Roll-to-roll printed electronics is proved to be an effective way to fabricate electrical devices on various substrates. High precision overlay alignment plays a key role to create multi-layer electrical devices. Multiple rollers are adopted to support and transport the substrate web. In order to eliminate the negative effect of the machining error and assembling error of the roller, a whole roll-to-roll system including two aerostatic bearing devices with arrayed restrictors is proposed in this paper. Different to the conventional roller, the aerostatic bearing device can create a layer of air film between the web and the device to realize non-contact support and transport. Based on simplified Navier–Stokes equations, the theoretical model of the air film is established. Moreover, the pressure distribution of the whole flow field and single restrictor in different positions are modeled by conducting numerical simulation with computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software FLUENT. The load capacity curves and stiffness curves are generated to provide guidance for optimizing the structure of the device. A prototype of the aerostatic bearing system is set up and the experiment tests are carried out. For the proposed aerostatic bearing roller with a diameter of 100 mm and length of 200 mm, the experimental results show the aerostatic bearing method can achieve the position accuracy in a range of 1 μm in the vertical direction of the web, which is much better than that using existing methods.
- Roll-to-roll printed electronics
- Aerostatic bearing
- CFD simulation
- Deviation elimination