Government and Business Team up to Promote Supply Chain
The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is leading a consortium of major companies to create a UK supply chain to enable the widespread adoption of low cost, near field communication (NFC) devices using printable electronics. The project is a £10 million collaborative project involving businesses and the Government’s Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI).
The project will build manufacturing capacity, develop manufacturing skills and demonstrate application deployment. The project brings together the UK’s world-class strength in print, electronics and design in a collaborative consortium to open-up a globally competitive UK supply-chain in printed NFC components.
Many smartphones are enabled with NFC, allowing the user to interact with a diverse range of supported devices. This capability is already used widely in applications such as contactless payment. This project will extend NFC’s use so that smartphones can interact with printed items such as labels, posters, documents and product packaging. It will also allow retailers and manufacturers to manage their supply chains more efficiently.
CPI is the process element of the UK government’s national manufacturing strategy, dubbed the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. The initiative is tasked with stimulating growth within manufacturing sectors throughout the UK. CPI is focused on the development, scale-up and commercialisation of a number of key enabling technologies including printable electronics. CPI’s National Printable Electronics Centre, based at NETPark in Co. Durham is equipped with an extensive range of assets specifically chosen and developed to allow clients to understand how their products and processes perform under industrial scale manufacturing conditions.
The programme will develop and integrate materials, printing, electronics, design, and manufacturing technology to create a UK supply chain that can make printed NFC devices at an industrial scale for market testing.
Scott White, CEO of consortium partner PragmatIC Printing Ltd said, “This programme will support the development of a complete manufacturing supply chain able to deliver our printed NFC solutions at a scale and cost suitable for widespread adoption.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable said, “The manufacturing sector is crucial to building a stronger economy – the proof is that it contributes almost £150bn a year to the UK. We recognise however that a manufacturing sector is only as strong as its supply chains, often made of creative and growing small and medium sized businesses.”
The project is part of the UK Government’s £116 million Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) to strengthen UK manufacturing supply chains and to encourage major new suppliers to locate in the UK.
Matthew Herbert, Marketing Manager, The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI)
T: +44 (0)1642 455 340 / M: +44 (0)7795 127 628
@ukCPI / LinkedIn / www.uk-cpi.com
What are Printable Electronics?
Printable electronics use electronic inks that are deposited by traditional coating or printing techniques onto rigid or flexible substrate (plastic, for example). This means manufacture can take place on a batch or continuous (e.g. roll-to-roll) basis, giving maximum product scope at the lowest production cost.
The adoption of printing technology enables the production of flexible electronic circuits not only at reduced cost but also gives rise to faster product turnaround and scheduling. Therefore increased product and design flexibility inherent in conventional printed media can also be a reality for electronics.
The potential global market for printable electronics is huge with a large diversity of applications including flexible solar cells, batteries, sensors, lighting products, advertising posters, point-of-care medical diagnostic devices, novel drug delivery devices, smart packaging, clothing, and displays.
What is Near Field Communication?
Near field communication (NFC) is a set of standards for smartphones and similar devices to establish radio communication with each other by touching them together or bringing them into close proximity, usually no more than a few inches. Present and anticipated applications include contactless transactions, data exchange, information collection and exchange, loyalty and coupons and access to transportation systems. Communication is also possible between an NFC device and an unpowered NFC chip, called a “tag” opening up a wide range of uses in advertising, packaging and other printed mediums.
The Centre for Process Innovation is a UK-based technology innovation centre and part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. We use applied knowledge in science and engineering combined with state of the art development facilities to enable our clients to develop, prove, prototype and scale up the next generation of products and processes.
Our open innovation model enables clients to develop products and prove processes with minimal risk. We provide assets and expertise so our customers can demonstrate the process before investing substantial amounts of money in capital equipment and training. New products and processes can be shown to be feasible; on paper, in the lab and in the plant before being manufactured at an industrial scale.
By utilising our proven assets and expertise companies can take their products and processes to market faster. There is no down time in production as all of the process development is completed offsite and our technology transfer and engineering teams can help companies to transfer the product or process into full scale production at speed.
About PragmatIC Printing Ltd
PragmatIC Printing enables printed electronic logic circuits that introduce intelligence and interactivity into a wide range of products and applications, in form factors that are not possible using silicon chips. PragmatIC’s intellectual property covers unique device architectures, process techniques, and circuit designs that enable flexible imprinted logic circuits with compact footprint, high performance and low cost.
PragmatIC Printing operates a pilot line at the UK’s National Printable Electronics Centre, part of The Centre for Process Innovation. The pilot line supports customer prototyping activities as well as commercial production for deployment of new product concepts. PragmatIC also licenses its technology for higher volume production.