Kroger has been granted a patent for a full-size mask assembly and its manufacturing method. The assembly includes a frame with a frame opening, a structural auxiliary mask with shafts in a grid shape, and cell unit masks with deposition pattern portions. The cell unit masks are supported by the structural auxiliary mask and are fixed to it using laser welding. The invention allows for the attachment of a substrate without spacing during a deposition process. GlobalData’s report on Kroger gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Kroger, dynamic premium pricing was a key innovation area identified from patents. Kroger's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Patent granted for a full-size mask assembly

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: The Kroger Co

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11674215B2) describes a full-size mask assembly for use in deposition processes. The assembly includes a frame with a frame opening and a support surrounding the opening. A structural auxiliary mask is supported by the support and has a grid-shaped pattern of shafts, creating openings. A cell unit mask is supported by the structural auxiliary mask and has a deposition pattern portion through which a deposition material passes.

Each shaft of the structural auxiliary mask includes a first cell unit support, a second cell unit support, and a cell unit spacer. The cell unit mask has two or more cell unit couplers on one surface, which are parallel welding points. These couplers can be formed along the end portion of the cell unit mask in either the first or second direction.

The structural auxiliary mask is fixed to the frame by being stretched in the first and second directions. The cell unit mask is then fixed to the structural auxiliary mask by welding the lower part of the cell unit mask with a laser beam. This ensures that a substrate can be attached to the full-size mask assembly without any spacing during the deposition process.

The patent also mentions additional features of the full-size mask assembly. The cell unit mask is coupled to the structural auxiliary mask, providing further stability. A first position alignment hole is located at a corner of the deposition pattern portion, allowing for alignment within the structural auxiliary mask opening. A second position alignment hole, consisting of reference holes, is aligned with the thin film transistor (TFT) position of a TFT glass in the vertical direction.

The cell unit mask has a larger area than the structural auxiliary mask opening in both the first and second directions. On the other hand, the deposition pattern portion has a smaller area than the structural auxiliary mask opening in these directions.

Overall, this patent describes a full-size mask assembly that provides precise alignment and stability during deposition processes. The use of cell unit couplers and alignment holes ensures accurate positioning, while the structural auxiliary mask and cell unit mask combination allows for efficient deposition without any spacing.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.