Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to present a novel manufacturing process that aims to pattern metal tracks onto polyimide at atmospheric pressure and ambient environment. The process can be scaled up for industrial applications. Design/methodology/approach - From a thorough literature survey, different approaches were carried out for processing polyimide. Following a design of experiments for the processing and various characterisation techniques, a micro-coil was manufactured as a test demonstrator. Findings - The characteristics of some main formaldehyde-based electroless copper baths were compared. The quality of the sidewalls was characterised and the performance of the process was assessed. Originality/value - This paper demonstrates a high-value manufacturing technique that is mass manufacturable, low cost and suitable for use on 3D surfaces. Criteria required for the development of a direct-writing process have been described. The issues surrounding electroless plating on polyimide have been explained. © Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
- Electronic engineering