Industrial production of printed and organic sensors

August 18, 2020 //By Ally Winning
InnovationLab and Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) have partnered on an initiative to mass produce cheap printed and organic sensors.
InnovationLab and Heidelberger Druckmaschinen AG (Heidelberg) have partnered on an initiative to mass-produce cheap printed and organic sensors.

The new initiative will allow designers to gain access to low-cost customizable pressure sensors on an industrial scale.

“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 fulfils 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.”

Traditionally sensors have been manufactured on conventional semiconductor foundries. This normally requires a nine-step process to fabricate each sensor. The technique has several downsides, including slow design-to-production cycles, costly iterations, more expensive sensors and low choice of substrate. Substrates are usually rigid materials such as silicon.

Producing sensors through roll-to-roll printing gives a better choice of functional materials, substrates and deposition methods. This increased flexibility of design allows the sensors to be used in a wider variety of different applications.

InnovationLab has an ISO 9001-certified facility that uses processes which conform to the IATF 16949 automotive quality standard. The company owns two production sites, both with clean rooms.It has a highly modified printing press for prototyping and pilot production

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