AUTOFLEX - Automated Integration of Flexible Electronics

Lead Participant: Pragmatic Printing Limited


Printed electronics built on plastic and other cheap substrates (paper/card) can enable new products in high volume markets such as consumer packaging and anti-counterfeit labels. The printed electronics market is estimated to be £1.5B today, growing to £30B by 2021 and £200B by 2027 (IDTechEx). Conventional electronics on PCBs is rigid, difficult to distribute within products and over-engineered, resulting in high cost for these applications. Flexible (printed) electronics can overcome these constraints and enable many new ultrathin form-factor products. Highly-automated manufacturing processes are required to meet the extremely high-volumes of these applications and integrate the thin-film components which will provide the required power, display/lighting, logic and other printed circuitry. Existing integration solutions such as pick-and-place (already widely used in electronics) do not cost-effectively scale to the very-high volumes required by consumer packaging and security products (ultimately >1trn units pa). This project will develop the automated manufacturing processes and system design based on laser-processing and low-temperature conductive attach. The project will open-up these high-value applications, in addition to providing lower-cost and improved form-factor for already addressable applications.


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