PEN-based materials are expected to find applications in automotive circuits, sensors, flexible heaters and in consumer-driven markets such as cellular phones and smart cards.
Recently, ICI Polyester has developed a PEN-based flexible printed circuit using its Kaladex polyester naphthalate films. The films are also being used in adhesive tape applications.
Fraivillig Materials in Austin, Texas, claims its PEN-based PolyAmber laminates provide performance and appearance similar to higher-priced polyimide laminates.
``The [flexible printed circuit] market is moving in the right direction for the use of PEN films,'' James Fraivillig, president of Fraivillig Materials, said in a news release.
``With a Kaladex-stabilized PEN film, you can get solder performance and stability at about one-third the cost in raw materials. Even with processing and manufacturing costs, a significant savings translates to the circuit buyer. The PEN circuit is robust, and the processing and handling are similar to polyimide materials, making the transition simple,'' he said.
Flexible printed circuits have grown because they have minimal space requirements, are lighter than printed circuitry boards and can be placed in restricted areas.
The choices for substrate materials are PET, polyimide and PEN. Polyimides, though more expensive than PET, have better resistance to heat and chemical exposure and more dimensional stability at elevated temperatures.
PPI Industries, based in Narberth, Pa., is manufacturing a new series of Kaladex PEN films used in adhesive tapes for electrical, electronic and industrial applications.
``The new tapes offer the unique physical properties of PEN, including high tensile strength at elevated temperatures compared to polyimide films, but at much lower costs,'' according to Michael Sudofsky, president of PPI Industries.
``Kaladex systems offer Class F electrical performance with significantly thinner film thicknesses,'' he said in a news release.
The first product offerings are PPI-6910, specifically designed for cable wrap, foil laminations and electrical applications; and PPI-6911, for use in electronic masking and other high-temperature applications.
The PEN polyester group is a part of ICI Polyester, which in the United States is a business unit of ICI Americas Inc., an affiliate of London-based Imperial Chemical Industries plc.
The PEN polyester group, based in Wilmington, Del., operates three manufacturing facilities.