Precise - printed electronics for automotive analogue sensors

Abstract

The Automotive sector has experienced a substantial increase in the integration of electronic
control systems. Electronic sensor systems are now routinely employed to monitor linear or
angular motion to control accelerating, braking and fuel sensor levels. PVI and our
competitors currently manufacture integrated electronic systems using traditional masking and
etching processes that are expensive, wasteful and energy intensive. As a result, much of this
manufacture is now undertaken in the far-East. The application of high-tech printed
electronics manufacturing techniques for the production of electronic sensors has the potential
to significantly reduce the environmental impact, lower materials and energy usage and
reduce costs.
This project is built on a highly successful Proof of Concept project entitled ‘HICAST’
(funded under the TSB Smart Proof of concept scheme) that investigated the use of innovative
nano-copper pastes to print potentiometer tracks. This work has shown that it is feasible to
manufacture our potentiometer sensors in the UK using printed electronics to achieve a sales
price 20-25% lower than is currently achievable using sub-contractors in the far-East.
However, this can only be achieved commercially if the printed potentiometer sensors are able
to:
1. Meet the demanding automotive reliability standards, and
2. Be easily integrated into the vehicle wiring harness during mass manufacture
This project will further develop the nano-metal pastes, printing and laser curing technologies
to achieve a pre-production manufacturing route and prototypes samples of a standard
potentiometer sensor. If these prototype potentiometer sensors are able to achieve the cost and
technical performance we predict, then our customers have indicated that they would be
prepared to purchase our UK manufactured potentiometer sensors in high volumes potentially
enabling us to achieve cumulative sales of 40,000,000 units and £11.32m in cumulative sales
revenue by 2020.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Precision Varionic International Limited, Swindon £445,740 £ 200,583

Publications

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