HOW SUPER THIN & FLAT INLAY WORKS
HOW SUPER THIN & FLAT INLAY WORKS
2018-09-21
HF Card market is Sunset?
New Pre-laminated Inlay with 200Mic and Super Flat is Coming?  We can’t replace current technology & market share, but offer great opportunity for card’s innovation and new application that impossible before!  

OVERVIEW
Nowadays IOT, RFID, Sensor are the hot-talking words. Things will be connected via various sensors and internet technology, which unveils a new age of intelligent zed scene.

Radio Frequency Identification briefly RFID, invented decades ago and applied since 2nd world-war; RFID technology has been achieving great development in past 20 years, especially in human recognition. The main carrier is contactless card.

Though smart card application exists everywhere likes in China, it’s getting lonely if compared with hot IOT industry. Someone even calls Blue Ocean and Red Ocean to compare these 2 related industries.

Various e-payment, e-ID and bio-recognition technologies are occupying the traditional smart card applications. Is there no “opportunity” in RFID card industry? Nothing to do in future? 

Obviously, the answer is NO!

RFID card application still found growth in world market, even mature in China.

With rapid development of RFID card, generating enormous demands on sheet inlay and supporting industries. 1 billion annual shipment is there.

The future trend is on Eco-friendly, More Safety, Higher quality or Ratio of performance and price?... Everyone may have different view. 


Today market is calling new tech for pre-laminated inlay and application

•   If you’ve been to Japan, may find the transportation card of Suica with super surface finishing, so pretty & flat without any mark!  It’s much different quality from other cards. In fact, the key technology is on Pre-laminated inlay with super flat and excellent card make process!

•   Another funny phenomenon! For most 125KHz/Proximity cards, few players can make it flat for ideal ID print! End-user has to design the print area avoiding chip & antenna location! Unbelievable, right?
 

•   ISO has card thickness limitation of Max 0.84mm.  If you want to apply the additional foil or other functional material layer for anti-counterfeiting application, need to reduce the inlay thickness. It challenges to current industry! Hard to make pre-laminates under 0.30mm.

To find the new solution, we should analyze current technologies
1. 
The common structure of card inlay
    •   Four layers formula
            This is mainstream formula for HF inlay production. The two material, are punched into one small and one big holes, pick & place the chip with encapsulation.
 

            After lamination, on chip area, the inlay surface is not flat since cooling shrink leads defective melt during chip and surrounding materials. Industry can use it making card, which meets the regular card’s quality level. This common practice has become commonplace.
 

            In general, such pre-laminated inlay is in 380-420Mic by this formula. It is hard to make the inlay thinner via current chip encapsulation technology.


    •   Three layers formula
            It’s also common formula for HF card inlay production. Just punch a hole in middle plastic layer of wire embedding for chip insertion, then collate top and bottom sheet plastics together for lamination. This will allow the hot-melt material flow-fills in the gap between chip encapsulation and plastic.
 

            After lamination, on chip area, the inlay surface is not flat since cooling shrink leads defective melt during chip and surrounding material as well. This kind of prelaminated inlay can be also used for regular level card production.
 

            In general, such pre-laminated inlay is in 380-420Mic by this formula. It is hard to make the inlay thinner via current chip encapsulation technology.


    •   Two layers formula (two situations)
    A.  As sandwich, it’s popular formula for 125KHz card inlay make. Place the transponder (wire-winded coil & chip soldering) and fixed on bottom plastic sheet, then collate top layer of plastic together for lamination.
 
         The gap between transponder and plastic will be filled by the heat flow of the material, but it’s not so perfect especially after cooling shrink during lamination process. Most manufacturers are not able to find cost-effective way to product high quality LF pre-laminates in super flatness.

  
         Make with such kind of inlay, card’s surface is still uneven. Poor ID print often happens! Big headaches…

         Due to thickness limitation of LF coils and chip encapsulation, pre-laminate inlay comes normally in 500-550Mic. With such inlay, card thickness is difficult to reach 800Mic, even over 840Mic! No way to apply anti-counterfeiting layer or other application materials!

    B. There is also another way that apply etching-aluminum or copper antenna + Flip chip bonding (Dry Inlay) in middle layer. Just put such layer of Dry Inlay between top and bottom plastic sheets and then laminated together for Pre-laminates.
 
        This technology can make pre-laminated inlay to 330-350Mic. Still has shortness as below.


    •   Dummy material connection of PET with top/bottom plastics.
         
         As the antenna is on PET film, PET is hardly gluing-connected with top/bottom plastics after lamination due to different material properties. 


    •   Ripple effect on glossy card finish.
 
         Aluminum on PET film will make marks after card lamination. It’s a visual defective.


2. RFID chip and encapsulation form
To reduce the thickness for LF or HF chips will be helpful to make thinner pre-laminate.
We should find the way to make thinner chip encapsulation!  
 
