Status report - Production flow of JIRS30 toward Engineering Samples
8 June, 2023
The work to establish a stable and volume-delivering product flow of JIRS30 within the collaboration framework with Varioprint is in the final phase. Now that we have left the development mode and have the capacity to complete panels in volume continuously, we can confirm that we produce thousands of functional sensors with each run.
On April 20, JonDeTech announced we received the first full-scale panels from Varioprint with the locked basic recipe for JIRS30. We classify these as ES0. Today we have a continuous production flow and are now working on evaluating each run to eliminate variations and deviations to obtain three runs with a stable and high volume of functioning elements per panel. We have implemented many quality controls in the flow, indicating that we currently have several products that will deliver the ES1 level. ES1 means that we reach the level that we judge to be sufficient to meet customers regarding volume and price. Thus, we will also reach ES status and can push toward final product qualification.
The production flow, which today is in a fabless setup and thus completely external, consists of several standard processes within the PCB industry and some completely new sub-steps that make our product unique. As everyone has become aware, the work has been very time-consuming, and some significant discoveries have created the need to review technology choices and purchase new equipment. During the spring of 2023, all critical activities were completed, and we are now getting working elements out of every run we carry out.
It can be challenging to get an overall understanding of what is happening and where we are. Below is an overview of some major activities that have brought us to where we are today.
In 2021, we identified that an entirely new plating line for our nanowires was needed to be able to process panels with stable quality. A project was started, and equipment was ready in the spring of 2022. Operational personnel within SMF&More are now trained to manage the process without support from JonDeTech.
Chemicals via Schlötter
The critical chemical baths required for the WED line were developed entirely in an R&D environment. We needed analysis methods for re-conditioning (maintenance of baths). Contact was made with Schlötter in November 2021, and work went on for much of 2022 to produce the three chemical baths we needed for the WED process. As we have mentioned earlier, via a development project, we were able to increase the quality of the baths and establish analysis methods and implement a substantial reduction in process times. A positive effect of the outcome via the Schlötter project is that the baths are very stable over time, regardless of whether we run continuously or in batches. In November 2022, we finished the project with Schlötter and can now handle the chemicals in an everyday production capacity.
Hofstetter is a leading company in metallization. For several years we had quality variations in adhesion to our plastic, but with the support of development resources from Hofstetter, we could identify new equipment we have now qualified. This sub-process is currently handled entirely by operational staff; where we have closed the development project for some time and are running this in the normal production flow.
Within Varioprint, we have now transferred all sub-processes to operational staff. I.e., all sub-processes are documented, and the project team carries out training.
The image below shows that all sub-processes are integrated into Varioprint's everyday life. What remains to be done is establishing the final sub-step to reach a final packaged product, ready to be sent to the customer.