Production of embossing drums

Embossing drums are well-established tools in roll-to-roll manufacturing processes since they allow the high-volume production of components with structured surfaces at relatively low costs. Therefore, the Fraunhofer IPT is currently developing new techniques for manufacturing high-precision embossing drums: these micro-structured drums have proven to be useful for the production of polymer films, particularly for applications in optical and display technologies.

Ultraprecise structures provide other potential applications of functional surfaces, e.g. in flow engineering, biological and cell technology, where micro- and nanostructures might benefit from the advantages of high-precision drum machining - a modern alternative to the established micro-machining of injection molds.

Manufacturing of embossing drums with surface roughness of 5 nm Ra or less

The key challenge in the machining process is to gain control over the large number of possible disturbance variables in lengthy production processes. Here, we can benefit from many years of experience in the manufacturing of high-precision components and injection molding tools. We offer ultra-precise dimensional accuracies, surface roughness below 5 nm Ra as well as maximum levels of geometrical flexibility.

For the manufacturing of the embossing drums, we use monocrystalline diamond tools to apply optical surfaces, surface geometries, microstructures or nanostructures to the lateral area of the drum. Subsequently, these structures can be embossed onto the films in a connected roll-to-roll process, obtaining even results that comply with ultra-precision application standards.

From consultation to the fully functional film

Our service offer comprises the design of the entire process chain: from the provision of advice during the conceptual stage to the manufacturing of the drum and the subsequent embossing of the structures in our roll-to-roll system. Drum machining is only one element of our comprehensive range of services and products that includes processes, equipment and components for the production of ultra-precise micro- and nanostructured parts. State-of-the-art engineering technology allows us to produce optical standard geometries as well as complex prototypes. We offer freeform surface geometries and customized solutions on embossing drums with lengths of up to 1.2 meters and diameters of more than 0.5 meters.

Our services

  • Manufacturing of embossing drums with lengths of up to 1.2 meters and diameters of 0.5 meters as replication tools for plastic replicas in roll-to-roll processes
  • Manufacturing of structural details in the micrometer range and below
  • Manufacturing of non-rotationally symmetrical, freeform surface geometries using fast-tool turning technology
  • Manufacturing of structured films