ORELTECH Technological FAQ

General and applications

The currently used high-temperature processes ruin delicate substrates, stunting the move from hard and rigid to flexible and soft substrates. The price of materials is another huge problem, of course, with the price of electrodes reaching 80% of the total price of the device.

We offer an alternative way to these and many other problems and help you cut costs in your manufacturing process. Read more about the benefits of printing with particle-free inks. 

Furthermore, our transparent silver ink performs as well as an ITO electrode, but with the additional benefit of flexibility. Read more about the flexible OLED prototype constructed with our silver transparent ink.

We developed new particle-free metallization inks based on precious metals. They can be applied in many different ways, e.g. dip dye, inkjet printing, spray/aerosol, and a few more. Instead of using heat or UV laser to cure our inks, we use a novel cold plasma process to sinter the printed layers. That allows us to make the metallization process benign to the substrate, while you get to save on material consumption, energy expenditure, and waste disposal costs.

Think about the difference between snow and ice. In an established approach - nanoparticle inks behave like snow: they are deposited in a form of small particles on top of the substrate. In OrelTech metallization, metal behaves like ice - it grows directly on the surface and forms a uniform layer. That means better adhesion, better cohesion, higher stability, and lower surface roughness.

 

In practical terms, this means your layers are thinner, more flexible, and can even be transparent while maintaining high levels of conductivity.

OrelTech products have originally been formulated and developed as conductive inks for use in printed and flexible electronics like OLEDs, sensors, or solar cells.

Over time, we expanded to metallic coatings as well, e.g. for plating on plastics, decorative purposes, medical devices/components, and several others.

OrelTech “inks” can be applied as metal coatings, especially plating on plastics. OTech plating inks have excellent adhesion to many surfaces, including plastics, so there is no need for the preconditioning process, seed layer, or use of chromic acid. OrelTech’s plating-on-plastics process is simpler, greener, and cleaner than industry standards.

Read more about the benefits of our technology in the plating process.

Read an interview with an electroplating expert.

Our customers range from small start-ups boosting their competitive edge using our technology to large, international corporations seeking to launch new products or revolutionize existing metallization processes. 

Our customers come from a wider range of sectors than we could have ever imagined. We learn as much about their innovative use cases from them, as they learn about metallization from us.

 

All our customers have in common that they are highly innovation-minded and early adopters of new and disruptive technology.

OTech Products

We offer silver, gold, and platinum inks. Gold and platinum inks are especially unique products with no competition on the market. We also offer other metals (palladium, iridium) as beta-stage inks.

Our metal layers are very thin, usually no more than 500 nm, and thus very flexible. It is possible to deposit single layers in the range of 30 - 2000 nm. We have a lot of examples of our metal layers on plastics, paper, and textiles. They retain conductivity after tens of thousands of bends.

Read more about the flexible OLED prototype constructed with our silver transparent ink.

Yes. We can coat 3D printed surfaces of any complexity.

No, our metal layers are very thin and flat (2D).

Please contact us directly, and we will answer all your specific questions. You can also check out our datasheets on the Products page for typical parameters.

There are two possibilities:

  1. You can order a sample kit. It contains several examples of our metalized layers on various surfaces. It has a fixed price, and we can add extra samples if you have a special request. Please contact us to get a quote.

  2. You can order an ink sample and test it at your convenience. The minimum sample is 100 ml for silver inks and 30 ml for gold and platinum inks. Note that you will need a plasma etcher/machine to cure your layers.

Get in touch with us through the contact form on our website and we will answer you promptly about purchasing possibilities.

You can order initial tests with several inks from our ink library to try and find a fit for your particular substrate.

 

You can send us your own substrates to test against our existing ink library and deliver them to your facilities for further internal testing.

Our standard shipping time is 2 weeks.

Yes. It is possible to organize a workshop on how-tos and best practices for applying our inks.

You can store our inks at room temperature, protected from direct light. We promise a shelf life of about 12 months for most products.

Our inks are quite practical in the sense that there is no waste. If you use methods like printing or barrel plating, the liquid part of the ink will be degraded during the processing with plasma to simple gasses which are carried out by the exhaust pipe, leaving behind a pure metal layer on your substrate. That means you are left with no chemical waste after the processing of our inks.

 

To clean our inks in their liquid form you can just use isopropyl alcohol or similar solvents.

Plasma Curing

No, our inks are specially developed to be cured with a cold metallization process.

Read more about the benefits of plasma systems.

Plasma curing is a quick and safe process. Curing usually takes between 3 and 15 min. The curing temperature does not exceed 70°C. The short curing time and low curing temperature lead to significant energy savings, while also enabling the use of temperature-sensitive substrates.

 

Plasma curing breaks down the solvent to benign gaseous molecules, leaving behind a pure metal layer and no chemical waste whatsoever.

First of all, the operational expenses of plasma instruments are much lower than for ovens, and you save money over time. And second, and maybe more importantly, the lack of nanoparticles allows us to make our ink prices more reasonable. Nanoparticle synthesis is usually a large part of the ink price, and in our case, we just don’t need it. So, if you summarize these factors, you win quite a lot in the long run.

You do, but you have a large choice here. There are tens of plasma equipment providers, all around the world, who offer both off-the-shelf available and custom-made devices. Plasma equipment is both batch and roll-to-roll compatible and is widely used in the electronics industry, for example, for surface cleaning. There is a chance you already have such a device in your line. We offer full support in the choice of the most suitable instrument for you.

Plasma metallization is a quick and simple process. It occurs at low temperatures - always below 70°C - and does not produce any liquid or solid waste. You can say that it is by far the greenest metallization process available today. Plasma also does not require vacuum conditions, and curing of metal layers takes about 3-15 minutes.

Ink Deposition

We can affirm this as well. We have tested this process and achieved uniformly covered small plastic pieces with only 5 min of plasma curing.

Yes, there is a variety of R2R plasma machines readily available on the market.

Yes, we tested our inks on a great variety of plastics (ABS, PLA, PET, PI, PC, PEEK, ...) and achieved very good results.

That is not an issue. We have a large ink library suitable for many different substrates, ranging from glass to paper, and from PET to fabrics. We can find a good fit for your substrate, and if not, we can make a new ink especially for you. We have extensive R&D experience in suiting our inks to “tricky” materials.

We tested our inks on Epson, Spectra, Konica Minolta, Dimatix, and Ricoh printheads and they are compatible with our inks. Many others may also be and we are steadily trying new printheads.

No, unfortunately, screen printing is one of the few techniques that our inks are not suitable for.

Our inks can be applied using a variety of ways, depending on your needs. If you need precision and intricate patterning, we offer inks for inkjet printing. If you have a 3-dimensional substrate, or just want to increase production speed, we offer aerosol sprayable inks or just baths for dip-coating. If you are looking for something in the middle, the slot-die coating is also an option. We can adapt our inks to almost any known deposition method, based on your preferences.

For further questions please contact us

OrelTech GmbH
Rudower Chaussee 29
12489 Berlin