Christian Stöhr is the Global Account Manager for Semiconductor Related Products at Mühlbauer GmbH & Co. KG. Christian has been with the company for more than ten years and has been deeply involved in the development & implementation of LED-based Flex production solutions. With his international experience & engineering background, he built a worldwide network of industry related companies, and trained local staff in the Asian region for leading sales positions in the Mühlbauer Group.
Smart and Flexible Luminaire Production Solution
Mühlbauer introduces a complete solution for the Reel to Reel production of luminaires on flexible substrate in the area of low- and mid-power applications. The solution consists of two separate systems that use a high-volume manufacturing process. The upstream production process comprises the production of a flexible circuit, whereas the subsequent process attaches the LED and other components to this substrate which is making a luminaire out of it. The flexible substrate production technology is a complete new development. The LED attachment process was continuously extended to a multicomponent process. The solution achieves major cost reductions, advancements in the final product, more freedom in design, independence from suppliers, and massively faster time to market.
Further progress was achieved in the understanding of the design rules for flexible circuit production and luminaires, the bonding and curing technologies according to different end application, and the substrate material selection between aluminum and copper for flexible substrate production in relation to their respective areas for use. The flexible circuit production line uses structuring technology and uses a flexible thin film PET-Aluminum with down to 40µm thickness as input material. The final product shows a structured power line down to 300µm with a clearance down to 150µm. Speed is up to 30m/min. This process has two major advantages. First, it provides a very low cost of ownership of down to 3EUR/m² which is only 3-5% compared to the standard PCB, which is varying at around 50-100EUR/m². Second, the manufacture of a completely new designed flexible circuit is possible within just 4 hours.
After the launch of its flexible LED production line TAL 15000_LED in 2015, Mühlbauer further developed the luminaire assembly process towards a universal system: the multicomponent line. Besides the standard jetting of adhesive, now the dispensing of ICPs and solder paste is also possible. New curing requirements result out of this, like the integration of an inline reflow oven. Furthermore, the component attachment has been simplified and enlarged. Now, a high variety of components can be attached: SMD or Flip Chip LEDs, sensors, connectors for final luminaire wiring, capacitors or even RFID Flip Chips and other electrical components, meeting any future trend in Smart Lighting. Advantages of the luminaire attachment process are the lowest lumen/dollar ratio on the market and the direct level 2 luminaire production in high volumes. Even high power applications can be addressed with this system. Combined with the flexible circuit production line a time to market of under 24h can be achieved.