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Tangio & Natgraph Collaborate to Drive Further Manufacturing Improvements in Printed Electronics

Tangio & Natgraph Collaborate to Drive Further Manufacturing Improvements in Printed Electronics

VANCOUVER, Canada, Mar 26th 2018 – Tangio Printed Electronics, a division of Sytek Enterprises Inc., a global leader in Printed Touch Sensing Solutions, extends its leadership in printed electronics with the installation of Natgraph’s latest dryer technology.

Over three decades experience has taught us that producing best-in-class printed force sensors is far from simple. Even minor variables in the printing and drying processes can seriously impact outgoing quality. The stark reality is many competing products in today's market are not fit for real-world applications, some not even compliant with their own data sheets!

Tangio’s leadership in printed force sensors is realised through strategic collaboration with the world’s foremost materials and process vendors. This is showcased in our relationship with UK based Natgraph, Europe's largest manufacturer of conveyor dryers utilising forced air, IR and UV radiation. Tangio is therefore delighted to announce the recent installation of a Natgraph Air Force Combination UV dryer at its Headquarter and R&D facility in Vancouver, Canada. 

Robin Jeffries, CEO at Tangio commented, “Natgraph’s dryer technology is a significant contributing factor in our ability to drive innovation, quality and yield in printed force and capacitive sensors. Their “PEAK” proposition is fully aligned with Tangio’s priorities and values. The combination of technologies in their dryers enables our engineers to successfully process the latest developments in functional and conductive inks. Tangio's global leadership in solutions such as active-matrix 3D touch sensors wouldn't be possible without this expertise.”

Douglas Gray, Sales Director at Natgraph stated, “Natgraph considers printed electronics to be a key strategic market that is well suited to our product and company capabilities. It is therefore very pleasing to have recently supplied a high-performance dryer to Tangio Printed Electronics in Canada. Tangio’s focus on functional printing and in particular Force Sensitive Resistors requires considerable precision and control from the drying process and this is a central part of the Natgraph proposition. In functional printing the drying aspect of the screen printing process comes to the fore. If the drying of the printed features is lacking then there be considerable product variation, reduced yields and added cost. As a market innovator Tangio fully recognised this and the importance of our PEAK proposition.”

Robin added, “as a center of excellence for printed electronics in North America we are happy to collaborate with customers and strategic partners who can benefit from our process expertise, including the use of our Natgraph dryer for trials and development.”

About Tangio Printed Electronics

Tangio, the Printed Electronics division of Sytek Enterprises Inc, is a global leader in the design and manufacture of a wide range of standard and custom touch sensing solutions. From simple high-performance "single point" FSR sensors, through to state-of-the-art 3D multi-touch resistive sensors, capacitive sensors, and other novel innovations in printed electronics. Tangio offers unrivalled levels of integration, enabling customers to add value and reduce costs in their supply chain and get new products to market faster. Tangio’s philosophy of “Affordable Innovation” enables OEM’s and Tiers to deploy next generation HMI solutions in their products today. Tangio is a global company headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, with strategically located internal and partner sites in Europe, SE Asia, and India, supporting a rapidly expanding customer base. For more information go to www.tangio.ca

About Natgraph

Natgraph Ltd is based in the UK and is Europe's largest manufacturer of conveyorised dryers utilising forced air, infra red energy and ultra violet radiation. These dryers are predominantly used to dry surface coatings applied during the screenprinting process. However, Natgraph's flexibility and continuous improvement ethos means demand for new application solutions are being designed and developed on an ongoing basis. Established for more than 30 years, Natgraph has installed over 12,000 items of equipment in more than 90 countries.

Finding your dynamic range and a sensor to go with it - Force Touch, Expressive Touch and the mechanics that drive it

Finding your dynamic range and a sensor to go with it - Force Touch, Expressive Touch and the mechanics that drive it

The Challenge

You have a human-machine interface (HMI) device that will use force sensing technology.  You want to get the best possible performance out of your force sensor, so your electronics can easily interpret variations in user input force.

The Solution

A force sensor that is perfectly tuned to the input you expect it to sense.  This match-up is often overlooked in human-machine interface design.  Not all force sensors are created equal, regardless of how many single-zone sensors you see floating around on Digikey or Adafruit, or right here in our store.  These off-the-shelf sensors have a standard spacer thickness, standard trace layout and standard force sensing ink resistance.  While off-the-shelf sensors may be perfect for the testing and R&D you plan to do, you will eventually need to design your device with various other constraints: Backlighting, rubber actuators, bends and angles, etc... That off-the-shelf sensor will no longer work for you in that situation.  

Metrics to consider

  1. Initial Trigger Point: When you design your custom force sensor, you need to consider what the initial trigger point will be.  This is the force required to make that initial actuation of the sensing circuit. If you are directly actuating the force sensor, then you can have a relatively light trigger point, because movement around the sensor can be very subtle.  If you have a rubber actuator above your force sensor, a light trigger point can be disastrous, because typically the travel and offset of rubber actuators are not manufactured to a high enough tolerance to ensure that inadvertent contact with the sensor will occur.  So, you don't want to be in a situation where the mere weight of your actuator will trigger your sensor.
  2. Dynamic Range: From the initial trigger point up to the maximum meaningful force that is applied to the sensor, you need to know the dynamic range in order to have your force sensor designed to work within that range.  If a force sensing insole is designed to sense variations in gait, the dynamic range should account for the various phases of our gait cycle or stride, within which, forces exerted on the sensor will vary considerably.  When dynamic range is fully understood and quantified before designing the custom force sensor, sensing data will be easier for electronics to interpret, and will be predictable and repeatable.

Putting It All Together

When trigger point and dynamic range are identified and documented, we can begin designing the custom force sensor.  The tools in our toolbox for custom sensor design can vary, depending upon the application.  Typically, we look at changing spacer thickness, trace layout and force sensing ink resistance.  These are the 'knobs to twiddle' to get the force sensor tuned to perfectly capture force variations.  

In the graph below, you will see the wide range of force sensing inks that we use here at Tangio Printed Electronics.  When we design your custom force sensor, we will most likely use one of these, adjust spacer thickness and vary trace layout, to perfectly tune your sensor for initial trigger force and dynamic range.

 

All these and more can be found in the design engineering space at Tangio Printed Electronics.  Give us a call today at +1.604.988.1125 x 331, or fill in our Contact Form