Irlbacher uses glass front panels as PCBs
It is a convincing simple solution that has been developed by Irlbacher Blickpunkt Glas over the past five years and which is now ready for mass production: Capacitive sensor elements and conductor paths are screen-printed on the back of an IMPAtouch glass front panel, converting the panel itself into some kind of PCB. No problems for the designers – the conductive paths are behind the design layer and cannot be seen from the outside. Conductor paths and design layers are then baked; a process that turns the glass into tempered safety glass. Then Irlbacher applies a solder resist – and the glass front panel is ready to apply and solder the components. With this technology, it is quite easy to also integrate surveillance circuits like an alarm or a safety cut-out in the case the glass breaks.
The environment benefits from IMPAtouch in several ways: The manufacturing process of the signal processing PCB – including the chemical parts – is completely omitted. Front panel foils and the related punching tools are no longer required. Because the glass needs to be tempered anyway, there is no excess energy needed to bake the conductor paths. Irlbacher masters all manufacturing processes of IMPAtouch products, from the machining of the glass across the electronic design to the final assembly. This reduces development and manufacturing time to an absolute minimum.
With its unique combination of state-of-the art electronic design and the decades of expertise in machining glass, IMPAtouch enables innovative and design-oriented products based on glass. Practically, there is no limit to the front panel artwork and its colours. In addition to simple buttons, more complex operating elements can be implemented – even sliders for scrolling have been realised. LEDs allow for sophisticated lighting effects when they are arranged and controlled accordingly. Cavities to guide the user’s fingers or even embossed printing are no problem at all.
IMPAtouch front panels are UV and temperature-resistant, feature a smooth and easy-to-clean surface, are much more scratch-resistant than Perspex, anti-allergic and anti-static. Therefore, these glass front panels are suitable for a wide range of applications: Control panels for premium cars, fittings with built-in control electronics and displays, or front panels for domestic appliances are just a few examples. The main advantage for the manufacturing companies using IMPAtouch: Mechanical components are no longer required. This does not only extend the lifespan of the products – the front panel remains fully closed, the electronics behind is hermetically sealed and totally isolated from its environment.
For more information, please check the company’s website: http://www.irlbacher.com
Über Cluster Mikrosystemtechnik
Since its formation back in 1935, the name says it all at Irlbacher Blickpunkt Glas GmbH – literally translated, the company name means Irlbacher focus on glass GmbH. Regardless whether design objects are required, futuristic fittings, durable sight glass for tiled stoves, precious front plates for domestic appliances or scratch-resistant, intelligent front panels for hermetic sealing – Irlbacher is the one-stop solution provider for many well-known brand names.
Irlbacher is an owner-operated company that employs over 370 people today. Its headquarters is located in the friendly holiday place Schönsee, some 70 km (approx. 45 miles) north-east of the old imperial town Regensburg (Ratisbon). Every day, Irlbacher customers benefit from the more than 70 years of expertise in machining glass – from the first product sketches across design and conceptual studies to products that are ready for mass production.
Irlbacher is Member of the Micro Systems Technology Cluster, Landshut.
Linking enterprises with the reserach centres of the Universities of Applied Sciences is the core task of the Micro Systems Technology Cluster. We are a competent, neutral and independent coordinator specialising in the support of SMEs in order to sustainably strengthen their competitiveness and innovative power by cross-diciplinal cooperation.