The minimal configuration consists of one sintering module with vacuum chamber and an inlet conveyor, which serves as a loading and unloading station. Further equipment can be for example a cooling chamber attached to the sintering module or an automatic underfloor conveyor system with lifting units for the transportation of the product carriers in a quasi-batch operation. The sintering system provides a wide array of novel process parameters. The possibility to minutely and dynamically control the atmospheric pressure and gas composition during the entire heating, sintering and cooling procedure opens a whole new world of possibilities in production and product design: Usually, the sintering process is carried out on air. Whilst the presence of oxygen eases the sintering of silver nanoparticles, it also can lead to massive oxidization of the workpieces‘ surface during the heating stage. The sintering system not only allows to perform the sintering process under a configurable oxygen concentration, which reduces the oxidation significantly while still providing the necessary reactant for the bonding process to succeed, it also provides the option to eliminate the formed oxides in situ during the cooling process. This technique may obviate the need for expensive precious metal plating and delivers a novel approach to the development of non-precious metal sintering pastes.
productronica innovation award: hall A4, booth 255