CPI demonstrates the feasibility of novel Battery-on-Circuit technology for smart labels

30 Jun 2021

CPI, an independent technology innovation centre and founding member of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult, have announced the successful completion of POETICS, a collaborative project aiming to develop low-cost Battery-on-Circuit technology for printed smart labels used to track assets

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The outcomes of this project could help lower production costs and drive industrial growth within the printed electronics industry.

Asset tracking solutions help companies manage inventory and keep track of shipping, to prevent items from becoming lost or damaged in transit, which can result in significant costs. Compared to existing asset tracking solutions with complex installation procedures, the smart labels by London-based SME Reelables are much quicker and easier to use. Reelables’ smart labels, which attach to objects like a sticker and can be tracked with a phone app, could ultimately help companies save time and money. However, in order to enable the smart labels to be mass-produced at an ultra-low cost, an inexpensive battery to power the smart labels needed to be developed. 

In collaboration with Reelables, CPI led a 12-month feasibility study with £100,500 funding from Innovate UK to develop a low-cost battery that would be formed onto each smart label’s circuit. This Battery-on-Circuit solution, designed with expertise from project partners Cisco and Digital Catapult, is more affordable than other options currently available for printed electronics. It also eliminates the need to power the smart labels with a bulky external battery while strengthening the smart labels’ functionality and marketability. 

CPI provided crucial support from its electronics and formulation business units to aid in the development of a public demonstrator prototype for real-world testing. The services that have been provided include thermal evaporation of Lithium metal anode coating, electrolyte formulation, cathodic slurry formulations and coatings, battery pouch cell device assembly and battery cell testing. Additionally, CPI compiled a written report detailing how the technology will be manufactured at larger scales and the potential it could bring to the printed electronics market.

Duncan Lindsey , Business Development Manager at CPI, said: The successful outcome of this project enables Reelables’ smart labels to have the right compact form factor for the asset tracking application, while achieving a longer lifespan at a low cost. We look forward to how our novel battery will enhance other printed Internet of Things (IoT) devices across a variety of industries.”

Brian Krejcarek, CEO at Reelables, said: We are delighted to have successfully developed an affordable, integrated and flexible battery for our smart labels with CPI’s facilities and expertise. This new technology could boost the market value of our products and allow more companies to benefit from them.”

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