Singapore—A*STAR’s Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) has launched a Collaborative Industry Project (CIP) on Roll-to-Roll Manufacturing of Functional Film and Printed Electronics to help companies develop technological and production capabilities in this emerging sector.
Printed electronics allows manufacturers to print electrical devices on materials such as plastic and it is expected to pave the way for the adoption of low-cost, thin and flexible electronics for products such as flexible displays, smart labels and smart clothing.
This market is estimated to grow from US$ 9.4 billion in 2013 to US$76 billion in 2023.
SIMTech’s roll-to-roll manufacturing technology allows electrically-functional materials or conductive inks to be printed on rolls of flexible materials such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polycarbonate (PC) and potentially paper and fabric. Extremely versatile, the ultra-thin (<1mm) and lightweight functional surfaces can be printed on a large scale (up to 0.9m width and unlimited length) as well as moulded into 3D shapes.
"The CIP is an effective mechanism to mobilise companies to collaborate with research institutes to develop technology and capabilities for emerging applications. This platform, combined with SIMTech’s relevant expertise and supporting facilities can provide an avenue for industry to tap new market potential," said Dr Lim Ser Yong, Executive Director of SIMTech.
The SIMTech CIP will focus on three main applications of this production process:
i) Developing alternative flexible transparent conductive films. Currently, Indium Tin Oxide (ITO) film, a transparent conductor, is essential for building flat panel displays and touch sensors, televisions, computer monitors, tablets and smart phones However, it allows less light to pass through, cannot be shaped with heat, and cracks easily. The CIP will explore the development and manufacturing of alternative films such as silver nano wire or other conductive polymers to replace ITO film.
ii) Creating Flexible Printed Lighting or Electroluminescent Lighting (EL) panels for displays and building facades. These can be flexibly adjusted to customised shapes and are easy to install and maintain. These panels can be overlaid with high-resolution graphics and customised for large surface area applications.
iii) Developing Flexible Printed Electrodes for applications such as multi-touch capacitive sensing and printed antennae. Flexible printed electrodes can be used for near-field communication antenna for hand-held portable devices such as tablets and mobile phones essential for high performance.
Companies participating in the CIP will receive training from SIMTech to acquire relevant technologies in ApplicationDevelopment Kits to capture applications’ opportunities and Process Development Kits to transfer the key roll-to-roll manufacturing processes to equip them to be future manufacturers of printed electronics and functional film using SIMTech-developed technologies.
12 companies are participating in the 18-month CIP; seven of which are small and medium sized enterprises and five are multinationals (Refer to Annex A for details of participating companies).
Quotes from CIP Members:
Mr Jax Lee, Director of New Business Development, Cima NanoTech:
“For an upstream material supplier like Cima NanoTech, working closely with consortium members, researchers and engineers in the supply chain can allow us to speed up the new applications development process,” said Jax Lee, Director of New Business Development, Cima NanoTech. “The CIP has proven to be an effective platform for matching companies and research institutes, maximising the value that each entity provides to the industry.”
Mr C P Lee, Director, Opto Precision:
“Opto Precision, engaged in optics manufacturing and precision optical coating business, is constantly innovating and looking out for new business opportunities. This emerging printed electronics with vast applications is a possible synergistic fit for our future business expansion, particularly in the solar related and building illumination sectors. In joining the CIP, we hope to acquire more insights and know-how of this new technology.”
For media queries and clarifications, please contact:
Ms Lee Swee Heng
Agency for Science, Technology and Research
Tel: +65 6793 8368
About the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology
The Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology (SIMTech) is a research institute of the Science and Engineering Research Council (SERC) of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). SIMTech develops high value manufacturing technology and human capital to contribute to the competitiveness of the Singapore industry. It collaborates with multinational and local companies in the precision engineering, electronics, semiconductor, medical technology, aerospace, automotive, marine, logistics and other sectors.
For more information, please visit: www.SIMTech.a-star.edu.sg
About the Agency for Science, Technology and Research
The Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) is Singapore's lead public sector agency that fosters world-class scientific research and talent to drive economic growth and transform Singapore into a vibrant knowledge-based and innovation-driven economy.
In line with its mission-oriented mandate, A*STAR spearheads research and development in fields that are essential to growing Singapore’s manufacturing sector and catalysing new growth industries. A*STAR supports these economic clusters by providing intellectual, human and industrial capital to its partners in industry.
