Very thin functional surfaces are enhancing an increasing number of products and components. Coated glass protects drivers from bright sunlight, causes water and dirt to slide off windowpanes and protects smartphone displays. LIMO Lissotschenko Mikrooptik, a laser and beam shaping specialist from Dortmund, Germany has developed a rapid tempering technology with which such surfaces can be heated and functionalized very gently, quickly and precisely.
The task sounds impossible: The layers to be treated must be heated to over 1000 degrees Celsius in just a fraction of a second in order to activate their sun protection or thin-film sensor functionality. The coatings, measuring from 0.1 to more than 100 micrometers, often contain tiny particles or molecules that must be cooled down in just a few tenths of a second after reaching the processing temperature so that their desired properties and structural sizes are not lost.
"Glass is a fragile material. Surfacing glass is a huge challenge that can only be successfully managed by very controlled and rapid heating and cooling," explains Dirk Hauschild, Director of Thin-Film Activation at LIMO. The key is an inline high-temperature process that heats thin functional layers very precisely over their full surface within milliseconds. This task is accomplished by the Activation Line 300, LIMO’s most powerful laser line source. "Thanks to targeted irradiation with the laser line profile, users can uniformly temper large surface areas without impacting the characteristics of the substrate," says Hauschild.
LIMO is one of several companies that deal in micromaterials machining at the IVAM product market "Micro, Nano & Materials". The International Association of Microtechnology, Nanotechnology, New Materials and Optics & Photonics (IVAM) is staging a joint showcase for the first time at SurfaceTechnology.
This leading international trade fair in Halle 3 covers all areas of surface technology. In addition to micromaterials machining, electroplating, industrial paint coating and plasma coating are further areas with strong representation. Further key themes are energy savings, resource efficiency and eco-friendly pre-treatment.
"The big advantage of SurfaceTechnology is its integration into the world's leading trade fair for industrial technology – HANNOVER MESSE," says Marc Siemering, Senior Vice-President of HANNOVER MESSE at Deutsche Messe AG. "All the industrial sectors featured in Hannover – for example wind power and compressed air and vacuum technology – rely on surface treatment products and are therefore potential customers and partners for our exhibitors. There are direct thematic synergies with the neighboring trade fairs." This applies for example to nanotechnology, which will be presented at Research & Technology in Hall 2, and to Industrial Supply in Hall 4, where industrial materials play an important role.