At the 13th IDTechEx Printed Electronics Europe conference and exhibition, four companies were honored for their achievements in developing and commercializing printed electronics technologies. The judges of the awards were Ashutosh Tomar, principal engineer, technology strategy at Jaguar Land Rover and Prof. Ulrich Moosheimer of Munich University of Applied Sciences.
This year’s honorees are:
• Technical Development Manufacturing Award - XTPL SA
XTPL SA XTPL has developed ultra-fine printing of a wide spectrum of nanomaterials. The method under development can produce lines that are below 150nm-wide, i.e. more than 400 times narrower than the standard lines used for digital printing or screenprinting. The technology allows users to create ultra-thin and transparent electrically conductive lines which may be used, for example, in manufacturing a new generation of TCF (transparent conductive films) applied in the production of displays, touch screens and flexible electronics.
“We have just presented our first product, the printer that allows to print nanomaterials cost-effectively, and it was immediately appreciated. The XTPL technology will find its application in many sectors of economy,” said Dr Filip Granek, CEO at XTPL.
• Technical Development Materials Award – Copprint
Copprint has developed a nano copper ink that is self-sintered at low temperatures. It is substantially cheaper than silver ink and achieves 20%-50% bulk conductivity after just 2 seconds at 120°C-300°C (air environment). Copprint expects that the technology will disrupt the billion dollar market of silver inks and will open new applications such as RFID tag antennas printed on paper, printed PCBs, touch panel bezel contacts, heaters and defoggers, wearables and many more.
“After years of great hype but failed expectations of players in this field, Copprint succeeds in overcoming the oxidation problems that other conductive inks suffer from, and is releasing a robust, highly conductive copper ink,” said Dr. Ofer Shochet, CEO and founder pf Copprint.
• Best Institute/Academic R&D Award - Holst Centre
Holst Centre won this award for a functional demonstrator using in-mold electronics (IME) technology, which creates a large opportunity for intuitive human-machine interfaces (HMIs) in automotive electronics and consumer appliances. Developed by a group of key industry players led by Holst Centre, the demonstrator, a car center console, features a mobile phone storage space with integrated NFC connectivity and touch controls illuminated by flexible OLEDs. Light and conformal, IME technology integrates all this functionality directly into a 3D plastic surface just 1.5 mm thick. All the electronics are fabricated on a stretchable, flexible and formable smart skin that is then integrated into the plastic during standard thermoforming or injection molding processes.
“We’re excited to receive this award. A couple of years ago, when we started our IME activities, industrial interest was still limited. To our pleasant surprise, interest has grown beyond expectations,” said Dr Jeroen Van den Brand, program director, Holst Centre.
• Best Product Award - FlexEnable
FlexEnable launched its new 12.1” glass-free, conformable organic liquid crystal display (OLCD) platform in December 2016, marking an important milestone in the commercialization of large area flexible displays. The OLCD uses organic transistors on a plastic sheet, making the display four times thinner (less than 0.3 mm) and more than 10 times lighter than conventional glass-based displays. The OLCD can run vivid color and smooth video content and can meet the immediate market needs for applications including automotive, consumer electronics, and digital signage. When mass manufactured, the technology will provide the same display quality and reliability customers have come to expect from glass-based LCDs, but with the added benefit of thinness, lightness, robustness and conformability.
“The recent breakthroughs we have made allow the manufacture of large area, conformable, plastic OLCDs with high brightness and long lifetime, opening up a range of applications that are not viable with any other flexible display technology. For example, in automotive, conformable displays not only bring new applications for displays in cars, such as invisible A-Pillars, but also allow the displays to be larger because they can be curved and conformed to existing surfaces. Plastic OLCDs bring a new level of design freedom without any performance trade-off compared to glass LCDs,” said Chuck Milligan, CEO of FlexEnable.