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. The awards were presented by Raghu Das, CEO of IDTechEx, and Ben Cooper, VF Global Innovation Center, and were hosted at Printed Electronics Europe 2017 yesterday.
A summary of the awards and winners are as follows:
Technical Development Manufacturing Award - XTPL SA
XTPL has developed ultra-fine printing of a wide spectrum of nanomaterials. The method under development is innovative on a global scale, and it allows production of lines below 150 nm wide, i.e.: over 400 times narrower than the standard lines used for digital printing or screen printing.
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.
One of the judges reported "XTPL have demonstrated ultra-fine resolution printing without complex pre or post processes - a significant development for printed electronics manufacturing."
Technical Development Materials Award - Copprint
Copprint has developed a nano copper ink which is self-sintered at low temperatures. For many years people have been using expensive silver inks for conductive patterns and failed to strongly commercialize copper ink, as oxidation prevented conductivity. Copprint's patented nano-based copper ink solves this issue using a self-sintering mechanism. It is substantially cheaper than silver ink and achieves 20-50% bulk conductivity after just 2 seconds at 120 to 300º 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 & defoggers, wearables and many more.
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. Starting from electronics printed onto 2D plastic films, high-pressure thermoforming yielded the 3D plastic structure.
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. The demonstrator shows how IME technology could be applied in anything from shavers to car cockpits.
The console demonstrator highlights IME's potential for transforming "dumb" plastic structures with embedded intelligence to enable enhanced and intuitive user experiences. 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. The technique can be used to create 3D smart objects or extremely thin functional surfaces of any form.
One of the judges reported "In-mold Electronics for wiring and capacitive switches is an exciting near term opportunity. By adding more functionality such as OLEDs and NFC, the Holst Centre opens up further opportunity for new user interfaces."
Best Commercial Product Award - FlexEnable
FlexEnable launched its new 12.1-in. 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 10X 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.