(July 8, 2010) – The FlexTech Alliance awarded a contract to the Western Michigan University (WMU) to create a user-friendly database for accessing technical information on functional materials for electronic display and flexible printed electronics.
The registry targets more timely, efficient, and accurate selection of the most appropriate material sets for flexible, printed electronics industry product developments, and serve all manufacturing platforms. The project is being funded in response to an identified critical industry need for more reliable performance and applications data on the variety of materials used in flexible, printed and organic (FPO) electronics applications. FlexTech’s quarterly workshops provided the forum to bring together industry experts to formulate and outline the initial needs behind this project.
Benefits to new materials developers and suppliers for contributing to the registry include:
- increased access to technical product information,
- greater visibility within the flexible electronics supply chain,
- a broadened customer base,
- and the listing of company products along with emerging competitor products in the industry.
Open access to this information will enable industrial and university communities to propagate the use of printed electronic technology. The Center for the Advancement of Printed Electronics (CAPE) at WMU is positioned to create this registry because of its dedication to developing printing as a low cost means for manufacturing electronic devices.
“Western Michigan University is honored to take on the task of creating this much needed registry of materials for the constituents of the printed electronics industry,” said Erika Hrehorova, Assistant Professor at WMU’s CAPE. “The supply chain is expanding for this developing industry and there are already a significant number of materials suppliers ranging from small start-ups to large corporations offering products to service the industry. With this project, we will consolidate available information about functional materials into a searchable database to assist technology developers and manufacturers to commercialize and grow their technologies.”
"FlexTech is pleased to award WMU a contract for the materials registry," stated Michael Ciesinski, chief executive officer for the FlexTech Alliance. "The creation of a searchable, web-accessible materials and process registry, segmented by functional types (e.g., conductors, semiconductors, dielectrics, substrates, barrier materials) and by manufacturing platforms (e.g., roll-to-roll, gravure, inkjet) will become an essential industry tool."
Entries to the database will include relevant non-proprietary information about the material itself (e.g., viscosity, electrical and optical properties, particle loading levels, formulation), information on processing (by manufacturing platform), information on curing conditions, and any special information that might be relevant for a given end application. Each entry will also specify the analytical methods used for data collection of the material’s properties.
“Michigan has long been a leader in manufacturing technologies, and this FlexTech grant to WMU’s Center for the Advancement of Printed Electronics will help bring additional cutting edge research to our state,” said Senator Carl Levin (D-MI). “This is a fine example of how Michigan’s higher education institutions are contributing to the nation’s research and development needs.”
The FlexTech Alliance program is a collaborative effort of private industry and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, located in Adelphi, MD. It is devoted to fostering the growth, profitability and success of the electronic display and the flexible, printed electronics supply chain. For more information, visit www.flextech.org.
Center for the Advancement of Printed Electronics (CAPE) was formed to meet the multidisciplinary challenges of printed electronics. A team of 13 researchers from the Departments of Paper Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Imaging, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Manufacturing Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemistry and Physics, Western Michigan University are currently working together on research funded through federal and state agencies, industry partners and a recently formed an Electronic Device Consortium. CAPE focuses on printing as a low cost means for manufacturing electronic devices. The emphasis is on technologies that can be used on a printing press, thus taking full advantage of the benefits printing can bring to electronics manufacture.
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