Valmet General Develops Compact Web Coating Solutions for RD

BEDFORD, U.K.—Increasing demand for in-house research and development resources had led Valmet General to develop a new range of small-scale laboratory and pilot-type 'Mini-Lab & Holosec' vacuum coaters, reports the converting equipment manufacturer. "This reflects an evolving market trend of customers wanting to buy smaller, versatile machines in both special (sputter, e-beam, etc.) and standard (evaporation) types of metallzing." The benefit of this recent, new activity in the market will be more rapid improvements in coatings on a wide range of flexible substrates, adds Valmet Converting.

According to the co., the vacuum coating development machines currently available include a 1-meter-wide, 3-zone sputter coater; a 2-meter-wide, high-speed evaporation coater; a plasma enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD) machine and a roll-to-roll evaporation box coater. "These research and development machines particularly are suited and designed for special converting applications, including high-value coatings—anti-static, anti-reflective, and other conductive coatings within the 'specials' market. Other examples are clear barrier coatings for food packaging as well as security-type coatings, such as holograms and de-metallized films," says Valmet General.

Valmet's web site provides these details for the Mini-Lab:

The Mini-Lab machine will operate at speeds of between 0.01 and 5m/min. It will have a maximum web width of 400mm, with a maximum roll diameter of 450mm, on a 3-in core. The machine contains two cathodes, which are either single planar cathodes, dual rotatable cathodes or combinations of both.

The Mini-Lab machine is controlled by the new Siemens WinCC computer system, providing enhanced graphics and data acquisition. A servo-drive system is included for low-speed accuracy when running. A high-efficiency pumping system is also included, with reduced noise emissions to enhance the laboratory nature of the machines.

Ideally, the Mini-Lab vacuum coater is suited to a laboratory type environment—its overall design and size kept to a minimum at 2 meters high, 2 meters in width and 3 meters in length.

In addition, reports Valmet, the Holosec vacuum web coater helps coating operations meet the requirements of small batch size and high-value production, "typical of the security hologram and smaller converter market," says the mfr.

The Holosec combines all General's vacuum web coating technology in one neat and compact production unit for specialist producers.

Versatility is very important in this market, so the machine has been designed with technology for zinc sulphide, chromium, aluminium and copper coatings. This is also a means of satisfying the need for low-volume, high added-value materials, without a large capital investment.

"The flexibility and versatility of both the Mini-Lab and Holosec vacuum web coating machines gives a unique, low-cost approach to small-scale production and development solutions," says Steve Carey, Valmet General president. "We expect to build the first of many from this range of machines during the second half of 2003. These machines truly offer a unique blend of the latest technology, at very affordable and competitive prices."

For more technical information, please contact Valmet General Ltd. at +44 (0) 1706 622442 or via email at sales.general Visit Valmet Converting at

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