Promotions, Tech Developments at Flint Ink

By: E&P Staff

Flint Ink Corp. of Ann Arbor, Mich., recently announced the appointments of two executives and two initiatives related to its Precisia LLC subsidiary, which is working on radio frequency identification (RFID) and other printed electronics applications.

James Rogers, who put together and ran the technical and product development team that was eventually spun off as Precisia, is now Flint Ink’s new business development director, succeeding Leonard Walle, who retired after almost 33 years with the company. Rogers now oversees development of new markets, business models and technologies. He earlier was technical director of analytical chemistry and physical sciences at Flint’s research and manufacturing technology center. He joined Flint in 2000, after working for DSM Desotech and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co.

At the unit Rogers helped create, Joseph Raksis was named chairman and CEO of Precisia, where Jim Rohrkemper remains president. Raksis retains his position as senior vice president for research and new market development at Flint, which he joined five years ago after working for W.R. Grace and Co. Trained in physical organic chemistry, Raksis holds a dozen U.S. patents and is president of the National Printing Ink Research Institute.

Precisia said it produced fully functional RFID tags with high-speed printed antennas in one location. The tags consist of a chip and an antenna. Precisia uses conductive inks to make printed antennas at high speeds in place of copper, aluminum or screen-printed antennas. Its tag-production system assembles the components of an RFID device in one location, which it called “the first step toward complete high-speed antenna printing and chip attachment in a single production process” — which Rohrkemper said provides “the potential to break time and cost constraints” that have held back mass production of such tags. Precisia can now print hundreds of thousands of antennas per hour and attach “a few thousand” chips or straps per hour, according to Rohrkemper.

Precisia is making and testing complete RFID devices in its lab, and Rohrkemper says it is “rapidly moving toward developing high-speed production methods for complete assembly and attachment of RFID tags, a critical step in keeping … pace with packaging throughput.”

The Flint subsidiary also is partnering with Cleveland-based Thin Battery Technology (TBT) in the market for ultra-thin batteries by combining TBT’s design expertise with Precisia’s high-speed printing, advanced ink and electronics capabilities. TBT licenses Eveready Battery Co. technology.

Less than a millimeter thick, ultra-thin batteries serve as affordable button-battery replacements in smart labels, RFID tags and “active packaging.” Using a pressure-sensitive label, the flexible batteries are easier to apply to bendable substrates and withstand the stresses and flexing of continued product use.

TBT and Precisia are developing configurations that allow battery placement at different points of contact on a powered device. TBT makes disposable, 1.5-volt carbon-zinc printed batteries, an environmentally friendly alternative to button batteries. Unit cells are sealed from ambient atmospheric conditions. Sample cells are available for testing.

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