A*STAR oversees 18 biomedical sciences and physical sciences and engineering research entities, located in Biopolis and Fusionopolis, as well as their vicinity. These two R&D hubs house a bustling and diverse community of local and international research scientists and engineers from A*STAR’s research entities as well as a growing number of corporate laboratories.
For more info, please visit www.a-star.edu.sg
LIST OF PARTICIPANTS OF A*STAR SIMTECH CIP
aNexus is a regional established corporation headquartered in Singapore, providing technical sales and service, consultancies and specialises in challenging markets that include the emerging functional printing industry. We have an extensive network among renowned research institutions, universities, R&D laboratories, manufacturing plants and advanced manufacturing environment. Our portfolio includes the industry’s broadest and most advanced equipment in inkjet, coating, printing, nanoimprint, curing, sintering, lithography, prepreg, measurement, as well as sophisticated software.
For more information, please visit www.anexuscorp.com
2. Avery Dennison
Avery Dennison (NYSE:AVY) is a global leader in labelling and packaging materials and solutions. The company’s applications and technologies are an integral part of products used in every major market and industry. With operations in more than 50 countries and 26,000 employees worldwide, Avery Dennison serves customers with insights and innovations that help make brands more inspiring and the world more intelligent. Headquartered in Glendale, California, the company reported sales from continuing operations of $6.1 billion in 2013.
For more information, please visit www.averydennison.com
3. Cima Nano Tech
Cima NanoTech is a smart nanomaterials company delivering high performance, next-generation transparent conductors. Our company developed the proprietary SANTE® nanoparticle technology, an innovative conductive coating that self-assembles into a random mesh-like network when coated onto a substrate. Our technology enables transparent conductors with excellent electrical conductivity, high transparency and flexibility, making it an ideal conductive material for new, emerging markets like large format multi-touch screens, (proximity) capacitive sensors, transparent antennas, wearables, transparent microwave and electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding, OLED lighting, transparent heating, and many others. Cima NanoTech is headquarted in St Paul, Minnesota and has a second Asia headquarters in Singapore to be closer to its customers in Asia.
For more information, please visit: http://www.cimananotech.com
4. Cel Coatings Industries Pte Ltd (CEL)
CEL provides surface finishing services and engineering solutions to the electronics, beauty, medical, aviation and automotive industries. It specialises in the areas of precious metals plating, tin plating, nickel plating, plating of plastics, selective plating and PTFE coatings. The company was founded in 1984 and is based in Singapore.
For more information, please visit: http://www.celcoatings.com
Linxens is the world’s leading manufacturer of connectors for smart cards, including SIM cards for mobile phones, banking cards and e-ID cards. Linxens has established unrivalled leadership in this field where its connectors are being used by billions of people every day. To date, more than 60 billion smart card connectors have been supplied by Linxens. Linxens employs 800 people throughout the world and has R&D centers and manufacturing sites in France, Singapore and China.
For more information, please visit: http://www.linxens.com
6. Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC)
Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC) ranks among the world’s top petrochemical companies. The company is among the world’s market leaders in the production of polyethylene, polypropylene and other advanced thermoplastics, glycols, methanol and fertilisers.
SABIC’s businesses are grouped into Chemicals, Polymers, Performance Chemicals, Fertilisers, Metals and Innovative Plastics. SABIC has significant research resources with 19 dedicated Technology & Innovation facilities in Saudi Arabia, the USA, the Netherlands, Spain, Japan, India, China and South Korea. The company operates in more than 40 countries across the world with around 40,000 employees worldwide.
For more information, please visit www.sabic.com
7. Singapore Asahi Chemical & Solder Industries
Singapore Asahi Chemical & Solder Industries Pte Ltd, established since 1977, is passionately committed to the manufacturing and continuing development of high quality, cost effective and innovative inter-connecting materials and specialty chemicals for distribution to a wide spectrum of industries throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle-East and the United States. We are certified under ISO 14001 and ISO 9001 by SGS UK Ltd and our proprietary products are also certified to ROHS compliance.
For more information, please visit: http://www.asahisolder.com
 Source: IDTechEx Report 2013: http://www.idtechex.com/research/reports/printed-organic-and-flexible-electronics-forecasts-players-and-opportunities-2013-2023-000350.asp
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