Feature: Making Connections at SPIE Optifab

The 2019 edition of the annual SPIE Optifab Conference took place October 14-17 in Rochester, New York. The event brings together manufacturers, suppliers,  experts, and those interested in the optical and related industries.

My colleague, Dave Shuey, and I were in attendance with an objective to build on our knowledge of what’s happening in optics, abrasives, and CMP. We also valued the opportunity to just walk the floor and make connections with customers and others in the optical space.

Naturally, we had our eyes and ears open to find ways for companies operating in these industries to solve problems, take advantage of opportunities, and grow their business by leveraging our expertise. 

Here are a few observations gleaned from our many booth visits and conversations.

Optical Grinding: An interest in permanent/removable tapes

We’re seeing an upward trend in the use of “permanent removable” adhesives and tapes, as an alternative to more complicated-to-use epoxies and mechanical clamping systems on optical grinders.

Abrasives: Opportunities for customized adhesive solutions?

This is a space that is deep and broad, as abrasive pads are used in a wide range of commercial and academic laboratories.

It seems many of these pads are manufactured with adhesives coming from a handful of manufacturers. With so many varied applications, we wonder if there’s an opportunity for abrasive pad converters to expand their horizons when it comes to adhesives. Could rethinking adhesive selection—choosing adhesives that are more specialized for an application—help converters lower expenses and grow their margins?

CMP: A real need for chemical-resistant adhesives

The CMP process typically employs high temperatures and chemical slurries. Abrasives used to hold pads in place during the process thus need to offer a combination of seemingly contradictory features: the ability to withstand heat and chemical exposure, along with easy and clean removability from the platen.

Unexplored opportunities we discovered

We spoke with an attendee who told us he’s been looking for a no-outgas electronic grade tape. We actually created one, years ago, for hard drives. We believe it could be used for such application.

We had a conversation with another attendee who’s looking for an electrostatic tape. We don’t currently have one in our portfolio, but through more in-depth conversation we recognized this is a project we can explore.

These and other conversations led me to what I think was our biggest takeaway from the conference: There are likely many opportunities for high performance, pressure-sensitive adhesive (PSA) tapes in the optical, CMP, and abrasives industries.

I don’t simply mean opportunities for Avery Dennison—opportunities abound for manufacturers and suppliers working in this space to find new ways to use PSA  tapes to gain efficiency, improve results, trim expenses, and grow their business.

If you work in these industries, I welcome the chance to make a connection, and keep these types of conversations going. What are you struggling with? What are your opportunities? Where might PSA tapes help you operate more efficiently, improve quality and overall results? Please feel free to reach out to me at michael.price@averydennison.com, and let’s make a connection!

About the author:
Michael Price is a pressure-sensitive adhesives engineer with Avery Dennison Performance Tapes North America. Prior to joining the team in Painesville, Ohio, USA, Price served as an applications engineer for the Avery Dennison Electronics Solutions and Technology Center in Santa Clara, California. In that role, he worked with key electronics OEMs offering technical solutions for their product development efforts.