KYMC X Electronic Ink Display
(A glimpse into the technology sector)
Flexible packaging has always been one of the main targeted sectors for KYMC. To provide machines and production solutions for the flexible packaging industry for over half a century. In recent years KYMC has step foot into the technology sector and is now taking on more and more projects in this field. KYMC’s experience in the roll-to-roll, coating and lamination application became a winning factor in the technology sector, applying this knowledge over to areas including electronic ink display, flexible lightings, flexible sensors, car batteries, and flexible electronic boards. What is it like to work with technology companies? How is it different from the flexible packaging industry? In this article, KYMC will share its experience from two different angles: specification requirements and commissioning criteria.
Taking an electronic ink display company as an example. When the electronic ink display company came to KYMC for help. Their requirement was certain. They would like KYMC to help them achieve a multi-layer lamination process for mass production. A prototype machine had been built up and tested beforehand as a benchmark. The end result for the machine designed and built by KYMC was a 5-fold increase in production capacity when compared to the prototype.
During the collaboration process, KYMC found the electronic ink display company to be much more data-driven when compared to the flexible packaging industry. One of the reasons is because of their awfully expensive processed materials (substrates). Material waste needs to be at the minimum, and when an unfortunate defect occurs, traceability to the granular level is necessary.
The data-driven requirements are applied to two main areas, to the machine, and to the product resume. Machine data are collected for real-time process control. This allows for real-time process monitoring. Therefore, be able to respond to any irregularities with a quick response time. At the same time, this real-time data will be feed into a central commanding platform to become a part of the plant operation overview. Machine data are also stored and analyzed for the future purpose of preventive maintenance and leveraging production efficiencies.
Big emphasis on producing a detailed product resume for traceability
Product Resume Items
Raw material source and specification
Production process data
Machine state(condition) data
The second data-driven requirement is for building up a product resume. The purpose of the product resume is to ensure traceability. To allow tracing back to information such as the raw material origins and specifications, production process information, and equipment condition information.
The lamination machine was designed with bar code scanners at each material loading station. This allows for the operators to scan each raw material coming in. During the multi-lamination production process, each raw material roll will run out at a different time as they are with a different length. Therefore, the final laminated product will consist of different combinations of raw material rolls. The product resume will enable the traceability back to which individual raw material rolls are used during the lamination process.
Functional Result V.S Visual Result
One thing that KYMC found interesting is that, unlike the printing process where cameras are used to check for the registration, color density, and L*a*b* value during production for quality. The lamination quality for the electronic ink display is hard to check. A complete quality check is not possible until the laminated product has been tested for its functionality. This brings us to the next topic on where the machine commissioning criteria are based on production metrics and not based on the end measurable visual result.
The commissioning criteria of the electronic ink display company are based on production metrics instead of visual metrics. This is quite different from the packaging industry where visual metrics of the end product are the key identifier for success or failure. As there is no confirmative method to evaluate the laminated product’s functionality until conducting testing downstream, the assumption is that a controlled production metric will lead to an accepted functional end product. Therefore, the commissioning criteria are based on the precise measurements of the tension, temperature, and viscosity during the production process. Overall, it was a very data-driven commissioning process.
Synchronized Design and Project Management
Throughout the project, there were three main teams from the electronic ink display company: the equipment team, the production team and the process design team. This allows for the synchronization between procurement, production and design. This will minimize the risk of generating an over-specification or under specification result. At the same time ensuring the equipment is up for the production tasks.
The project design scope was broken down into 3 main parts: roll to roll lamination, data collection/data analytics and roll to sheet conversion. KYMC worked together with the client to ensure the different functionalities are synchronized to operate as one.
It is through these technology projects that leapfrog KYMC into the industry 4.0 applications. It is through bringing these experiences back to the flexible packaging industry that benefits the KYMC customers. KYMC doesn’t believe in a perfect product design or a perfect development process. However, the continuous improvement mindset has helped KYMC to remain competitive in the market. Most often, staying ahead of the game before its competitors. To outperform their competitors in terms of their capabilities and credentials. To allow the company to triumph over its competitors.