimize speed to market and to ensure a reliable manufacturing process when the effort is completed. The final results are then used to write specifications and to create standard operating procedures (SOPs). Typically, a first article material sample is produced under these conditions for market or end user testing.
Scale up and Volume Production
Scale up usually consists of three distinct pre-production manufacturing runs with three distinct sets of raw materials. In some cases, however, this is not possible due to raw material cost or availability. The best effort is then made to vary process inputs to determine consistency.
Once process variability is determined to be acceptable, the product and process are released for manufacturing. Quality Assurance procedures are established, and critical property tests are incorporated into a Certification of Analysis. All specifications and SOPs are incorporated into National Polymer Coating’ s ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System. Production proceeds on a contract basis (supplier manages raw materials) or a toll basis (customer manages raw materials). Pricing is established on a unit basis and purchase orders are ready for acceptance. Customers can now focus on the business of marketing and selling with assurance that production at National Polymer is consistent, reliable, and cost effective.
If you have any questions about the National Polymer Roll to Roll Coating Development process, or want to discuss a current coating project, whether it involves something that needs development or an item that is currently in production, we welcome the opportunity to speak with you. You can reach one of our coating technology experts at (800) 679-0477 to find out more about how we can help.