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New lightweighting smart surface manufacturing technology for automotive industry

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - TactoTek (New lightweighting smart surface manufacturing technology for automotive industry)

Reporting period: 2017-01-01 to 2017-06-30

The goal of the TactoTek SME Instrument project is to demonstrate mass manufacturing of a technology that enables design innovation and weight reduction in automotive electronics parts, and pilot manufacture at least two automotive parts. TactoTek will realize these objectives with injection molded structural electronics (IMSE) technology —innovative ‘smart plastics’ that replace multi-part, multi-layer traditional electronics.

IMSE technology enables design innovation that differentiates products in the marketplace. Today, EU automotive OEMs and Tier 1 manufacturers are actively engaging TactoTek in IMSE product prototyping in a progression to mass manufacturing and vehicle integration.

In addition, IMSE smart plastic parts are environmentally friendly: they eliminate as much as 50% of plastics used to produce traditional electronics, reduce mass by up to 70%, which can improve fuel efficiency, and are produced using clean, additive manufacturing processes.
During the reporting period, TactoTek has built a strong foundation to realize overall project goals. The company has built a strong prospect pipeline and completed six proof-of-concept projects with automotive OEMs and Tier 1s. All of these projects are mass production candidates. Moreover, TactoTek has confirmed its business model with both customers and potential manufacturer licensees of TactoTek IMSE technology.

Technology platform and execution ability have been validated with leading automotive OEMs, including having prototype parts subjected to rigorous environmental testing. TactoTek has expanded its IMSE design capacity, has codified IMSE ‘design rules’ and is partnering with a leading design software publisher to enable 3rd parties to independently design TactoTek IMSE products. TactoTek has also developed strong partnerships across the IMSE ecosystem, relationships that accelerate product development through collaborative R&D and market development through joint sales and marketing activities. These endorsements of TactoTek have also built market recognition of IMSE and TactoTek’s thought leadership. TactoTek is increasing production capacity, including adding clean room operations to meet demanding automotive quality requirements.
By encapsulating the complexity of multiple parts and technology layers into a single structure, TactoTek enables new design possibilities that align with automotive OEM objectives including lighter, thinner, seamless 3D active electronic surfaces. The EU OEMs leading IMSE adoption are embracing opportunities to differentiate their products with new styling and electronic functions. Moreover, they will do so while reducing plastics use (petrochemical products), reducing mass, simplifying assembly, and often lowering total cost of ownership.

Socio-economic impact can be measured in direct and indirect job creation, as well as showcasing EU technology and manufacturing innovation that enables design advances while reducing environmental impact of applied use cases. Over time we hope that TactoTek innovation contributes to the success of our customers.