The printable electronics centre is expected to support a number of developments, including self-monitoring packaging capable of tracking sensitive medicines in the healthcare sector. Expected to be worth up to £10.8 trillion a year by 2025, the Internet of Things connects devices via the internet, allowing them to send and receive data, and is seen as an integral platform in helping electronics companies develop new business models.
Based in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, the CPI facility, which supports 20 jobs across new and existing roles, will create rolls of thin, flexible inlays containing multiple electronic components that can be converted into labels or embedded into smart products or wearable goods.
Providing open access facilities, including incubation areas for closer collaboration between companies and CPI, the site will help companies develop products to pilot production volumes, with potential market opportunities including packaging capable of tracking and tracing goods and monitoring contents’ condition.
Such functions are already being used in the distribution of temperature sensitive medicines.
The Aycliffe printable electronics base is an extension of CPI’s National Printable Electronics Centre at NETPark, in Sedgefield, also County Durham, and John Cocker, platform director, said it will deliver significant benefits.
“Thanks to these new resources, CPI is now uniquely placed to provide clients with thin, flexible electronics at an unparalleled scale on an open access basis” he said.
“With the Internet of Things developing fast, CPI is now even better prepared, with this investment in design and manufacturing capability, to meet future technological needs.”
Josephine Charnley, co-founder of Quantum Technology Supersensors, which received support from CPI to launch a new sensor, said the help has been invaluable.
She added: “Our ‘environmentally-friendly’ printable inks, which can create smart pressure sensing surfaces and 3D Force Touch without costing the earth, have had an incredible launch with CPI’s assistance.
“Its first-class facilities have enabled us to develop our new products, which have just won two awards in Europe.”
Phil Wilson, MP for Sedgefield, whose constituency includes Newton Aycliffe, unveiled a plaque to mark the centre’s official opening.
He said: “I want to see companies and organisations that offer cutting-edge work and are creating jobs have a place to flourish.
“CPI has a good track-record of doing that and I want to see Aycliffe Business Park go from strength-to-strength.”
Alan Welby, innovation director at the North-East Local Enterprise Partnership, added: “Printed electronics are at the cutting-edge of advanced manufacturing, Industry 4.0 and Internet of Things, and the facilities here are world-class.
“The centre will give a real competitive advantage for local companies to test out their ideas.”
CPI’s centre expansion was funded with £2.6m from the European Regional Development Fund. Further funding was also contributed by CPI via the Catapult programme and the SCOPE project: a collaborative project involving industry and co-funded by the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative.
Support is available for SMEs via the Emerging Electronics Manufacturing Centre project. To be eligible entrepreneurs, start-up companies or SMEs should be primarily located in the North East to benefit and their projects and ideas should be linked to flexible electronics and to the Internet of Things, and also use internet and wireless connectivity.
Notes to the Editor
The Centre for Process Innovation is a UK-based technology innovation centre and is part of the High Value Manufacturing Catapult. The company uses applied knowledge in science and engineering combined with state of the art development facilities to enable its clients to develop, prove, prototype and scale up the next generation of products and processes. Established to support the UK process manufacturing industry, CPI collaborates with universities, SMEs and large corporations to help overcome innovation challenges. Operating across a broad range of technologies, partners are supported at every stage; from concept to market; business support to technology development; and from scale up to supply chain intervention. CPI consists of dedicated national innovation centres that support industrial biotechnology and biorefining, printable electronics, biologics and formulation. The centres enable advancements in major markets such as healthcare, electronics, food and drink, aerospace, automotive, materials, and energy. These world leading, digitally enabled and open access facilities are available for partners to get their products and processes to market quickly with minimal risk. Utilising strong networks, CPI brings together a range of partners in the delivery of innovation projects, with a common goal of strengthening the UK’s position in High Value Manufacturing.
European Regional Development Fund
The project has received £2.6m of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014 – 2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.