RFID antennas are traditionally produced by etching, but a new process developed by Walki, a manufacturer of technical laminates, aims to displace etching by laser cutting. The process uses paper as the substrate and eliminates the need for liquid chemicals, making process residue easily recyclable. Laser cutting also accelerates the design to production cycle and allows extremely precise fabrication of circuit board patterns. The finished antenna, consisting of just paper and aluminium, is fully recyclable.
The new technology is dubbed Walki-4E where 4E stands for efficient, exact, ecological and economical and is based on a laminate of aluminium on a paper substrate, with the aluminium foil cut in patterns using a laser. It can be used to produce any type of flexible circuit, ranging from RFID antennas to radiators and flexible displays. The first product to be launched using this technology is Walki-Pantenna, a UHF RFID antenna.