In fact, as current chip packaging technology, the conventional chip packaging Min. thickness is impossible to be lower than 200Mic.
 
In 2017, NXP lunched newest packaging MOB10 in 200Mic. The main target is on e-ID, e-passport, security-document applications which require thinner chip thickness.

Remark: Above info and data refer to NXP, Infineon released news.

Traditional chip packaging tech is not allowed to make lower 200Mic! Is there more reliable & thinner form of chip packaging?


3. General Inlay Manufacturing Material
PVC is major material used in market. With trends of environmental protection and different applications, more eco-friendly materials such as PET, PETG, Polycarbonate (PC) and TESLIN are also required.
 
The properties of these materials are not topic discussed here!


4. Future Trend of Prelaminated Inlay
    •   Super-thin
         If pre-laminated inlay with 200mic, more space can be provided to additional materials such as anti-fake film or laser-engravable PC! Of course, some special fields like RFID playing cards for entertainment, requires thickness of 290-360mic, also flat required!

    •   Ultra-flat
         Must be flat for next printing to get card’s appearance quality, which will completely overcome current ID print challenges.

    •   Direct printable
         Despite offset or digital printing, is still a market demand with flat & thin plastic sheet for ideal printing directly! Also simply traditional collation and 2nd lamination then punch.

    •   New way to produce card
         RF function testing with card lamination sheet prior punch?  Possible to do! With Super-thin & ultra-flat pre-laminates to be printed directly, then test card’s RF performance and encoding. At last punch into card! Isn't this way interesting?

5. With new technologies, what will benefit to industry?
    •   Card Issuer
       - Public transportation, e-purse or more applications. Thinner inlay gives chance for new applications like LED into card!

       - ID card/E-passport. More material can be applied such as anti-counterfeit layer, make ID card or document more security features.

       - Access control. Always desired to get proximity/RFID card with flat results for ideal ID printing.

    •   Card, ID Document Manufacturer
       - With advanced inlay tech made card, upgrade portfolio and gain more power on competition.

       - Allow to recommend customer with new product development, obtain more opportunities and increase margin.

    •   Card Perso Bureau
       - Obviously so welcome for great perso results

       - Bring better experiences to customers for top quality card

    •   Inlay Manufacturer
       - Technology Upgrade will create more business opportunities

       - New technologies enhance competition power and get more profits.

    •   Chip Suppier & Packaging Manufacturer
       - Embrace future trends for thinner chip encapsulation.

       - Upgrade products, improve market competitiveness and get more profits.

    •   Material Manufacturer
       - More Eco-friendly materials meet future demand.
 
       - For PVC,TESLIN,PC, Bio-degradable material, which is winner in future? Market will talk!

       - Better production adaptability for wire embedding, lamination, card punch and various visual personalization.

6. Pre-laminates Inlay Testing
    •   Current Methods:
       - Manual reading. This is primitive way handing a reader with buzzer, just tell UID is available.

         Without test full chip memory’s, the microcrack of chip cannot be detected, which will lead problems in personalization or use. 


         Did you ever meet client’s complaints of unsuccessful encoding?

       - Semi-automatic way. Manually put the sheet inlay onto platform of testing machine. Will automatically scan and recognize the defective transponders, and manually NG marking!

       - Fully automatic way. To inlay/transponder after soldering or pre-laminates inlay, tested on Auto-inlay testing machine in automatic way. Possible to encode chip for initialization, keys change or write specific data.

    •   Future Testing Task
       - Data traceability. With the cloud platform to upload relevant data during production and testing. Big data can be used as you wish.

       - Intelligent production and automation. Just click the mouse, all test and production tasks can be easily left to the system

7. How’s the Future Coming?
    •   Yes, the future is here, truly coming!
         The new version of pre-laminated Inlay arrival! Min. thickness up 200Mic, with unparalleled Super-thin & Ultra-flat features; No matter what chip, layout or materials, whether you print it directly or make ID card/credential with super finish, it will power your idea now!
 
    •   Overcomes the challenges of ideal printing and create opportunities.
         Inlay, as the key component of RFID card or dual-interface card. No revolutionary innovation over 15 years! Now you can print freely with great results!
 
    •   More card players will benefit!
         ID Card or Security Document players have new space to apply more functional materials. Also great news for any application who uses ID card printer!
 
    •   Which materials are supported?
         Not only PVC, but also Polycarbonate, Teslin etc.
 
 
    •   Technology is mature? Performance & quality are reliable?
         Don’t worry! The 1st generation of products have been shipped tens of million! The optimized version is more attractive & competitive! Welcome you ask for more details.

    •   Specification for such amazing solution



    •   Specification for such amazing solution
         Just click mouse to RSID Solutions via inquiry@rsid-solutions.com. You will get new weapon! Don't say we didn't tell you earlier! :)


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