Pilot roll-to-roll bespoke application for Touchscreen applications

A company, based in China, manufacturing components for the electronics display industries, identified the need for an improved method of producing optically clear components used in touchscreen applications.

They approached E+R to supply a production tool with the capability of applying three coated layers to both sides of a polymer film.

The client provided a very demanding user requirement specification, with particular emphasis placed on the highest standards of optical clarity, overall product consistency and yield.

In order to achieve these criteria the process needed to be executed in a single pass though the machine, which minimised potential damage to sensitive layers and materials handling, both of which were the main contributors to yield losses to date.

Pilot roll-to-roll bespoke application for Touchscreen applications
Emerson & Renwick order secured for Reverse Gravure Coating Line to China

Using many years of experience in providing similar solutions the requirement was analysed by E+R and a number of solutions were considered before an initial layout concept was agreed.

Each coated layer had a thickness ranging from as low as 100 nanometres up to 1 micron and the reverse-kiss gravure technique was selected with air flotation drying to avoid contact with wet surfaces.

This concept was presented to the client and subsequently refined through regular discussions and a design created which fulfilled the user requirements and which also included some further enhancements suggested by E+R.

The basic machine arrangement included three two side coating stations with three air flotation dryers.

Other significant features included an ISO 5 (Class 100) on-machine environment from unwind to rewind, including dryers, non-stop operation by use of automatic unwind and rewind reel changes, two-side, in-line coat weight measurement of each layer and in-line visual inspection prior to winding using high resolution camera arrays for detection of micro imperfections.


The challenges continued through execution of the project.

Starting with an already compressed delivery schedule, the COVID-19 pandemic struck at the mid-point, initially with China being placed on lockdown and the subsequent disruptions to normal communications.

UK operations continued with up-to-date procedures adhered to for protection of the workforce and a flexible approach adopted elsewhere to ensure progress continued according to schedule.

Regular progress meetings were held with the Customer by internet conferencing to ensure they were kept informed at all times.


A full program of customer-witnessed Factory Acceptance Trials (FAT) was an original contractual obligation but once again the pandemic made normal practices impossible.

The machine was partially assembled in the E+R assembly hall and the trials were conducted using video conferencing, so the customer was able to witness the procedures remotely and with minimum disruption to the process.

With the FAT successfully completed the machine was disassembled and packed and despite all of the obstacles encountered along the way, shipped according to schedule.

The line is being installed by an E+R China team.

Emerson & Renwick order secured for Reverse Gravure Coating Line to China
Emerson & Renwick order secured for Reverse Gravure Coating Line to China

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