Printed Intelligence Routes to Industrialization and New Applications
Printed intelligence, electronics and diagnostics enabling technology is very much based on fluid-processable organic, nanoparticulate and biomaterials, roll-to-roll printing and embossing based large area fabrication processes, and functional electronic, optical, optoelectronic, microfluidic, chemical and biofunctional devices. Roll-to-roll flexible printed hybrid electronics technology is covering ‘flexible substrate’ processing technologies, pick and place processes to integrate/assemble IC circuits, chips and other components on flexible substrate and further encapsulation processes to finish flexible or 3D-shaped encapsulation. Roll-to-roll manufacturing processes, pilot lines and several technology demonstrators will be introduced to show the printed intelligence technology state-of-the-art capability. Future printed intelligence enabling technology development is covering large area flexible thin film components, R2R printed and hybrid sensors, microfluidics and Lab-on-chip system integration, and flexible printed hybrid electronic systems – ‘PI Inside’ structures, clothing, wallpaper, laminates, glass, plastics, etc…, but not forgetting needs of autonomous IoT world solutions like sensors, wireless connectivity, energy harvesting and storage on board.
Printocent innovation center was established to build open access capabilities for industrialization and commercialization of Printed Intelligence. The focus in its first phase during years 2009 – 2012 was the Pilot Factory establishment for upscaling, and activation of start-up creation. In the second period 2013-2015 in addition the building of the Industry cluster, it was important to push forward commercialization and industrial networking, and upgrading hybrid integration and over-moulding processes for the Pilot factory. Ongoing period 2016-2018 cluster activities are focusing on emerging business cases and solutions covering program themes – Marketing and Scouting, Innovation & New Products, and Industrialization and Services. The key outcomes of the industrialization efforts include the established PrintoCent Roll-to-Roll Printing and Hybrid Integration Pilot factory, international industry cluster with 40 member companies, 26 new start-ups since 2010, PRINSE industry seminars, Printed Intelligence Designer`s Handbook (www.ppe-info.com), annual PrintoCent Innofest innovation competition, thematic design competitions, 24 hour design workshops, and plenty of demonstrators. The seeds of an industrialization ecosystem have been fertilized, industrial manufacturing capacity is growing and new industrial manufacturing lines established for flexible printed hybrid and structural electronics. The continuation of commercialization growth looks after 50-100M€ investments before year 2022 for already running companies and for the new start-ups.
Forecasted future trends in electronics are covering flexible, conformable, stretchable and wearable products. Flexible printed hybrid electronics technology is of high interest to industries asking for flex enabled, large area or wearable products and solutions. For the PrintoCent program period 2016-2018 identified application areas were wearable products, rapid disposable diagnostic solutions and health patches, and smart flexible lighting and signage solutions. However during these three years our industry cluster members and customers created positive application surprises – TactoTek with emerging activity in IMSE (injection molded structural electronics) for automotive interiors, Flexbright and Pilkington with flexibles laminated inside bus windscreen, Movesole with smart insoles for shoes, Goodwiller with disposable alcohol test, etc. In addition to ‘structural electronics’ high profile recognition, these technologies will be potentially applied for IoT and industrial internet, digital health and hyper-connected digital world solutions, systems and services. Examples and visions of demonstrating products and solutions will be introduced.
Dr. Harri Kopola is Professor in Knowledge Intensive Products and Services Business Area (KIPS) at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. Since 1st September 2016 after stepping down from Vice-President Research position he is concentrating his efforts in printed intelligence industrialization and commercialization, digital naked world and Hilla – Hightech ICT leverage initiatives. He has been servicing VTT since 1995 as the Research Professor in optoelectronics, Responsible Head of optoelectronics research, Research Director at VTT Electronics, Research Director in microtechnologies and electronics research, and VP Research in KIPS being responsible of research strategy and research portfolio of technology areas covering microsystems, printed and hybrid functionalities, intelligent sensor systems, metrology, digital systems and services, communication systems, and health. As special initiative he was leading a new VTT spearhead program ‘Center for Printed Intelligence’ from August 2006 to December 2009. In 1989 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Ottawa and NRC, Canada. And he had his expat period as a Visiting Professor 4 months at the University of Tokyo, Institute of Industrial Science from September to December 2012, and 8 months at the University of California Berkeley from January to August 2013.
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