industry news
Subscribe Now

InnovationLab and Heidelberg collaborate on industrial production of printed and organic sensors

Firms achieve volume and price breakthroughs in manufacture of printed sensors

Heidelberg, Germany – August 18, 2020 – InnovationLab, an expert in printed and organic electronics, today announced a partnership with Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg), world market leader in the manufacturing of printing presses, that will result in the mass production of inexpensive printed and organic sensors, freeing companies to design and produce low-cost customized pressure sensors on an industrial scale for the first time.

According to IDTechEx, the market for printed sensors, which includes both organic and flexible sensors, will reach US$4.5B by 2030[i] — opening new use cases in automotive, healthcare, supply chain logistics and other markets. Meeting that level of demand, however, will require a new approach to the design-to-production process of sensors.

“Embarking on the development and industrial production of printed and organic electronics represents a milestone for Heidelberg and for Germany as an industrial player. As we see it, our involvement in this production of high-tech sensors opens up the potential for growth in the two- to three-digit million euro range,” said Rainer Hundsdörfer, CEO, Heidelberg. “Our partnership with InnovationLab allows us to offer customers quality of design, reliability, a lower bill of materials, and the highest imaginable volumes. In fact, we have the capacity to produce enough sensors to cover a tennis court every hour under a reliable three-shift production system.” 

“The first step to the widespread adoption of printed and organic sensors is good design, which is one of our historic strengths,” said Luat Nguyen, managing director, InnovationLab. “The second is reliable, high-quality volume production. Our collaboration with Heidelberg fulfills both requirements, enabling us to provide a one-stop shop for printed and organic electronics. Now we can give customers a quick transition from design and feasibility studies through market entry, all the way to mass production. This is our unique Lab2Fab concept.”

Advantages of Printed and Organic Electronics

Until recently, companies have manufactured sensors using conventional semiconductor foundries, which rely on a nine-step process to fabricate each sensor. While well-established, this approach has several downsides: Design-to-production cycles are slow, iteration is costly—as is the per-sensor price—and choice of substrate is limited to rigid materials such as silicon, making such sensors unsuitable for many use cases.

In contrast, printing sensors using roll-to-roll printing methods provides greater choice in functional materials, substrates and deposition methods, offering flexibility of design to accommodate thousands of different applications.

Benefits:

  • A wide range of materials include organic semiconductors and nanomaterials, (transparent) conductive inks, force- and temperature-sensitive materials allow customers to choose among rigid substrates (e.g., glass, ITO-glass, silicon) and flexible substrates (e.g., PET, PEN, TPU, flexible glass, and others)
  • Printing sensors only requires a two-step process, saving time and resources—and significantly reducing bill of materials (BOM) costs
  • Sensors can be printed on flexible, even biodegradable materials, such as textiles—introducing new use cases such as foils of printed sensors that wrap around car batteries to monitor battery health in real-time as well as printed sensors in bandages that monitor the pressure on or moisture of a wound. Printed flexible sensors on food items can both track supply chain conditions like compliance with the cold chain.

Technical Capabilities

InnovationLab offers an ISO 9001-certified facility that utilizes processes that conform to the IATF 16949 automotive quality standard. Customers have the choice of two production sites, both offering clean rooms, which is important for the quality and reliability of the printing process.

InnovationLab has a highly modified printing press that supports prototyping and pilot production of up to one million (finger-sized) sensors per day. Heidelberg’s production site in Wiesloch, Germany, features a further developed printing press that is solely used for the industrial production of printed sensors, run in a three-shift operation.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Jul 6, 2022
With the DRAM fabrication advancing from 1x to 1y to 1z and further to 1a, 1b and 1c nodes along with the DRAM device speeds going up to 8533 for Lpddr5/8800 for DDR5, Data integrity is becoming a... ...
Jul 6, 2022
Design Automation Conference (DAC) 2022 is almost here! Explore EDA and cloud design tools, autonomous systems, AI, and more with our experts in San Francisco. The post DAC 2022: A Glimpse into the World of Design Automation from the Cloud to Cryogenic Computing appeared fir...
Jun 28, 2022
Watching this video caused me to wander off into the weeds looking at a weird and wonderful collection of wheeled implementations....

featured video

Multi-Vendor Extra Long Reach 112G SerDes Interoperability Between Synopsys and AMD

Sponsored by Synopsys

This OFC 2022 demo features Synopsys 112G Ethernet IP interoperating with AMD's 112G FPGA and 2.5m DAC, showcasing best TX and RX performance with auto negotiation and link training.

Learn More

featured paper

Addressing high-voltage design challenges with reliable and affordable isolation tech

Sponsored by Texas Instruments

Check out TI’s new white paper for an overview of galvanic isolation techniques, as well as how to improve isolated designs in electric vehicles, grid infrastructure, factory automation and motor drives.

Click to read more

featured chalk talk

56 Gbps PAM4 Performance in FPGA Applications

Sponsored by Mouser Electronics and Samtec

If you are working on an FPGA design, the choice of a connector solution can be a crucial element in your system design. Your FPGA connector solution needs to support the highest of speeds, small form factors, and emerging architectures. In this episode of Chalk Talk, Amelia Dalton joins Matthew Burns to chat about you can get 56 Gbps PAM4 performance in your next FPGA application. We take a closer look at Samtec’s AcceleRate® HD High-Density Arrays, the details of Samtec’s Flyover Technology, and why Samtec’s complete portfolio of high-performance interconnects are a perfect fit for 56 Gbps PAM4 FPGA Applications.

Click here for more information about Samtec AcceleRate® Slim Body Direct Attach Cable Assembly